Natural Capital Investment Fund Selected For 10,000 Small Businesses CDFI Growth Collaborative

May 13, 2011


Arlington, Va. — The Conservation Fund’s Natural Capital Investment Fund has been named to a leading group of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that will participate in the “10,000 Small Businesses CDFI Growth Collaborative.” As part of the Collaborative, sponsored by Opportunity Finance Network and The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., our team will gain the latest tools and information to make our sustainable business lending even more effective.

America is known for entrepreneurs—people with fresh ideas, energy and a commitment to finding solutions. At The Conservation Fund, we put this ambition to work for conservation by supporting entrepreneurs who make the most of our natural resources in sustainable ways. In 2001, we launched our Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) to provide flexible financing and technical assistance to small natural resource-based businesses in rural, economically distressed communities in the Southeast, particularly the Appalachian region. To date, NCIF has loaned over $5 million to 60 businesses, supporting hundreds of jobs and leveraging roughly $30 million in outside funding. We’ve also provided thousands of hours of technical counsel to hundreds more businesses across the region.

“We are thrilled to be chosen as an industry leader by Opportunity Finance and Goldman Sachs, and we look forward to collaborating with peer organizations to meet the needs of small businesses in underserved communities across the country,” says Marten Jenkins, president and CEO of NCIF. “The opportunity for growth and job creation in these communities is tremendous, and we’re committed to making it happen.”

In West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and parts of Ohio and Kentucky, NCIF supplies loans and counsel that allow “green” entrepreneurs to build enterprises that make a difference with every kilowatt hour, paddle stroke, board foot, bottle and bushel they produce. Without NCIF’s help, many of these small businesses would not qualify for conventional financing. Our work ensures these sustainable entrepreneurs have a chance to succeed – and their successes benefit the local community, economy and environment.

As part of the CDFI Growth Collaborative, NCIF will join 20 other institutions over the next three years to collectively strengthen and grow our lending portfolios through discussions, online training and small group consulting. Last year, NCIF provided or committed more than $2 million to 24 companies, and more than 1,000 hours of technical support to nearly 100 emerging businesses. Current assets under management exceed $10 million.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.