Funding: Support and Resources

Social enterprises are important in both their innovative ideas they bring to the social economy and their ability to remain sustainable with limited resources. However, obtaining these resources and having adequate financial planning are fundamental for social enterprises to become a reality. The most important aspects of funding for social enterprises come from the ability to develop financial plans and procure financing for starting up the enterprise itself and maintaining financial sustainability once they obtain funding. Several sources of funding from institutions around the country and financial services dedicated to helping obtain this funding are important in securing a financial hold for the social enterprise in our current economy’s limited resource environment.

This section offers a wide variety of information, links, and resources designed to help get you started in thinking about funding for both starting up and sustain your social enterprise. Procuring Funding offers information and guidelines on procuring funding and developing a financial plan that works with the social enterprise’s organizational and budgeting goals. Maintaining Financial Sustainability provides a great variety of information about maintaining a social enterprise’s financial sustainability including strategies for long-term sustainability, fundraising, income and asset analysis, contracting and support from the public sector, and the benefits of local currency systems. Sources of Funding provides several resources from organizations and institutions that provide different sources of funding including loans, micro-credits, grants, fellowship/scholarships, and venture capital investments. Financial Services and Consultation offers several resources that can help social enterprises obtain the financial consultation and services they might need to secure funding and remain sustainable.

Procuring Funding

One of the critical aspects of getting started as a social enterprise involves procuring and maintaining funding.  Below are a few resources to help give you ideas about how to do this:

Building Community Wealth: A Resource for Social Enterprise Development Mike Lewis of the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal has written an extensive guide on developing social enterprises and the key elements it needs to grow into a powerful tool for building community wealth. It also seeks to assess the readiness of individuals wanting to start a social enterprise and how to plan more effectively both financially and strategically in order to succeed. For the full guide see the following PDF: Building Community Wealth

Innovation and Social Enterprise: Building Financial Capacity Tim Draimin of the Tides Canada Foundation has produced a useful PowerPoint presentation that explains the basics of social financing and provides information on what sources are common to build financial capacity for a social enterprise. For the full PowerPoint presentation see the following PDF: Innovation & Social Enterprise Building Financial Capacity

Guide to Financing for Social Enterprise Penny Hanford and associates of Small Business BC have put together an extensive guide that offers tips for raising capital, sources of funding for a variety of areas including business planning and start-up costs, and case study examples of businesses who have succeeded using their strategies. They believe that because locating and obtaining funds for social enterprises can be complicated, their manual can be useful in opening new financial options and strategies that social entrepreneurs can use to help them in their endeavors. For the full guide see the following PDF: Guide to Financing Social Enterprise

Financing Your Green Business Drew Tulchin, a managing partner of Social Enterprise Associates, has an article which talks about how to finance green businesses in the U.S. in terms of capital options and sources. He also gives step by step practical advice for green entrepreneurs and suggests a variety of options that can be done to obtain financing. For the full article go to

Rethink Impact works by streamlining the funding process to save time and money for grant makers, investors and social enterprises. Rethink also helps organizations evaluate funding options to choose opportunities that will be most effective and increase chances of receiving a grant. To learn more about Rethink Impact please view the following video:

Coalition for Green Capital—Energy Independence Trust is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC and set up to advocate for tax and finance policies that support energy efficient and clean energy projects and investments.  Their interests extend to national, state and the international level.  They provide financial support in the form of direct loans and loan guarantees up to $500 million for clean energy projects.\

Fiscal Management Associations is a management consultant group dedicated to helping nonprofits strengthen their financial health. They provide a free tool that focuses on three areas: Can you deliver the program? What financial impact will it have on your organization? And, can you manage the contract? After answering the questions in each section, you will see how good a “match” the opportunity is for your organization, along with points to consider in making a decision about what to do.

UK Green Investment Bank (GBI) is focused on meeting Britain’s 2020 goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent below 1990 levels and the generation of 15 percent of total energy from renewable sources.    GBI will start funding low-carbon energy projects in 2012.  The startup funds will be 3 billion pounds and will continue to grow until 2020.

This video features Russell Christianson of Rhythms Communication and his address to The Co-operative Development Initiative 2011 conference. Christianson, who has experience both in cooperative development and sustainability, addressed the panel on how to garner capital from both the cooperative membership and the community

This video features Peter Hough of the Canadian Workers Co-op Association and his address to the Co-op Capitalization Panel at The Co-operative Development Initiative 2011 conference. Hough discusses capitalization and how to garner financing in order to develop and operative your cooperative for the long term.

Diane Maltais addresses the Co-op Capitalization Panel at The Cooperative Development Initiative 2011 conference regarding debt. Specifically, she discusses how going into debt is often unavoidable when developing a cooperative and how to work with banks and credit unions during this process.

Developing a Financial Plan

This section offers resources with advice on financial planning and budgeting that are necessary to complete the goals of the social enterprise. These financial resources pertain to social enterprises of all kinds including small business cooperatives and not-for-profits with information on allocating financial resources, the principles of budgeting and financial management all related to financial decision making and planning.

ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation works to support the individuals behind nonprofit organizations as well as the organizations themselves.  In their sections on “Organizational Assistance” and “Ask the Nonprofit Specialists” they provide specific information and frequently asked questions on financial matters.  Also, they have a program called “Principles of Effectiveness for Nonprofits.” The program focuses on ten areas regarding non-profits, including board and governance, marketing, vision, mission and values, external relations, and most importantly, financial planning.

Cooperatives: Principles and Practices in the 21st Century. Written by Kimberly A. Zeuli and Robert Cropp. Chapter 7: Cooperative Financial Management (1980) This chapter written by Kimberly A. Zeuli and Robert Cropp explains that the most important responsibility of cooperative boards and CEOs is their financial management and decision-making. The board of directors and management need to have a good understanding of their cooperative’s financial situation to make the best short-term business decisions as well as to guide long-term strategic planning. This chapter explains some financial basics that are required including essential financial statements (balance sheet and statement of operations), estimation of current and future capital requirements, and equity redemption plans. For the full chapter see the following Zeuli Cropp Cooperatives

Creating Budgets

Starting Small North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) offers some advice on budgeting for small cooperatives, which can also be applied to other types of social enterprises as well. For the full article see the following PDF: NASCO Organizer’s handbook text

Budgeting for Not-for-Profit Organizations This book about the budgeting process for non-profit organizations written by David Maddox addresses the fundamentals of managerial incentives, resource allocation, and practical ways in which these incentives can be managed to serve the strategic goals of the non-profit organization or social enterprise by looking at the principles of budgeting. For more information on this book please visit the following link:

Creating a Development Budget Bill Gessner of Cooperative Development Services has produced a useful PowerPoint presentation on process of creating a development budget that includes three detailed stages of budgeting (Organizing, Feasibility/Planning, and Implementation) as well as guidelines on finding sources and allocating their use. For the full PowerPoint presentation see the following PDF:


Maintaining Financial Sustainability

Maintaining financial sustainability is important to keep the social enterprise running and utilize their available funding for maximum capability. This section offers several resources on maintaining financial sustainability including strategies for long-term sustainability, fundraising, income and asset analysis, contracting and support from the public sector, and the benefits of local currency systems.

The following is a short-list of useful books, reports and websites designed to help generate ideas about how to work toward long-term sustainability:

Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability (2010) Authors Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka, and Steve Zimmerman provide effective design strategies that combine financial programmatic realities to put together a mix that will deliver the highest impact with the highest financial sustainability for the social enterprise. For more information on this book please visit the following link:

Financial Leadership for Nonprofit Executives: Guiding Your Organization to Long-term Success by Jeanne Bell and Elizabeth Schaeffer.  The book discusses the myths behind profits earned by non-profits, as well as what to consider as the treasurer of a social organization.  It also covers different perspectives on cash flow and financial planning.

ROI For Nonprofits: The New Key to Sustainability by Tom Ralser examines theories and techniques of creating consistent fundraising as well as encouraging clients, members and all people involved to look at different strategies in funding.  The book also argues for an analytical approach and an open mind to embracing effective funding strategy.

Nonprofit and Philanthropy Good Practice: This foundation is connected to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy out of Grand Valley State University.  They have an entire section of their website devoted to financial sustainability including articles and resources dedicated to lending, planning for growth and financial management.

IVAR: Assessing the impact of multi-purpose community organizations and Community organizations controlling assets: A better understanding is a report conducted by researchers and nine community organizations.  The report demonstrates their interest in finding new ways to assess the impact that the organizations have on their overall purpose, goals and impact.  Additionally, the report focuses on assessing the joint impact and needs of organizations and their funders.


IVAR:  Community organizations controlling assets: A better understanding is a report spanning two years of research regarding asset ownership and management of volunteer-only groups in rural areas.  The study shows how medium to large social enterprises dealt with working from a business model to what kind of community organizations owned or managed assets such as land and buildings and how this affected their funding and financial planning.



National Council of Nonprofits The National Council of Nonprofits tracks trends in fundraising activities and also engages in advocacy work relating to regulations and government policies that impact fundraising in order for social enterprises to stay informed about best practices and compliance issues. To help social enterprises understand some of the major issues that shape the landscape of fundraising today, the Council has provided several links to topics relating to fundraising including accountability practices, ethical practices, charitable registration and corporate sponsorship. For more information on these topics and several more please visit the following link:

Aplos Software is an online nonprofit accounting software for accurate fund accounting, tracking donations and generating statements. They can help you simplify your nonprofit’s finances, because you’re changing the world, when you aren’t buried in paperwork.

Creating a Cooperative Community Fund This FAQ, sponsored by Twin Peaks Cooperative Foundation in California, helps co-ops learn more about the potential of the Cooperative Community Fund program. A Cooperative Community Fund (CCF) is an endowment fund established for each participant co-op wherein the interest earned each year is donated by the sponsor co-op to nonprofits and cooperatives in their community. As Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation and local co-ops build the Cooperative Community Funds, they directly invest the principle in cooperative development by investing in credit unions, locally owned community banks that support cooperatives, the Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund, the National Cooperative Bank and other socially responsible funds.

Givemeaning is an online fundraising site emphasizing creative fundraising ideas and other unique forms of charity donations. They have helped hundreds of non-profit organizations raise funds and awareness for socially meaningful projects.

Earned Income

Authenticity Consulting The following URL contains three useful workbooks designed to help you figure out if how earning income is relevant to your organization, take stock of the resources and assets you have to develop earned income you are ready to earn income and opportunities for doing this. Go to for the following Workbooks:

The Limits of Social Enterprise: A Field Study and Case Analysis Seedco has produced a case study and analysis on social enterprises seeking to combine both social need and revenue generating capabilities. They state that in the enthusiastic effort to take social enterprises to the limit, some enterprises have tried combining entrepreneurship methods and models of earning money with an effort to address social problems. This has caused a “magic bullet” effect to achieve both aims at once and while this is a worth-while goal to have it often isn’t possible. Seedco analyzes one of its own social enterprises that attempted to do both at the same time and failed. While Seedco does explain the dangers and pitfalls of combining strategies, they do encourage social enterprises to continue to explore and employ entrepreneurial methods and ideas, but in a way that respects the limits of those methods and the strengths social enterprises bring to the table. For the full guide please see the following PDF: The Limits of Social Enterprise A Field Study & Case


Contracting with Public Sector

National Council of Nonprofits The National Council of Nonprofits notes that while governments now rely extensively on nonprofit organizations and social enterprises to deliver human services to their most vulnerable residents, government’s do so using a contracting system that is flawed and greatly in need of reform.   The following web portal created by the National Council of Nonprofits explains the nature of the problem and how the government contracting system can be repaired. For research findings on this crisis, proposals for solutions and ways to get involved see

The Role of Public Sector Support

Social Enterprise and Public Sector: A Practical Guide to Law and Policy. This extensive guide funded by the European Union identifies opportunities for the public sector to do more business with social enterprises and the main ways that the public sector promotes it. The guide itself has several examples and references to the United Kingdom but many of the ideas are relevant as introduction to key issues social enterprises face all over the world. The guide is split into five parts with several sub-sections each involving issues related to public sector and social enterprise involvement including procurement issues, political agendas, contracts, and legal issues. For the purposes of this section, our website will focus on specific topics that talk about contracting with the public sector and the legal issues that might arise from it.
Sections 10 (Developing the Social Enterprise sector) and 12 (Supply Chain Development) of the guide offer information on which ways the public sector can promote and develop social enterprises through a variety of opportunities but also considers the risks and responsibilities of engaging in these contracts.
Sections 13 (Contracts), 14 (Property Law Issues), and 15 (Tort) of the guide offer advice for social enterprises pertaining to these different laws and the risk assessment and careful planning they should take to avoid finding issues in these areas.  The full PDF can be found here: Social Enterprise and the Public Sector.

Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA) The public sector should be interested in helping to develop the social economy because cooperatives and other social enterprises strengthen the economy, revitalize communities and meet social needs as demonstrated through the CCA.  They also play an important role in advocating for legislation and policies, conducting policy analyses on local and regional areas, keeping decision-makers and the public informed and engaged about issues of interest to the third sector and developing programs that support new development across the nation.  Additionally, they work with other local, regional and national organizations to achieve common goals.  The public sector benefits from the social economy through the additional programs, information and engagement facilitated through its networks, members and affiliated bodies.

Achieving Community Benefits Through Contracts: Law, Policy and Practice by Richard Macfarlane and Mark Cook.  Richard Macfarlane and Mark Cook from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have produced an extensive guide on ways of including community benefit requirements – such as creating new job and training opportunities – in procurement contracts, partnership agreements, funding agreements and planning agreements. It focuses on employment, training and regeneration, but the findings also apply to other community benefits. This guide was developed for the United Kingdom and European Commission legislations but also has relevance for contract laws and policy for the United States government. Some of the issues it discusses include government procurement policy, discrimination issues, partnering, voluntary agreements, funding agreements, and land contracts. For the full guide please visit the following link:
For a summary of the guide please see the following PDF: Achieving Community Benefits Through Contracts

Support for Developing Social Enterprises within the Obama Administration In creating the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation (SICP), housed within the Domestic Policy Council, President Obama recognized that the best solutions to our challenges would be found in communities across the country. He tasked SICP with engaging individuals, non-profits, the private sector, and government to foster innovation and work together to make greater and more lasting progress on our Nation’s challenges. The Office is focused on doing business differently by promoting service as a solution and a way to develop community leadership; increasing investment in innovative community solutions that demonstrate results; and developing new models of partnership.

Community Solutions Initiative The SICP will focus on three mission areas that comprise a bottom-up, innovative, and results-oriented “community solutions” agenda. To deliver on this agenda, we will marshal the power of service, social innovation, and partnerships to solve our most pressing challenges. Across the Administration, federal agencies are acting on this agenda. This page serves as a place to learn more about initiatives the Administration is embarking on that reflect each of the Office’s mission areas. While each initiative is listed under a mission area, many are cross-cutting, including elements of two or all three of the mission areas.

Innovation Funds President Obama is committed to supporting innovation that will help achieve more transformative change — as opposed to marginal or incremental progress — on our social problems. At the same time, we recognize that limited taxpayer dollars need to be directed at efforts that have evidence that they work and are ready to serve more communities in need.  Across the government, the Obama Administration is creating structures and driving resources to create a policy climate that will promote more innovation and better results. The Obama Administration has created the Social Innovation Fund and the Investing in Innovation (I3) Fund to provide resources to organizations who are inspiring innovation and economic sustainability.


Public Entities in Arizona with Interest in Supporting Community Development

Northern Arizona Council of Governments:  Community Development Funding Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) is a group of local governments representing Apache, Coconino, Navajo, and Yavapai Counties that seek to improve local communities. One of these ways they improve communities is through the Community Development Block Grant that provides funds for housing and community development activities. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development program allocates this grant to local and state governments, such as NASCOG, who in turn allocate these funds to local community projects based on application status and certain criteria. For more information on this grant such as how to apply, what criteria must be met to be eligible and the type of projects this grant includes, please visit the following link:

Pima Association of Governments Pima Association of Governments is a nonprofit metropolitan planning organization that works with local governments, the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), community agencies and interested citizens in developing plans and recommendations for the allocation of federal Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) and other federal, state and local funds for human service’s needs. The SSBG plan directs funding to programs and services that help address the social services needs of children, youth at risk, families in crisis, low income individuals, homeless, elderly and persons with disabilities. For more detailed information on the SSBG grant please click on the following PDF:  Social Services Block Grant

Local Currencies

Local currencies are a system of currency tailored specifically for a local community in order to promote local economic activity through consistent circulation and reinvestment of local resources. It creates economic strength, local self-reliance, community participation and awareness of resources and products created in the local community to outsiders. This section contains resources for several local currencies, but we encourage you to please check out the Ithaca Hours located below for an explanation of the local currency system from one of the best known and longest standing local currency system’s in the U.S. In addition, please also check out Transaction Net (also below) that gives a list of local currencies and provides more information on their benefits and use.

Ithaca Hours Features: This site both explains the local currency system approach pioneered in this small upstate NY town and provides links or contact information to many other systems. Ithaca Hours is the longest running local currency in United States that helps Ithaca, NY to improve economic strength, local self-reliance, social justice, ecology, community participation and human aspirations. Stephan Burke, Board Member, describes  that the purpose of Ithaca hours was to circulate money within the community instead of taking money away from the local community and investing elsewhere.

Transaction Net: Complementary Community Currency Systems Features: Offers extensive information on local exchange networks and complementary currency. Explains the benefits, how it is issued, how it is measured, as well as the exchange rates for these currencies.

E.F. Schumacher Society Features: Current news, a description of their local currency project and links to other resources. This site also has information about community land trusts.

Time Dollar Institute Features: Information about the concept of Time Dollars and descriptions of various local experiments in implementing the idea.

Cascadia Hour Exchange (CHE) Features: Seeks to enhance the services between CHE participants through a variety of resources. Their values include ethics, integrity and standards all developed for deep trust in one another. They reinforce the idea that local currency is the key to urban sustainability and global accountability.


Sources of Funding

This section offers several resources for both local and national institutions that are involved in supporting the social economy. These resources provide funding to social enterprises in different types of ways including loans, micro-credits, grants, fellowship/scholarships, and venture capital investments.

Primarily Lending Institutions

CoBank is a national cooperative bank serving the industries of rural America.  They provide loans, leases and other financial services.

Ohio Cooperative Development Center provides multiple seed grants for a variety of growing and existing cooperatives.  Some of the grants available are for feasibility study, formation studies or implementation studies.

Opportunity Fund provides working capital for working families.  They provide funds to help control housing costs, making informed financial decisions, building savings plans, accessing appropriate credit and gaining access to affordable healthcare, childcare and education.

Worker Ownership Fund The Worker Ownership Fund (WOF) is a national fund managed by Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund (NCDF) on behalf of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC), to increase access to financing for start-up and existing worker-owned cooperatives. NCDF and the USFWC understand the business structure of worker-owned cooperatives in a way that traditional lenders can’t, and not only offer a new financing option for co-ops, but technical assistance and mentorship so that cooperatives can better develop a viable business plan and loan application.

CoBank CoBank has been a leader in delivering financial solutions since 1916. They offer loan programs, financial services, and leasing services to agribusinesses, rural communicators, energy systems, and Farm Credit Associations.

CUNA- Credit Unions The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is the premier national trade association serving credit unions. Ninety percent of America’s credit unions are affiliated with CUNA. CUNA provides many services to credit unions, including representation, information, public relations, continuing professional education, and business development.

CHS Foundation The CHS Foundation invests the future of rural America, agriculture and cooperative business through education and leadership development. Programs offered include Scholarships, Rural Youth Leadership Development, Returning Value to Rural Communities, Cooperative Education, Farm and Agricultural Safety, Emergency Assistance and Disaster Relief.

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) NCUA is the independent federal agency that regulates, charters and supervises federal credit unions. With the backing of the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, NCUA operates and manages the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, insuring the deposits of more than 90 million account holders in all federal credit unions and the overwhelming majority of state-chartered credit unions. They work to make ensure that the Federal Union Credit Act maintains its purpose to make credit available and promote thrift through a national system of nonprofit, cooperative credit unions.

National Cooperative Bank and NCB Development Corporation NCB is the only bank in the United States dedicated to delivering nationwide banking products and solutions to cooperatives and other member-owned organizations throughout the country. NCB is unique because the bank was created to address the financial needs of an underserved market niche – people who join together cooperatively to meet personal, social or business needs, especially in low-income communities.

Cooperative Fund of New England Cooperative Fund of New England is a community development loan fund that links socially responsible investors and cooperatives, community oriented non-profits, and worker-owned businesses.

SCF Arizona and Chicanos Por La Causa are teaming up to create the SCF Arizona Community Jobs Investment Program, aimed at growing jobs in under-served, rural areas of Arizona by establishing a $10 million loan fund available to small businesses that seek to start or expand their business. This is a relatively new loan program that will expand access to capital for rural small businesses in Arizona. Program officials estimate most of the loans, lent at current market rates, will be made in the $150,000 to $300,000 range and will be used by small businesses outside Maricopa County and Metro Tucson to expand, acquire business property, buy equipment or update their existing businesses.

Seed Spot is a nonprofit incubator focused on developing early stage social entrepreneurs in Arizona through support, mentorship, and guidance. Each year, from July 1 through August 30, entrepreneurs who are committed to social change are invited to apply for the program. Selected entrepreneurs are given office space and opportunities to secure capital, among additional benefits.


Micro-credit is a system of loans that are made to those who want to become social entrepreneurs but lack the financial needs to do so. Originally started by Mohammad Yunus in Bangladesh, it was to help alleviate poverty by allowing low-income or poorer individuals to obtain financial services in order to generate income and become self-employed. Today it has become an increasingly popular system all over the world for those who wish to continue helping their communities and promote the social economy. Below are resources dedicated to micro-credit and micro-finance both in Arizona and across the United States.

The following video, titled Pioneering for Social Change, describes the origins of microfinance and features Nobel Prize winner Mohammad Yunus discussing his effort in the field of microfinance in Bangladesh and other leaders in the social entrepreneurship field.

Within Arizona

PPEP Micro Business & Housing Development Corporation (PMHDC) is located in the Tucson area, provides assistance to microenterprises and is committed to helping new and existing business owners to reach their dreams of self-sufficiency by providing training, one-on-one counseling, and business lending.

Microbusiness Advancement Center (MAC) is a non-profit organization in Tucson that helps individuals start, fund and grow their businesses by providing quality business education and access to capital. MAC drives the development of small businesses in Southern Arizona by providing clients with training programs, resources and microloans

Prestamos is a subsidiary of Chicanos Por La Causa Inc. based in Phoenix. It lends SBA-backed microloans with an average loan size of $35,000.  Préstamos is committed to building stronger communities by providing small businesses access to capital through non-traditional small business financing resources.


California Association for Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO) is a statewide association of organizations, agencies, and individuals dedicated to furthering microenterprise development in California.

Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) is a national membership organization and voice of microenterprise development in the United States. For nearly two decades, AEO and its hundreds of member organizations have helped more than two million entrepreneurs support themselves and their families and contribute to their communities through business ownership

FIELD is a microenterprise fund for innovation, effectiveness, learning and dissemination. From its beginning in 1993 as the Self-Employment Learning Project, FIELD has played a pre-eminent role in researching and documenting the microenterprise field in the United States. Its research has examined the growth and development of microenterprise organizations, the characteristics of the clients reached, the outcomes experienced by program clients, and the challenges faced by the field as it seeks to expand and adjust to changing market conditions


KIVA is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva works with microfinance institutions on five continents to provide loans to people without access to traditional banking systems. Leveraging the Internet and this worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

FINCA provides financial services to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living. Reaching over 800,000 clients in 21 countries, FINCA seeks to be global microfinance network collectively serving more low-income entrepreneurs than any other MFI while operating on commercial principles of performance and sustainability.

Accion International is a private, nonprofit umbrella organization for microfinance institutions across the US and Latin America.  They specialize in providing technical assistance, financial planning, policy research, analysis and publication help for microfinance institutions.

Primarily Grant Giving

Hatch Detroit is a non-profit organization started by a businessman and a lawyer dedicated to the revitalization of the city of Detroit.  Their experiences reign from starting new companies and doing pro-bono work to recruiting new talent to Detroit.  Their organization offers a grant for $50,000 to an individual or group that is interested in starting a small business to refresh Detroit’s street corners.

Arizona Community Foundation Funding from the Arizona Community Foundation and affiliates is awarded year-round to a wide range of community organizations, educational institutions and government agencies, through competitive, advised and designated grants, and through scholarship awards.

Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) is a San Francisco-based venture philanthropy organization that invests in social enterprises. Since 1997, REDF has provided funding and business assistance to a carefully selected portfolio of social enterprises that employ young people disconnected from school and work, and adults who are overcoming barriers to employment. Organizations in their portfolio are able to expand their enterprises, achieve sustainable success and measure the positive impact of their work on people and communities.

Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) Since it began in 2001, OCDC has assisted in helping groups form cooperatives and assisted existing cooperatives grow and strengthen. The OCDC offers Seed Grants for cooperatives to start and expand their cooperative. Seed grants can assist cooperatives in paying for legal or accounting services as a pre-formed cooperative or for marketing and management dollars as an established cooperative.

Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) The CDF provides ongoing support for a wide range of cooperative development activities. While CDF engages in educational programming and public outreach activities, a substantial amount of its work involves management of grant and loan funds. Please go to the following link for an extensive list of grant and funding opportunities from CDF that social enterprises can find based on their needs:

NASCO The North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) organizes and educates affordable group equity co-ops and their members for the purpose of promoting a community oriented cooperative movement. NASCO Development Services assists new or existing co-ops in obtaining primary and gap financing, as well as permanent funding and refinancing packages, usually on a fee-for-service or success fee basis.  NASCO Development Services assists groups to obtain loans from the Kagawa Fund whose mission is to participate directly in the development and expansion of the cooperative movement by providing technical and financial assistance, in the form of loans to newly-forming and expanding campus cooperatives. Since the Fund’s creation in 1989, it has succeeded in its mission by building strong co-ops, encouraging a diversity of projects and supporting innovative development models. The following two links are resources for the Kagawa Fund that NASCO Development Services provides along with the description and mission for the Fund:

USDA Rural Development Cooperative Program Rural Cooperative Development grants are made for establishing and operating centers for cooperative development for the primary purpose of improving the economic condition of rural areas through the development of new cooperatives and improving operations of existing cooperatives. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) desires to encourage and stimulate the development of effective cooperative organizations in rural America as a part of its total package of rural development efforts.

Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust provides grants to help people in need, especially women, children and families; to protect animals and nature; and to enrich community life in the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Indianapolis. For more information on the Grant programs including the different types and application process, please go to the following link:

Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) provides grant opportunities to nonprofit organizations and social enterprises through their donor advised funds, projects, affiliates, partners, and supporting organizations. Please go to the following link for an extensive list of grant and funding opportunities from CFSA that social enterprises can find based on their needs:


The Social Economy AZ website has a number of resources for fellowships and scholarships. Please click on the following links to access these resources from the Research section of the website:

Funding (for Faculty)

Funding (for Students)


ASU Venture Catalyst The Venture Catalyst, launched by Arizona State University (ASU) in 2011, will promote and accelerate firm formation and development through the provision of critical resources necessary for the success of new ventures. ASU aspires to make a positive global impact through integrating use-inspired research, education and entrepreneurship to leverage the unique personality and substantial assets of Arizona. Please go to the following link for more information:

Social Innovation Forum Andrew Wolk, the CEO and founder of RootCause has developed an innovative social enterprise financial program titled Social Innovation Forum To address the challenge of having to compete for limited funds, the Social Innovation Forum gives innovative nonprofit leaders access to the resources they need to accelerate their impact, while also helping them to build skills vital to their organizations’ long-term sustainability. In the long term, the Social Innovation Forum strives to provide an alternative to the way resources currently flow in the social sector, so that those with resources will invest and re-invest in organizations that have demonstrated the greatest success in solving social problems in our neediest communities. For more information on the Social Innovation Forum, including its creation, how it works and its future potential, please view the following PDF file: Wolk -The Business of Social Change.

The International Association of Investors in the Social Economy (INAISE) (Additional languages available) is a global network of socially and environmentally oriented financial institutions. Through INAISE, social investors from Norway to South Africa and from Costa Rica to Japan have been joining forces to exchange experience, disseminate information and demonstrate to the world that money can actually be a means to achieve positive social and environmental change

Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF) LEAF promotes human and economic development by providing financing and development assistance to community-based and employee-owned businesses that create and save jobs. It also provides an opportunity for socially responsible investors to make a difference with their funds. Capital invested in LEAF becomes part of a pool available for reinvestment in new or emerging businesses. For more information on LEAF including their key features and loan information please visit the following link:

U.S. Small Business Administration offers a variety of options to finance small businesses including investor-based venture capital. Their New Markets Venture Capital (NMVC) program seeks to stimulate economic development by serving the unmet equity needs of local entrepreneurs through developmental venture capital investments, providing technical assistance to small businesses, and creating quality employment opportunities for low income area residents, and build wealth within low income areas. Their Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program provides venture capital to small businesses based on a directory of information specific for each state. For more information on these venture capital programs, please visit the following link:


Financial Services and Consultation

This section offers several resources that can help social enterprises obtain the financial consultation and services they might need. These services range from helping businesses start up or helping them to remain financially sustainable in order to address the challenges and needs that are present in today’s economic environment.

Within Arizona

Regio Asesores is a Phoenix based consulting firm, which advises both Spanish and English speaking clients (including resident/non-citizens) about how to start their own small business. Please visit their website for more information at

International Rescue Commission (IRC) – Phoenix The IRC responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. The Phoenix IRC seeks to help rebuild refugees’ lives through a variety of programs including their Financial Education Program and Micro-Enterprise Development Program. The Financial Education Program helps families learn about American financial systems and how to be responsible consumers. Refugees learn how to reach their goals and become financially self-sufficient through a series of courses on practical skills, from balancing a checkbook to the essentials of long-term saving. The Micro-Enterprise Development Program works with refugee entrepreneurs to refine their business plans, assist with zoning and other legal issues, and provide micro-loans to start-up refugee businesses. Please go to the following link for more information on the IRC in Phoenix:

SCORE is a nonprofit association located in the Greater Phoenix area.  They work to provide social enterprises and small businesses with the education and resources necessary to achieve their goals. They offer seminars, workshops and one-on-one counselors to help you achieve your business goals.  Their counselors are both working and retired executives, business owners and other professionals that donate their time and expertise as mentors.

ACCION New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona is a non-profit organization that provides loans, business credit and training to social enterprises seeking to achieve positive economic and social change.  There are loan officers and coordinators located in both the Phoenix and Tucson area.

FlashFood is a mobile application that connects food service business, food recovery organizations, and local community centers to work together to recover perishable food and connect the food with those in need.


National Consumer Cooperative Bank (NCB) The NCB provides comprehensive, tailored financial services to cooperatives and other member-owned organizations through the country. They are headquartered in Washington DC and have offices in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Ohio, and New York. Please visit their website for more information at

Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) CDFI provides industry information, legislative analyses, policy papers, and other information. Many highly useful and informative publications are available in electronic form. Visitors can also participate in the CDFI Fund Reauthorization online campaign.  A job bank and list of links to CDFI coalition members is also available. Please visit their website for more information at

The Foundation Center Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, the Foundation Center is a national nonprofit service organization recognized as the nation’s leading authority on organized philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grant makers supporting them. Offer great tools to find funding via foundations. Please visit their website for more information at:

National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives (NSAC)
NSAC is a professional society comprised of approximately 2,000 individual members actively involved with the financial management and planning of cooperative business. Members primarily serve agricultural and consumer cooperatives but have resources relevant to worker co-ops as well.  Please visit their website for more information at:

Green America (formerly Co-op America until 2009). Green America harnesses economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. They have special programs that include Fair Trade and Socially Responsible Investing that seek to further their mission to fight global economic injustice. Please visit their website for more information at:

National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) is a respected and influential trade association that exclusively represents the interests of federal credit unions before the federal government and the public. NAFCU provides its members with representation, information, education, and assistance to meet the challenges that cooperative financial institutions face in today’s economic environment. The association stands as a national forum for the federal credit union community where new ideas, issues, concerns and trends can be identified, discussed, resolved.

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