Direct Investing

Mission and Program Related Investments

The Impact Cycle

Mission and program related investments enable AJL to invest directly in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations that support families and youth in a variety of ways and generate below-market returns. The funds are then returned and recycled back out into the community. AJL is dedicating up to 10% of our portfolio - approximately $1.6 million - to MRIs and PRIs at below market interest rates and flexible terms.  If your organization is interested in discussing an MRI or PRI opportunity, please reach out to Kristi Petrie at kpetrie@ajlfoundation.org. 

Program Related Investment: Loan

MOC FreshLo Hub

The Challenge: Montbello is one of Denver's larger communities with over 36,000 residents (8,900 families) and 14,000 Denver jobs. It's one of Denver's most diverse areas in the city and is a community rich with cultural assets and strong sense of place and identity but faces economic challenges, limited access to healthy food, lack of affordable housing, displacement and gentrification due to years of underinvestment in infrastructure and community resources. 

The Opportunity: AJL issued a $100,000 loan @ 2% interest over 8-10 years to the Montbello Organizing Committee for the FreshLo Hub, a mixed-use community center that will provide affordable housing, healthy foods, community arts and gathering space, a mental health clinic, and small retail storefronts in the Montbello community in northeast Denver.

The Impact: Increased access to housing, healthy food, arts, community space, and mental health services, with living wage jobs in the neighborhood. 

Program Related Investment: Loan

Justice Reskill

The Challenge: The U.S. incarcerates more humans than any other country in the world. Incarceration constructs lifelong barriers to financial stability, putting millions of Americans and thousands of families at a disadvantage. Prison systems are not equipped with adequate programs for preparing justice-involved individuals with the skills needed to re-enter society in a productive manner. Justice-involved individuals have limited professional options because of their legal records and a lack of skills-based vocational training which creates a shortage of opportunities and hope and is often a fast track toward recidivism.

The Opportunity: AJL issued a $100,000 loan @ 2% interest over 5 years to Justice Reskill, a social-enterprise that works to secure greater opportunity and long-term financial stability for the justice-involved community and their families.

The Impact: Justice Reskill can expand their tech skills-training program to a second location, serve more justice-involved people, launch an apprentice program, and acquire more evidence of success to fuel future growth.

Program Related Investment: Loan

Clara Brown Commons

The Challenge: Colorado is one of eight states suffering the most from the affordable housing crisis. During the recent recovery (2011-2016), while rents nationwide increased by 10% to $1,050 for a one-bedroom apartment, Denver rent increased more than 64% to $1,624. On average, one out of four renters spend more than half of their income on housing and there are not enough affordable housing or Section 8 vouchers available.

The Opportunity: AJL made a loan of $100,000 @ 1% interest for 3-5 years to Mile High Ministries to build the Clara Brown Commons, a mixed-use, mixed-income housing community that will encompass a full city block at 37th Ave and York St in northeast Denver.  

The Impact: AJL’s loan will help to purchase land to build no-cost and low-cost housing and provide wraparound services to support 80 – 100 families at a time in moving toward stable and thriving lives. 

Program Related Investment: Impact Securities

NPX and CrossPurpose

The Challenge: CrossPurpose is a non-profit organization abolishing relational, economic, and spiritual poverty through career and community development. NPX aims to transform the way impact is financed in the nonprofit sector. NPX has pioneered the first private pay-for-success donation impact fund (DIF) that releases donations based on results. Traditional or “public” pay-for-success models such as social impact bonds have been used by innovative governments around the world, but to date few private philanthropists have used the model to make performance-based donations. CrossPurpose is one of the chosen beneficiaries of the donor impact fund (DIF). 

The Opportunity: AJL purchased $100,000 worth of impact securities which will mature on March 31, 2023 and, depending on impact achieved by that date, AJL could see up to 6% return on investment. 

The Impact: AJL’s investment will be supporting a cohort of 50 people to lift themselves out of poverty through a proven career and community development program and aid in piloting an innovative pay-for-success/impact funding model that can be applied more broadly across the nonprofit sector if proven successful.  

Program Related Investment: Loan

The Equity Project LLC

The Challenge: The COVID-19 pandemic and global uprising against racism have illuminated the deep level of inequities within both organizations and communities, and demonstrated how it’s affecting everyone but more so historically marginalized communities. This is a critical time in history to examine the sources and impacts of inequity, and make changes to move communities, organizations and systems toward equitable outcomes.

The Opportunity: AJL made a $100,000 low interest loan @ 2% over 10 years to The Equity Project LLC to support expanding, deepening and advancing equity within Colorado’s businesses, government, nonprofits and communities. 

The Impact: Contribute to creating equitable programs, processes and outcomes within Colorado’s communities, nonprofits, governments and corporations which will result in: equitable access to opportunities, experiences and income for women and people of color, which results in increased job and life satisfaction and increased income for individuals and their families. 

Program Related Investment: Guarantee

PPP Credit Facility

The Challenge: Many of Colorado's small businesses and nonprofits were left out of the first round of the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program funding amid an economic crisis. Their applications were backlogged with three nonprofit lenders who didn't have the liquidity to access the second round of PPP funding.  

The Opportunity: AJL leveraged our balance sheet by guaranteeing $500,000, a portion of a loan to be made by FirstBank to the nonprofit lenders, pending foundation loan guarantees. 

The Impact: 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 PPP funding and provide to local small businesses and nonprofits who would not have otherwise had access to this funding in an economic crisis. Read more about this investment here.

Program Related Investment: Private Equity

Knotty Tie Co.

THE CHALLENGE: Knotty Tie Co. is a mission-driven company that employs refugees to make custom, handmade ties and scarves using sustainable fabrics and an eco-friendly process. They pay their employees a living wage and provide benefits and opportunities for growth enabling employees to support their families. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant loss of sales and if no changes were made, Knotty Tie Co. would have had to close their doors and lay off staff. COVID-19 also left Colorado, and the nation, facing a shortage of face masks for people during a pandemic-level viral outbreak that is overwhelming our healthcare system. 

THE OPPORTUNITY: AJL made a $75,000 equity investment in Knotty Tie Co. which enabled the company to avoid closing and shift to manufacturing reusable, washable face masks for Coloradans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

THE IMPACT: 1) Knotty Tie Co. continued operations and generated revenue to keep staff employed through the COVID-19 crisis, 2) Knotty Tie Co. can manufacture 500+ reusable, washable face masks per day to help address the shortage and protect individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, 3) Additional product line was created which could potentially generate future revenue 4) An equity investment provided cash for growth immediately and to save their mission, instead of a loan restricting cash flow. As they are growing, they have room to continue to invest cash savings from debt payments back to growth, which in turn grows their mission and impact, 5) AJL has potential for upside and recoup, and this investment also boosts Knotty Tie Co.’s credibility as a social enterprise which increases chances for future impact-oriented Series A funding. Read more about this investment here.

Program Related Investment: Loan

SistahBiz Loan Fund

The Challenge: Sistahbiz Global Network provides affordable options for coaching, training and services to help Black women grow, succeed and play big in business, but despite having investment-ready businesses at graduation, many Sistahbiz clients are denied small business loans or venture capital funding due to deeply embedded systemic bias and barriers to accessing capital. 

The Opportunity: AJL issued a low-interest loan of $100,000 at 2% interest over 8 years to seed the Sistahbiz Loan Fund, the first loan fund dedicated to Black women entrepreneurs in the nation, to provide small business loans.

The Impact: 1) Black women entrepreneurs in Colorado have access to small business loans ranging from $500 to $50,000 at 7% - 12% interest over 5 years, 2) early commitment to the fund of $250,000 with the goal to reach $1M in year 1 and 3) an opportunity to raise awareness and directly address systemic bias and barriers in our financial systems both nationally and locally in Colorado. Read more about this investment here.

 

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Program Related Investment: Loan

CASA of the 7th Judicial District

The Challenge: CASA of the 7th Judicial District was facing increased rent on space they had outgrown, and it made more financial sense to purchase an office building. However, CASA had recently completed a capital campaign to raise money to build affordable housing units for youth aging out of foster care. Their donors were tapped, and with the small down payment they could afford, they were not getting great terms from the lender for a mortgage. 

The Opportunity: AJL partnered with CASA to make a low interest loan of $100,000 @ 2% interest over 10 years for a down payment to purchase a building.

The Impact: CASA was able to 1) show a lower debt/equity ratio on the purchase which resulted in a better interest rate from traditional lenders, 2) save approximately $60,000 in interest over the life of the mortgage, 3) secure a building that allowed them to enhance services, create a resource center and job training for youth and generate revenue.  Read more about this investment here.