Austin Community Foundation announces a $200,000 investment that will provide capital to low-income or minority entrepreneurs through PeopleFund, a local nonprofit provider of small business loans.
“PeopleFund is a trusted resource in our community, providing entrepreneurs access to low-cost capital that they may not otherwise be able to access,” says Mike Nellis, CEO of Austin Community Foundation. “Our investment in PeopleFund will help drive economic development in East Austin and other neighborhoods where residents have low incomes.”
Since its founding in 1994, PeopleFund has provided small business loans, as well as business assistance and education, to people with otherwise limited access to such resources. The group targets minority, women, and veteran business owners and those residing in low to moderate income census tracts. Over 50% of current loans are to startups and non-profit organizations. Through access to capital and educational opportunities, PeopleFund creates economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved people to build healthy small businesses.
Last fall Austin Community Foundation established its Impact Investment Fund to augment the Foundation’s grantmaking and put a greater portion of the organization’s assets to work doing social good in Central Texas than ever before. Impact investing is any type of investment structured to generate a measurable social return and a financial return.
Through its Impact Investment Fund, the Foundation considers making loans or equity investments to nonprofits and social enterprise companies working in Central Texas that offer a unique or innovative solution to a local need. Investments are made ideally for 3-5 years and no more than 7 years. Investments may range up to $250,000.
“Through our Impact Investment Fund, the Foundation can put a greater portion of our resources to work than ever before,” says Nellis. “Investing in PeopleFund means we can supplement our traditional grantmaking and recycle philanthropic capital, doing more social good.”
Call for Investments
The Foundation has an open process for receiving and reviewing investment opportunities. Interested nonprofits or for-profit social ventures are invited to submit an online Letter of Inquiry. Learn more
Economic Opportunity Success Stories
These three ventures received loans from PeopleFund and are representative of the types of entrepreneurs who will receive loans as a result of Austin Community Foundation’s Impact Investment.
Five years ago, Kelly Jadele was a struggling single mom looking for a way to provide for her family. Kelly turned her ability to keep organized and maintain a tidy home into Let Kelly, an all-encompassing cleaning and personal services business. After numerous banks turned Kelly away, PeopleFund welcomed her with open arms, providing the resources Kelly needed to grow her business. Thanks to PeopleFund, Kelly moved her business out of her home, hired 12 employees, and grew her business by 40% in the last year.
Founded in 2013, bunglo is led by artist and designer Shay Spaniola. Before starting bunglo, Shay’s free spiritedness and curiosity took her across the globe, filling her with cultural touchstones and a diverse color palette. Her design studio focuses on eclectic, one-of-a-kind fabric patterns and art inspired by nature. Her items are ethically produced and resources from PeopleFund allowed Shay to purchase inventory to grow her budding business. Since she received funding from PeopleFund, Bunglo has been featured in Bloomingdales, Anthropologie, Neiman Marcus, and many other elite retailers.
African American Youth Harvest Foundation
The African American Youth Harvest Foundation (AAYHF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing culturally competent, family centered educational, health and human services, and economic development opportunities to African American youth and other at-risk populations. AAYHF provides after school programs, alternative suspension programs, coding and technology training, workforce development, college readiness, and scholarship programs to young people of color. In 2012, PeopleFund approved a revolving line of credit for working capital in support of AAYHF programs, which have supported both job creation and youth counseling efforts.