Grow America’s Community Impact Loan Fund (CILF) provides flexible capital to promising small businesses at all stages of growth.
CILF focuses on younger enterprises needing loans of $100,000 or less. Working in participating communities around the nation, CILF is inclusive in its mission, inviting inquiries especially from Woman-and Minority-owned businesses and low-moderate income entrepreneurs. With our flexible terms and hands-on assistance throughout the life of the loan, we help borrowers develop equity, create jobs, and build community.
Expanding our Impact: Opportunities and Results
The Community Impact Loan Fund, established in 2016, is an alternative lending program to the Grow America Fund, which provides SBA 7(a) loans. After more than thirty years as a preferred SBA lender, we recognized that SBA loans do not reach all borrowers, especially women and people of color (WMBEs) or entrepreneurs and businesses located in low- and moderate-income communities (LMIs).
With early support and funding from Morgan Stanley and partnerships with the National Urban Leagues’ UEF and the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, Grow America launched pilot programs in Cuyahoga County in Ohio, and with the Broward County Urban League in South Florida. These pilot programs were designed to test this hypothesis: With pre- and post-loan counseling, under-capitalized businesses can succeed with small loans to grow and hire employees. Success stories such as Waverly Willis, founder of Urban Kutz, provided proof-of-concept that this approach helps the small business owner expand and grow, as well as widen the circle of entrepreneurship in low-income and communities of color.
Based on these pilot programs CILF expanded to other communities. And when COVID-19 hit small businesses, this work became even more critical. We are partnering with foundations, states, and cities around the country to deliver the critical funding that these businesses need to get through this pandemic. Contact us if you would like to learn more about how to bring CILF to your community.Apply for a loan Contact us
Special thanks to our supporters Morgan Stanley, Ford Foundation, Wells Fargo, and City National Bank.