New Loan Closings: African Refuge, En2action, Youth Mentoring Action Network, 700 Simmons LLC
African Refuge: Building communities of dignity in Staten Island's North Shore
$75,000 line of credit (June 2022)
A multi-service organization, African Refuge primarily serves residents of the Park Hill and Stapleton communities on Staten Island's North Shore. The nonprofit supports people who have recently immigrated to Staten Island – many of whom come from West African countries – by helping them apply for citizenship and access government services. Through workforce development, an after school program, immigration counseling, and more, African Refuge’s impact is clear – the organization’s programs serve nearly 5,000 residents each year.
African Refuge depends on government contracts for most of its funding. However, these contracts are paid after the nonprofit runs its programs and are frequently delayed, making it hard for African Refuge to keep sufficient cash on hand. Financed through NFF’s CARE Fund, which offers 0% interest loans to community-centered nonprofits led by people of color, this loan will provide operating cash to help the organization maintain its essential services. With support from this loan, it can continue investing in critical programs that support Staten Islanders’ dignity and quality of life.
En2action: Supporting BIPOC entrepreneurs and communities in San Francisco
$250,000 bridge loan (June 2022)
The mission of En2action is to engage, empower, and inspire action to promote equitable growth, build resilient communities, and achieve transformative social good – with a focus on serving BIPOC entrepreneurs. Primarily serving BIPOC communities with a focus on Black communities, En2action provides collaborative kitchen space for BIPOC chefs, offers marketing training for Black business owners, and organizes a weekly food box distribution program for neighbors facing food insecurity. En2action reports that 80-90% of their clients are low-income, and most identify as BIPOC. Since its founding in 2019, En2action has supported the growth of 50 Black-owned businesses, engaged with at least 5,000 community members, and produced over 1,000 food boxes.
En2action receives much of its funding from grants and contracts with the city and county of San Francisco. However, like many government agencies, San Francisco agencies pay nonprofits after work is conducted, not before – and COVID-19 exacerbated delays in these payments that already existed. Financed through NFF’s Bay Area Racial Equity Fund, which provides zero-interest loans with flexible repayment plans to BIPOC-led nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area, this loan will smooth over cash flow issues caused by delays in government reimbursement and provide some of the cash needed for En2action to meet payroll and focus on growing its essential programs. With support from this financing, En2action can continue building programs that foster equity and collaboration in BIPOC communities across the Bayview region.
Youth Mentoring Action Network: LGBTQ+ youth leadership in Southern California
$250,000 acquisition loan (June 2022)
Founded in 2007, Youth Mentoring Action Network (YMAN) leverages the power of mentorship to support LGBTQ+ youth of color in Southern California’s Inland Empire – with a special focus on serving Black and Latinx youth. This youth-led and -serving organization uses education, arts, and wellness services to engage youth as co-creators and co-designers of their own programming. YMAN served approximately 1,500 clients in 2021 and has served over 3,500 LGBTQ+ youth in the Inland Empire to date.
YMAN is in the process of securing funding to cover acquisition costs for its new headquarters and a youth space in Ontario, California. The site they plan to acquire is in Ontario’s Opportunity Zone – a historically disinvested community, but one that is rapidly gentrifying due to recent development in the area. Financed through NFF’s CARE Fund, which offers 0% interest loans to community-centered nonprofits led by people of color, this financing will provide a portion of the funding needed to acquire YMAN’s new space – increasing the organization’s ability to pursue opportunities beyond its current programs. YMAN will use its new headquarters to build a Youth Power Hub that will allow for joint initiatives with other youth-centered partners and provide additional space for young leaders to gather in a place that they can easily access by walking or transit. YMAN’s move to a new headquarters will help provide the sustainability it needs to grow its programs and invest in youth.
700 Simmons LLC: Increasing access to affordable housing in East Los Angeles
$200,000 predevelopment loan (July 2022)
Founded by Los Angeles residents and affordable housing advocates in 2019, Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre Land Trust (FCTL) purchases vacant land and properties to place into community control. By bringing neighbors together through workshops and convenings, FCTL also builds collective voice and power. As they secure affordable housing opportunities, FCTL increases access to stable housing for low-income residents in Los Angeles’ rapidly gentrifying East Side.
Founded in 1979 by Japanese American activists, Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) provides social services and community development services in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo Historic District and neighboring Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. LTSC serves about 10,000 clients in Southern California annually through counseling, case management, senior services, and more – with many of their clients identifying as low-income.
In December 2020, FCTL entered a partnership with LTSC to create 700 Simmons LLC – and together, they acquired an 11-unit apartment building. In the Los Angeles housing market, there are simply not enough resources to support community land trusts that work tirelessly to secure affordable housing. This loan will address a funding gap exacerbated by rising property costs and operating expenses. Financed through NFF’s CARE Fund, which offers 0% interest loans to community-centered nonprofits led by people of color, this loan will supply some of the funding needed for repairs and renovations to the building. With support from this loan, 700 Simmons LLC will be able to improve the lives of tenants by providing a better quality of living while keeping units affordable so that the tenants can remain in their community.
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