On Thursday, October 21, the Community Loan Fund celebrated 36 years of community-supported lending and training at the STEAM Garden on Central Avenue. The party included food from local restaurants, exhibits by small business owners, and a ceremony honoring the organization’s long-term investors.

“The Community Loan Fund is blessed with the best clients in the Capital Region. We work with small businesses and nonprofit organizations who share our belief in community development. They know that by working together, we can strengthen communities and change lives,” said Linda MacFarlane, Executive Director of the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region. “The Loan Fund is more than a bank. It’s more than training facility. It’s a force for change in this community.”

The event was hosted by an Honorary Committee full of dedicated community servants, who are committed to financial inclusion and community development. The Honorary Committee included Godfrey Financial Associates, Honest Weight Food Co-op, KeyBank, Massry Family, NBT Bank, Chet & Karen Opalka, and TCT Federal Credit Union.

“Honest Weight Food Co-op is a passionate supporter of the Community Loan Fund. As a community-owned-and-operated grocer, we understand the importance of a robust local economy and a well-nourished local community,” said Erin Martin, Chief Financial Officer of Honest Weight Food Co-op. “The Community Loan Fund has played a key role in our own expansion over the years, and we reciprocate the support because their values align perfectly with our own values.”

“As a community bank, it is part of NBT Bank’s core values to support the communities in which we serve. We’re honored to help the Community Loan Fund provide their high-impact services, including low-interest loans to small businesses, financing projects that support affordable housing and essential community services, and delivering trainings and free workshops designed to help business owners and non-profit leaders grow,” said David Krupski, Regional President, Capital District and North Country Regions, NBT Bank.

“The mission of the Community Loan Fund aligns with the mission of Godfrey Financial. Both organizations seek to empower their clients and invest in the local community,” said Kathleen Godfrey, President of Godfrey Financial Associates.

The event included food from Keobi Restaurant, Slavonian European Café, Primo Botanica, Los Panchos, Perfect Blend Café, Sunhee’s Farm and Kitchen, Honest Weight Food Co-op, and Garden Bistro – all businesses supported by COVID grants awarded by the Community Loan Fund this year past year.

“The pandemic has posed unforeseen challenges to small business owners especially, but it has also been a time of reevaluation and deepening of roots,” said Jinah Kim, owner of Sunhee’s Farm and Kitchen. “It’s during tumultuous times that we begin to see what’s really important and call for help in our own communities. The grant was another reflection of how our communities show up for one another, and what it means to lean on one another during trying times.”