During the 1990s, the California Community Foundation (CCF) began making real estate loans to nonprofits. CCF had set up a land trust in 2002 to purchase and hold land, offering 99-year ground leases to affordable housing developers, but found being a lender provided more flexibility than land ownership in the financial downturn. After a new strategic plan, launched in 2006, the foundation decided to invest in CDFIs, investing capital to expand its existing loan programs. Currently CCF is working to expand its economic development portfolio, with four staff members focused primarily on housing, economic development, and smart growth. The foundation invited Grameen America, a nonprofit microfinance organization known for its work in developing countries, to establish a branch in Los Angeles and committed a $1.5 million PRI to the effort. The aim is to offer loans of $1,500 to $4,000, thereby fulfilling a critical need in the Los Angeles micro-business community. CCF’s board has set a maximum PRI commitment at $22 million, with the funds operating as a revolving loan fund.
California Community Foundation
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