The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted an additional way for AJL to put our resources (beyond grantmaking funds) toward our mission by leveraging our balance sheet to guarantee a loan that would ultimately benefit local community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and a community development corporation (CDC), small businesses and nonprofits across Colorado during an economic crisis. Due to the environment around COVID-19 and the speed at which Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds were being accessed, this program related investment had a 24-hour turnaround time for AJL. Thanks to the ingenuity, resourcefulness and commitment of the Gates Family Foundation to put the PPP credit facility PRI together, AJL had the opportunity to quickly and seamlessly partner and contribute. We are proud and grateful to be a part of the impact investing community across Colorado.
Many of Colorado's small businesses and nonprofits were left out of the first round of PPP funding through the Small Business Administration (SBA) due to the funds running out. Many of their applications were backlogged with three SBA-approved lenders in Colorado. The SBA released additional funds for round 2 of the PPP, but in order for the lenders to have access to the funds to lend out to their nonprofit and small business clients, they needed to have the liquidity to do so. FirstBank agreed to provide up to a $20M loan to be distributed among the three CDFIs/CDC as long as a foundation guaranteed the $20M loan. Gates Family Foundation agreed to guarantee $5M and facilitated a fast and furious process to find additional partners to join the credit facility. Essentially, they had a week to secure as close to $20M as possible.
AJL guaranteed $500k of the loan to Colorado Enterprise Fund, DreamSpring and Colorado Lending Source. By doing this, AJL leveraged our balance sheet to support local CDFIs/CDC and small businesses and nonprofits without having to actually distribute capital.
AJL joined the Gates Family Foundation ($5M), Gary Community Investments ($5M), and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade ($2M) to guarantee a total of $12.5M to Colorado Enterprise Fund, DreamSpring and Colorado Lending Source, enabling them to secure SBA funding and distribute PPP funds to local small businesses and nonprofits who otherwise may not have had access to the funds during an economic crisis. The average loan size for each applicant was $25k - $35k, which equates to an estimated hundreds of small businesses and nonprofits supported, and thousands of jobs within Colorado saved.
To learn more, reach out to Kristi Petrie at firstname.lastname@example.org.