West Sacramento, Calif. — Ceniarth LLC, a private foundation focused on funding market-based solutions that benefit underserved communities, committed an initial $3 million investment to Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) to bolster its ability to lend under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

PPP’s first $349 billion allocation ran out, but a second allocation passed recently. Private impact investors like Ceniarth are stepping in to help support Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) like RCAC in the interim to ensure coronavirus stimulus money reaches small businesses in rural communities. Ceniarth recognized the need early on, and partnered with other foundations including the Candide Group’s Olamina Fund, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and The Schmidt Family Foundation to provide capital that ensures that PPP loans are deployed quickly.

Ceniarth’s investment also will support Partners for Rural Transformation members, which is led by a steering committee made up of six CDFIs that serve three-quarters of the country’s persistent poverty counties.

“Ceniarth’s support will transform our ability to meet the unprecedented challenges facing rural areas of persistent poverty—providing a lifeline to marginalized and vulnerable business owners who may otherwise be unable to access PPP funds that are critical to ensure that they can retain their valued employees and serve their communities,” said Suzanne Anarde, RCAC Chief Executive Officer.

“While the goals of the PPP are admirable, the mechanism by which funds are distributed via traditional bank lenders sadly leaves many of the country’s most marginalized and vulnerable business owners unable to access the program,” said Ceniarth Founder Diane Isenberg. “We are incredibly appreciative for the speed and decisiveness that our co-lenders displayed and for the leadership that RCAC is taking in ensuring that funds reach borrowers in need.”

As of May 12, RCAC has made 57 loans totaling nearly $6.5 million.  For more information about RCAC’s PPP lending, visit: www.rcac.org/lending/paycheck-protection-program-ppp/

Founded in 1978, RCAC provides training, technical and financial resources and advocacy so rural communities can achieve their goals and visions. RCAC serves rural communities in 13 western states and western Pacific islands. Services are available to communities with populations of fewer than 50,000, other nonprofit groups, Tribal organizations, farmworkers, colonias and other specific populations. RCAC staff provides direct services in collaboration with local and community partnerships in three program areas: affordable housing, environmental services and lending. About RCAC


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Julia Helmreich, director
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