While there are no silver bullets to eradicating persistent poverty in America, the reversal of disinvestment patterns must start with strategic new investment in critical infrastructure. With deep and lasting local relationships and expertise, durable community lenders with vision and proven track records are the best bets to mitigate the rampant underinvestment plaguing poor areas and counter the harmful effects of poverty. Local market knowledge offers a tremendous underwriting advantage in financing projects that can be repaid. Together as Uplift America partners, we can provide communities with the advantages and hope that come with high-quality schools, day care facilities, clinics and community centers.
The Role of Private Investors
To leverage Community Facilities capital for greatest impact, Uplift is raising private funding through two investment opportunities: grants and guarantees, both critical to unlocking USDA resources.
Funding from private foundations reinforces lenders’ balance sheets and increases their capacity, enabling them to absorb the Community Facilities debt prudently and deploy it for important projects. Donors and grantmakers can help build the strength of community lenders and make a material impact on addressing root causes of persistent poverty. Funders will be invited to become further engaged in the partnership, with likely opportunities to share, learn and advise on the Fund’s direction. Investors with specific geographical interests can target grants to applicants in those regions. We will coordinate with partners to make sure grants align with the other forms of investment and provide annual reports on grantmaking activities and grantee outcomes.
In inaugurating a new partnership, federal lenders require assurance. Principal and interest for new loans needs to be guaranteed for the first five years of the federal loan term, often a vulnerable time in the life of a new project. Ensuring repayment during this period enhances the soundness of the loan and prevents USDA from affecting its expected risk profile. To apply, a CDFI must first arrange for a partial guarantee to serve as credit enhancement from an FDIC-insured banking institution. Community lenders will undergo a financial review by Uplift bank partners to qualify for a guarantee.
Through private grants and guarantees, Uplift affords community lenders the opportunity to borrow funds from the federal government at historically low interest rates and favorable terms. For example, a CDFI can borrow $10 million for 40 years at a fixed rate of 2.75%. This loan may be matched with a flexible grant of up to $1.5 million and a guarantee of approximately $2.1 million to cover the first five years of repayment.
Contact us to learn more about investment opportunities with Uplift America.