Goals of the Fund

Expand Access to Debt Financing

We provide loans to nonprofits in Marin County when other financial possibilities have been exhausted. Loans will be considered for nonprofits that cannot afford or qualify for commercial debt, and are made for a number of uses, including:

  • Capacity Building – A financial bridge to take organizations or programs to a new level of programmatic effectiveness.
  • Site Acquisition – A resource for site acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, to help stabilize nonprofits for the future, and for projects aimed at Marin County's affordable housing market.

Develop Financial Expertise

Enhance the fiscal management skills of Marin County's nonprofit boards and staff through workshops and training.

Assure Loan Fund Integrity

Maintain a healthy loan portfolio so that money can be lent out to other nonprofits in need on a continuous basis.

Develop New Products

The CommunityFirst Loan Fund plans to develop new loan products based on market feedback and the needs of Marin County nonprofits.

How It Works

nonprofit contacts MCF to apply for a loan as it is unable to go through traditional financial institutions due to tight restrictions or perceived risk.

The loan application is reviewed and upon recommendation is sent to the MCF President and MCF Board of Directors for consideration.

Upon approval, the nonprofit receives either a short or long-term loan.

They also have the opportunity to access hands-on financial training and technical assistance, should they be interested.

Repayments made are returned to the Loan Fund for future lending.

Donors can invest a portion of their assets into the CommunityFirst Pool.

In so doing, they are supporting local community efforts in Marin County.

They will also be earning a modest rate of return in a low-risk environment.

When the loan is repaid, assets are returned to the Pool and they are reinvested for future lending.

The Loan Fund has had a 0% default rate over the last 20 years

Loans supporting Marin nonprofits range in size from $300,000 to $2 million

There is no minimum initial investment for a donor; there is no investment fee

Financial Education

One of the goals of the CommunityFirst Loan Fund is to provide free technical assistance on financing and act as a resource for current borrowers and the broader nonprofit community in Marin County.

The Loan Fund offers:

One-On-One Technical Assistance: Our staff provides one-on-one technical assistance to Marin-based nonprofit organizations. In many cases, this is done for potential and current borrowers as they navigate the CommunityFirst Loan Fund application process and throughout the life of the loan.

Collaborative Workshops: The Loan Fund has joined with other nonprofit professionals and organizations to host half-day workshops on specific topics. Past workshops have covered nonprofit financial statements, insurance, and budgeting.

Outside Speakers: The Loan Fund facilitates the presentations of outside speakers with expertise on topics relevant to nonprofit organizations. Past presentations have included How to Make the Most of your Finance Committee and Affordable Housing in Marin County.

How to Apply

If you are a nonprofit organization whose proposed project or program is conducted in Marin County, you will first need to discuss your needs with MCF's Director of Community Lending. If it is determined that debt financing would be a good fit for your organization, you will be asked to complete and submit a Letter of Intent. 

  1. Contact Alan Burr at 415.464.2522. 
  2. After the Letter of Intent is submitted, the Director of Community Lending will set up a meeting to discuss the project in detail. You will be asked to provide documentation to measure the viability of the project and your organization's ability to carry debt. This may include three years worth of financial statements, operating projections, purchase agreements, etc. If it is determined that your organization and/or project would be viable with debt financing from MCF, you will be asked to complete a full proposal and application to apply for a loan. 
  3. The Director of Community Lending will work with your organization to evaluate your application and analyze your finances, debt capacity, and the source of repayment. 
  4. Your loan will be reviewed by the Director of Community Lending and the Foundation's Loan Committee. Upon their recommendation, it is then sent to MCF’s President and the Foundation's Board of Directors for consideration. 
  5. If the MCF Board of Directors approves the loan request, MCF Community Lending staff will work with your organization to close and fund the loan.

For questions regarding this initiative, please contact

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