Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) – a national non-profit organization with a mission to improve lives and strengthen communities through innovative financial solutions – and Conduit Capital, a leading impact alternative investment business that innovates, incubates and radically collaborates to create products that push the boundaries of the financial sector, have partnered to help rural small businesses catalyze economic opportunity in their communities.
Economic changes have fundamentally impacted rural America, with the evolving dynamics providing a tremendous opportunity for revitalization, digitalization, and investment. More than 70 percent of rural business owners surveyed said a lack of economic opportunity forces people to leave their communities. The lack of access to capital and community resource networks for rural businesses can mean the difference between success and failure for these businesses and the prosperity of the communities where they are located.
By providing knowledge, networks and capital, the promise of building a more equitable and resilient rural economy can be fulfilled. With the right support, rural businesses can recruit workers, create quality jobs, attract equity capital, and increase community wealth. This newly created partnership will leverage the relationships CRF and Conduit Capital have with national and local community development ecosystems to better understand and create solutions that help address rural small business challenges.
“With very little institutional growth capital finding its way to rural communities, it can be challenging to scale businesses and generate community wealth,” said Robert Zulkoski, chief executive officer of Conduit Capital. “Further, support and resources for small businesses in rural communities are often inadequate or uncoordinated, creating additional barriers to growth. Conduit Capital will bring the resources of its global impact ecosystem to help address these challenges and we are excited to leverage CRF’s expertise in engaging and supporting local businesses and the communities that surround them to create a blueprint for rural communities.”
CRF has extensive experience designing solutions that connect historically underrepresented communities with capital and resources that help build more equitable and resilient small business economies. The organization has more than 30 years of experience working within community small business ecosystems to increase economic mobility, generate community wealth, and help create a just economy that works for all.
“Our partnership with Conduit Capital will involve working closely with local stakeholders and community development enterprises to build a more equitable and sustainable economic ecosystem in rural communities,” said Keith Rachey, executive vice president and chief impact officer for Community Reinvestment Fund, USA. “Responding to the challenges rural small business communities face requires working in and with community to be effective. By working with community stakeholders and partners like Conduit Capital we can co-create solutions that improve economic mobility and positively impact people in rural America.”
The partnership between Conduit Capital and CRF involves the creation of RuralWorks Partners, a joint venture with the mission to increase economic mobility, generate community wealth, and build a more equitable and resilient rural economy.
About Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF)
Founded in 1988, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is a national non-profit organization with a mission to improve lives and strengthen communities through innovative financial solutions. A leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CRF supports other mission-driven organizations, increases economic mobility, and builds strong local economies through the development of solutions aimed at creating an equitable financial system. CRF has injected more than $3.5 billion to stimulate job creation and economic development and support community facilities. For more information, visit www.crfusa.com.
About Conduit Capital, Ltd.
Conduit Capital believes in a world where the private sector plays a central role in social change, where impact is at the heart of every investment strategy, and where bold ideas have the resources they need to thrive. Radically collaborative, Conduit Capital is an impact investment manager whose products reach back to correct systemic inequalities and look forwards to address tomorrow’s problems. It does this by forming strategic, cross-sector partnerships, creating innovative financial products, and sharing knowledge, networks, and capital to maximize impact at every stage. By proving the financial viability of impact investment strategies, Conduit Capital is charting a course that others can follow, leading to a more just and resilient world.