Faith Based

INVESTING IN THE FUND… A simple and effective way for faith-based institutions to align their money with their values

Do not harden your heart toward your needy neighbor.  Rather, open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be.  Make him a partner with you.  Deuteronomy 15:7-8

Spring house tourThe heart of our work is to offer community-minded investors a practical way to help their neighbors and communities and promote economic justice.  Individuals, faith-based and civic organizations, foundations, trusts, financial institutions and other businesses invest through loans to the Community Loan Fund, creating a lending capital pool so, in turn, low-cost flexible loans can be made to those who are unable to access conventional credit.  In this way, the Community Loan Fund provides an opportunity for individuals and organizations to participate as part of a lasting solution to poverty.

Why faith-based institutions invest?

Religious institutions and individuals — motivated by their faith commitment to invest in their communities – were among the first investors in the Community Loan Fund in 1985. They now make up more than 20 percent of all investors, and include the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, Albany Presbytery, Capital Region Ecumenical Organization, Jewish Federation of Northeastern NY, Unitarian Universalist congregations and various other local congregations, religious orders, and many individual congregation members.

Poverty, unemployment and homelessness are persistent problems in the Capital Region, and many urban and rural areas are in distress.    The Community Loan Fund aims to build bridges between socially and spiritually motivated individuals and these organizations working for long-term solutions in our community.

The Community Loan Fund offers the faith-based institutions and individuals an opportunity to:

  • To act on religious, political and/or philosophical convictions
  • Demonstrate that their hearts are truly with those in need in their local communities
  • Be part of the solution to existing problems by pooling money with other community-minded individuals and organizations to make a significant impact
  • Invest locally, in a socially responsible way and see tangible results
  • Provide affordable housing, decent jobs and quality social services
  • Help build the capacity of individuals and community-based non-profit organizations
  • See their funds used again and again creating a renewable resource for our community
  • Earn social and economic dividends

Who benefits from my investment?

EVERYONE!  Capital is essential to developing and maintaining healthy communities. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and community nonprofits provide vital services, frequently filling in the gaps in low-income populations and neighborhoods. Since 1985, the Community Loan Fund has served the Capital Region through:

  • Affordable Housing- financing affordable housing for working low and moderate income families
  • Community Facilities- financing important institutions such as day care centers and community centers.
  • Microenterprise Lending- providing access to capital and technical assistance so that low income and disadvantaged people and communities can build economic self-sufficiency through small businesses.
  • Training and Technical Assistance for micro-enterprises, small businesses and nonprofit organizations- providing business survival skills needed to ensure success

What are the results?

With a small—albeit determined—staff and over 500 donors, investors and volunteers, the Community Loan Fund has:

  • Closed over 700 loans to nonprofits, social and micro-enterprises totaling more than $36 million
  • Created more than 1,075 affordable housing units
  • Created or retained close to 1,500 jobs
  • Leveraged more than $155 million in local community and economic development
  • Provided training and technical assistance to thousands of micro and social entrepreneurs.

Just think of what we can do with your help!

How can my faith community help?

The Community Loan Fund has worked successfully with religious groups throughout its history.  We are sensitive to the special needs and goals of religious communities, and we have helped many religious organizations and their members link their spiritual mission to important community-based work.  A variety of religious organizations and individual members have found that participation in the Community Loan Fund’s initiatives and programs allows them to live out their community mission in ways that they might not have been able to do on their own.

Here are a number of ways you can help:

Invest in your community loan fund

The Community Loan Fund is a responsible custodian for your religious community’s trust and endowment funds, social concern committee funds and stewardship funds, as well as the assets of individual members.

  1. YOU choose your investment terms:
    • Amount: $1,000 to $500,000
    • Term: 1 to 20 years (A longer term, five years for example, is most helpful)
    • Rate: zero to 1.75% fixed rate, depending on the chosen term length.  Interest is paid annually at year-end.  The lower the interest rate and the longer the term, the more we can meet the community’s needs.
  2. You (the lender) and your Community Loan Fund (the borrower) sign a simple Loan Agreement that spells out the investment terms you have chosen and you will receive a Promissory Note, the Community Loan Fund’s promise to repay you according to those terms.
  3. When the maturity date (the end of the term) nears, we will contact you to offer you the opportunity to renew your investment in the community, change the investment terms or receive repayment.

Donate Funds. You can donate to the lending capital pool which allows for making higher risk — but higher social impact — loans.  Donations also help with the Loan Fund’s operating expenses and pay for the important training, technical assistance and monitoring that helps ensure borrower success.

Create a Forum. The Community Loan Fund welcomes the chance to speak to your congregation, or social justice, endowment or finance committees about opportunities for working together to improve our society.  Some congregations have designated certain Sunday collections for the benefit of the Community Loan Fund.   To set up a meeting or find out more, call 436-8586 or email

Will our money be safe?


  • The Fund has had a twenty-five-year record of accomplishments with timely repayments to investors resulting in a 100% perfect repayment rate to all its lenders since 1985.
  • All investors share any risk but our cumulative loan loss rate is less than 2%.
  • Loans to the Community Loan Fund are not insured, but security derives from a healthy loan loss reserve, close loan monitoring,  responsible management and a shared sense of commitment by all parties.
  • Borrowers are supported with ongoing training and technical assistance to give borrowers every opportunity to succeed.
  • The Loan Committee carefully evaluates each loan application and business plan and approves  loans that are socially worthwhile and financially sound.
  • The Community Loan Fund is a member of the Opportunity Finance Network, which sets standards and best practices for member organizations.
  • The Community Loan Fund is certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and has earned several large grants based on its own business plan.

For more information or to become an investor, contact Linda Chandler at (518) 436-8586 or