Guest blog – Lisa Richter, Avivar Capital.  Avivar Capital is working with THRIVE to identify and mobilize the full range of funding and financing resources that can advance regional health and prosperity.

As part of this work, we invite you to tell us about the region’s funding, financing and technical assistance needs on the THRIVE Survey that is open through April 24.  We will report findings at the THRIVE Stakeholder Meeting on April 30!  We look forward to hearing your views and reporting back to you soon!

Funding and Financing.  Two words that are often used to mean the same thing:  access to the cash our organizations need to do what they need to get done.

While THRIVE treats these words as having different meanings, we are keenly interested in how to maximize both funding and financing to advance our shared mission to deliver improved health and sustained economic growth in our communities.  The importance of this aspect of our work is only heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted many of the cash flows on which our organizations depend.

To better understand regional funding and financing needs, we’re surveying all THRIVE stakeholders through April 24.  We want to hear from you directly about your organization’s funding and financing needs.  Please join our survey here.  Your answers are confidential, but we’ll report out community level results at our Stakeholder Meeting on April 30.  Further background on the survey and funding and financing to support regional health and prosperity is in a short video here.

For those who are providers of funding and financing—or related technical assistance–we also want to hear from you!  This will help to identify and reinforce the public and private resources that are already available in the region.  The survey has questions especially designed for you that you can answer here.

In seeking to maximize regional funding and financing, we define the terms as follows:

Funding refers to grants, payments, subsidies and reimbursements that do not need to be repaid.   Typical funding sources include foundations, philanthropic individuals and government agencies.

Financing refers to loans or equity investments that need to be repaid.  Typical financing sources include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), county loan programs, banks and/or investment funds.

We are interested in stakeholder funding and financing needs because we know that many organizations could benefit from additional funding or financing.  This is particularly true as we live through the COVID-19 challenge.  And while THRIVE is not a funder or a provider of financing, we can lift up the region’s funding and financing needs and opportunities, and we are working to attract additional grant and investment resources to the region.

We know that both funding and financing are often targeted to the largest organizations or urban areas, leaving unmet needs in smaller cities and rural areas.  Yet regions such as ours have vibrant nonprofit organizations and businesses that provide critical services and create jobs.  Helping to mobilize funding and financing for our regional organizations is central to THRIVE’s work.

We also know that many organizations, particularly our region’s nonprofit service providers and community based organizations, traditionally rely on grants—a scarce resource, even in the best of times.  Such organizations may never have had the opportunity to consider whether a flexible loan from a mission-driven investor might help to either meet a crisis or carry out long-term expansion plans.  THRIVE is researching available sources of flexible financing that may be able to meet such needs for qualifying organizations.

Similarly, we know there are many small businesses in the region that provide products and services we all depend on, while also employing local residents.  We want to be sure that the region’s small businesses have access to all available sources of flexible financing that might support their growth.

Finally, we know that all regional organizations—nonprofit or small business—may benefit from information or technical assistance (TA) that clarifies how to access available funding and financing, as well as otherwise support organizational growth.  The THRIVE survey asks about organizational TA needs.

For all of these reasons, we hope to hear from all of our stakeholders on the region’s funding, financing and TA needs and resources.  So please take a few minutes for THRIVE Funding & Financing Survey by April 24 and join us when we report survey findings at the Stakeholders Meeting on April 30!