New Loan Closings: Greenline Access Capital, Marcy Lab School, Multicultural Community Family Services, TakeRoot Justice

February 8, 2022

Greenline Access Capital: Supporting Philadelphia’s next generation of entrepreneurs

$50,000 working capital loan (January 2022)

Greenline Access Capital (Greenline) is an emerging nonprofit microlender founded with the goal to address a persistent gap in access to capital for financially underserved men and women. The lack of bilingual microlenders in the region has structurally barred Spanish-speaking immigrant entrepreneurs from accessing capital. Greenline helps fill this gap by offering all of their services in both English and Spanish. Their services will include character-based microloans, technical assistance, and access to a lending network and mentorship for historically underserved entrepreneurs in the Greater Philadelphia region. The loans they offer will help entrepreneurs start, grow, or stabilize their businesses, will range in size from $500 to $25,000, and will not require a minimum credit score – a historic barrier to access for immigrants, low-income people, and people of color trying to start businesses. 

NFF is new to offering start-up capital to nonprofits. However, Greenline is an excellent initial candidate for this type of loan; we were impressed by the organization’s clear mission, detailed business plan, tenure within the communities they aim to serve, and strong case for how they’d use this loan. Provided through NFF’s zero-interest CARE Fund, this loan will support the salary of Greenline’s first loan officer and help them invest in the infrastructure they need to effectively serve their borrowers. We’re proud to partner with Greenline to invest in Philadelphia-area entrepreneurs who will now have the capital they need to launch businesses in their communities.  

Marcy Lab School: A 12-month program, a lifelong career in tech

$150,000 facilities loan (January 2022)

With rising tuition costs and low graduation rates, traditional college options leave many young people – especially those from communities of color – with no degree, no path into a meaningful career, yet a huge burden of debt. The overwhelming majority of the tech workforce is white, male, and from middle to upper-class backgrounds. This produces both an equity issue and a creativity issue. 

Marcy Lab School responds to this by offering a free, one-year software engineering fellowship to students who might not be able to afford a four-year college. Graduates learn how to code, contribute to and lead teams, and remain confident and composed under stress. They enter software engineering jobs that pay $70,000 or more per year. Most importantly, they leave the program knowing that their backgrounds and identities add value to every room they enter. 

Marcy Lab School has seen an increase in demand for its programs and would like to expand in response. This loan will support Marcy Lab School's expansion into a larger facility, allowing it to offer its programs to 20 more students, a 33% increase.  

Multicultural Community Family Services: Supporting healthy immigrant communities in Pennsylvania

$100,000 facility loan, $40,000 refinancing of existing loan (January 2022)

Multicultural Community Family Services (MCFS) provides a variety of programs and services to ensure the well-being of immigrants and community members in the Philadelphia area. After moving to the United States to escape a civil conflict in her native Liberia, founder and executive director Portia Kamara recognized that many immigrants struggled to access the services they needed in a country where the language, culture, and systems were unfamiliar. So she founded MCFS in direct response to their needs – initially focusing on immigrants from across Africa, but soon expanding to serve all immigrants and community members who needed support to achieve their aspirations. The organization established programs including community health, education, advocacy, immigration support, professional development, and youth soccer. Over the past two decades, MCFS has grown into an organization that supports more than 1,000 families each year.  

A large portion of MCFS’ revenue comes from reimbursement-based contracts for its home healthcare program. However, when the onset of the pandemic led to a suspension of one of its major contracts in  2020, the organization faced a challenging financial position. NFF determined that a zero-interest CARE Fund loan would be perfect for this client; it would reduce MCFS’ monthly expenses by replacing an existing loan with an interest-free one and support renovations that would allow the organization to fully move its operations into its new headquarters, reducing its occupancy expenses. This investment will free up more of MCFS’ finances to recuperate from financial losses that were beyond its control – and to invest in the communities that depend on their services.  

TakeRoot Justice: Legal and policy efforts to build power in New York City communities

$500,000 bridge loan (January 2022)

TakeRoot Justice provides legal services, participatory research, and policy support to strengthen the work of grassroots and community-based groups in New York City to dismantle racial, economic, and social oppression. Their legal and policy work supports organizations that build leadership and power within New York City’s low-income communities, particularly communities of color, immigrant communities, and others who are traditionally excluded from policy-making. Their work has included: bringing lawsuits against negligent tenants on behalf of tenants; defending community organizations against legal action; providing legal services to individual community members; and supporting advocacy led by community groups. 

TakeRoot Justice receives 85% of its funding from government contracts. However, these contracts are reimbursement-based and often are delayed, meaning that the organization must acquire bridge financing to ensure it has enough cash on hand to run its critical programs and pay its staff. Further, the organization recently spun off from Urban Justice Center and became an independent nonprofit – meaning it doesn't have a larger balance sheet and financial history many lenders require. Offered through the Trinity Church Grantee Loan Fund, this bridge loan from NFF will provide the organization with several months of working capital – money that will sustain its operations until contract reimbursements come through. It will also support TakeRoot Justice's essential efforts to provide legal and policy support for the solutions that New York City's citizens need.  

More News