It pays to think out of the box…
Don’t end your search for community capital without first getting creative. There are active participants in the space who cannot easily be categorized, and new participants coming on the scene all the time. What these disparate organizations have in common is a social mission that is advanced through local economic development. These may be nonprofit organizations (think Mercy Corps Northwest), or community development organizations (think Rainier Valley Community Development Fund), or foundations that are increasingly seeking ways to go beyond grants to advance their interests (think Seattle Foundation).
Before approaching any of these organizations for funding, it is important to understand their mission and make sure your business is in alignment. Just as their missions vary, these funders make investments that vary widely in scale, from microloans to six-figure loans, and making sure your business needs are consistent with the funders’ capacity is also important.
These options might be for you if…
- Your business is minority owned
- Your business seeks to have social impact
- You have time and energy to research less well-known, perhaps brand new, sources of community capital