Loans from Community Organizations and Institutions


The main mission of these lenders is to support small and startup businesses. While the terms are still very fair, funders like community organizations often must charge slightly higher interest rates in order to make up for the fact that they are supporting riskier (newer, less proven) businesses.

  • Often called "alternative lenders"
  • Provide significant personal assistance, training, and networking opportunities
  • Offer a wide range of loans, from $5000 - $5,000,000
  • Many are certified CDFIs*
  • Are a good option for business or nonprofits who...

- Have less than perfect credit history
- Don't qualify for bank loans
- Are looking for business advising in addition to financing

The Community Organizations and Institutions listed below were updated in January 2018. Always confirm loan details with the providers. 


CDC Small Business Finance
510-597-2059
CDCLoans.com
555 12th Street, Suite #500, Oakland [map]

Serves California, Nevada, and Arizona

  • New and existing businesses

Loan sizes
$5000 - $20,000,000 & up (based on loan type)

Requirements

  • 3 years of business and personal federal tax returns or 2 years of projections (start-ups)
  • 10% minimum down payment (depending on loan type & eligibility)

Features

  • This source will lend to or invest in startups with less than one full year of operations.

Good Certifications
Nonprofit


Clearinghouse CDFI
510-557-5077
ClearinghouseCDFI.com
505 14th Street, Suite 900, Oakland [map]

Serves California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, and Sovereign Nations in the Western United States

  • Projects that provide measurable community benefit
  • Small businesses
  • Multi-family affordable housing
  • Commercial real estate
  • Community facilities

Loan sizes
$250,000 - $7,500,000

Requirements

  • Personal and business financial statements
  • Additional requirements assessed individually
  • Real estate secured

Features

  • This source will lend to or invest in startups with less than one full year of operations.
  • This source provides finances for nonprofits.
  • This source determines creditworthiness with alternative criteria, not just credit scores.

Good Certifications
CDFI, B Corp


Copernicus Fund
415-322-9385
CopernicusFund.org
1736 Stockton Street, Suite 1, San Francisco [map]

Serves the Bay Area

  • Start-up businesses of any kind
  • Creative businesses
  • Ventures turned away from financial institutions due to high risk
  • Entrepreneurs without formal banking relationships

Loan sizes
$5000 - $30,000

Requirements

  • Requirements and repayment schedule are customized to each borrower

Features

  • This source will lend to or invest in startups with less than one full year of operations.
  • This source provides finances for nonprofits.
  • This source determines creditworthiness with alternative criteria, not just credit scores.
  • This source offers financing support for Spanish speakers.
  • This source offers financing support for Mandarin or Cantonese speakers.

Community Reinvestment Fund
800-475-3050
CRFUSA.com
801 Nicollet Mall, Suite 1700 West, Minneapolis [map]

Serves the United States

  • Low to middle income communities
  • Underserved borrowers
  • Veteran-owned businesses
  • Women-owned businesses
  • Minority-owned businesses

Loan sizes
$50,000 - $3,500,000

Requirements

  • Minimum credit score of 650 recommended
  • 20% down for startups recommended

Features

  • This source will lend to or invest in startups with less than one full year of operations.
  • This source provides finances for nonprofits.
  • This source determines creditworthiness with alternative criteria, not just credit scores.
  • This source offers financing support for Spanish speakers.
  • This source offers financing support for Mandarin or Cantonese speakers.

Good Certifications
CDFI, Opportunity Finance Network, New Markets Tax Credit, Financial Innovations Roundtable, Forum for Sustainable & Responsible Investment, Minority Supplier Development Council


Hebrew Free Loan
415-546-9902
HFLasf.org
131 Steuart Street, Suite 520, San Francisco [map]

Serves Northern California

  • Provides interest-free loans to the Jewish community of Northern California

Loan sizes
$6000 - $25,000 for most loan programs; up to $50,000 for business loans

Requirements

  • Applicants must be Jewish and residents of Northern California
  • Minimum of 2 guarantors

Features

  • This source will lend to or invest in startups with less than one full year of operations.
  • This source provides finances for nonprofits.
  • This source determines creditworthiness with alternative criteria, not just credit scores.
  • This source offers financing support for Spanish speakers.
  • This source offers 0% interest loans.

Good Certifications
Nonprofit


Main Street Ad.png

Main Street Launch
510-830-3275
MainStreetLaunch.org
2101 Webster Street, Suite 1200, Oakland [map]

Serves Oakland and San Francisco and veteran-owned businesses in California

Loan sizes
$10,000 - $250,000

Requirements

  • Startups and existing businesses
  • Unable to obtain sufficient bank financing
  • Demonstrated ability to repay the loan
  • No personal or business tax liens
  • No bankruptcy in the last 3 years and current on all accounts
  • Owner contribution of 10-20% of total project cost
  • Startups must have direct industry experience
  • Personal guarantee required, including partners with 20% or more ownership
  • For-profit entities that are licensed in the City of Oakland, the City of San Francisco, or owned by a military veteran and/or military spouse
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. Permanent Resident, or U.S. Documented Resident

Features

This source will lend to or invest in startups with less than one full year of operations.
This source determines creditworthiness with alternative criteria, not just credit scores.
This source offers financing support for Spanish speakers.
This source offers financing support for Mandarin and Cantonese speakers.

Good Certifications
CDFI, Nonprofit, Municipal contracts with the City of Oakland the City of San Francisco, SBA Lender. Members of CAMEO, AEO, OFN, CDFI Fund, CBA, SFEDA, Bay Area Entrepreneurship Alliance


Mission Economic Development Agency's
Adelante Fund

415-282-3334
MEDASF.org
2301 Mission Street, Suite 301, San Francisco, Ca 94110 [map]

Serves the San Francisco

  • Small businesses who can't get funding from a traditional bank

Loan sizes
$5,000 - $100,000

Requirements

  • Fixed interest rates for 3 or 5 year loans
  • Establish your ability to repay the loan

Features

  • This source provides business coaching and pre- and post-loan technical assistance.
  • English and Spanish

Good Certifications
CDFI


Nonprofit Finance Fund
415-255-4849
NonprofitFinanceFund.org
405 14th Street, Suite 850, Oakland [map]

Serves the West Coast (and other U.S. regions)

  • Social enterprises that promote economic or social development of diverse communities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Arts & culture
  • Childcare & youth
  • Community development
  • Domestic violence
  • Education

Loan sizes
$500,000 - $2,000,000

Requirements

  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit or social-mission business
  • Have been in existence for 3 years or more
  • Revenue of at least $1,000,000 annually

Features

  • This source provides finances for nonprofits.

Good Certifications
CDFI


Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF)
415-392-8215
NCCLF.org
870 Market Street, Suite 677, San Francisco [map]

Serves Northern California mission-driven enterprises

  • Affordable housing
  • Human services
  • Arts/culture
  • Healthy food
  • Employee-owned ventures/cooperatives

Loan sizes
$50,000 - $3,000,000 for most loan programs

Requirements

  • 3+ years of financial statements

Features

  • This source provides finances for nonprofits.
  • This source determines creditworthiness with alternative criteria, not just credit scores.
  • This source offers financing support for Spanish speakers.
  • This source offers financing support for Mandarin or Cantonese speakers.

Good Certifications
CDFI, Aeries AAA+ Rating


Opportunity Fund
866-299-8173
OpportunityFundLoan.org
100 Bush Street, Suite 1550, San Francisco [map]

Serves California small businesses

Loan sizes
$2600 - $250,000 

Requirements

  • In business 1 year or more
  • No minimum FICO score required
  • Credit on-time for the past 12 months
  • No current delinquencies, open tax liens, or open bankruptcies
  • Collateral (e.g. vehicle title) often desired

Features

  • This source will lend to or invest in startups with less than one full year of operations.
  • This source determines creditworthiness with alternative criteria, not just credit scores.
  • This source offers financing support for Spanish speakers.
  • This source offers financing support for Mandarin or Cantonese speakers.

Good Certifications
CDFI, Nonprofit


Pacific Community Ventures
415-442-4300
PacificCommuntiyVentures.org
51 Federal Street, San Francisco [map]

Serves California with a focus on the Bay Area

  • Small business loans and micro-loans
  • Specializes in working with business owners who've had a hard time accessing capital, like female entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs of color, and borrowers that may have been turned down for SBA or traditional bank loans
  • Free advice from a pool of 500+ experts in any area you need

Loan sizes
$10,000 - $200,000

Requirements (flexible)

  • No minimum credit score
  • Minimum one year in business
  • Preferably profitable
  • Minimum of one full- or part-time employee

Features

  • This source determines creditworthiness with alternative criteria, not just credit scores.
  • This source offers financing support for Spanish speakers.

Good Certifications
CDFI, Nonprofit, Opportunity Finance Network, San Francisco EDA, East Bay EDA, San Francisco OEWD, Social mission, Oakland Grown member

OG Member Round Decal.jpg
 

RSF Social Finance
415-561-3900
RSFSocialFinance.org
1002 O’Reilly Avenue, San Francisco [map]

Serves values driven businesses and nonprofits

  • Food & agriculture
  • Rural businesses and farms
  • Startups
  • Energy efficiency projects
  • Recycling-based businesses

Loan sizes
$1000 - $500,000, Micro-loans $1000 - $25,000

Requirements

  • Mission addresses one of RSF's 3 focus areas
  • Strong collateral (may include pledges or guarantees)
  • 3 or more years of operating history
  • Profitable or a clear path to profitability in 12 months
  • Annual revenue of $1,000,000 or more
  • Annual revenue of $500,000 for arts orgs

Features

  • This source determines creditworthiness with alternative criteria, not just credit scores.
  • This source provides finances for nonprofits.
  • This source provides grants.

Good Certifications
CDFI, Nonprofit, Opportunity Finance Network, San Francisco EDA, East Bay EDA, San Francisco OEWD, Social mission


VEDC
415-434-4383
VEDC.org
5121 Van Nuys Blvd, Suite 300, Sherman Oaks [map]

Serves the State of California

  • Startups
  • Small businesses
  • Low-Income entrepreneurs
  • Entrepreneurs needing flexible requirements

Loan sizes
$1000 - $50,000 micro-loans; $50,000 - $700,000 direct loans; $50,000 - $5,000,000 SBA loans

Requirements

  • Credit score in the mid-500's or above
  • No bankruptcies or foreclosures in the last 12 months
  • 20% down, for startups
  • Current accounts, or a payment plan
  • Business license(s)
  • Collateral

Features

  • This source will lend to or invest in startups with less than one full year of operations.

Good Local Money_Working Solutions.jpg

Working Solutions
415-780-1217
WorkingSolutions.org
270 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland [map]
930 Montgomery Street, Suite 400, San Francisco [map]

Serves the Bay Area

  • Small businesses
  • Startups and established businesses

Loan sizes
$5000 - $50,000

Requirements

  • One year of recent, paid same industry experience
  • All outstanding debt must be current
  • No bankruptcy in the last 2 years
  • No minimum credit score and no collateral needed

Features

  • This source determines creditworthiness with alternative criteria, not just credit scores.
  • This source will lend to or invest in startups with less than one full year of operations.
  • This source offers financing support for Spanish speakers.
  • This source offers financing support for Mandarin or Cantonese speakers.

Good Certifications
DFI, SBA preferred lender