For the Vermont Community Loan Fund, 2017 may well be remembered as the year of big numbers.
We celebrated our thirtieth anniversary. We surpassed some major impact totals: 6,100 jobs, affordable homes for 4,000 families, quality early care & learning for 4,000 children and their families. And to cap it all off, 2017 saw us hit an all-time high for single-year lending: 34 loans totaling $7,363,356!
“2017 was such a remarkable year in terms of loan volume because we were approached by so many excellent candidates whose goals clearly synched with the Loan Fund’s mission,” said Loan Fund Executive Director Will Belongia. “Our borrowers continue to impress us, not only with their vision for their project or enterprise, but also with their determination that it provide economic and social benefits for their communities,” Belongia added. "Our mission speaks to exactly that point: creating opportunities leading to health communities and financial stability for all Vermonters."
Business Program lending ran the gamut from start-ups to mature businesses, single proprietorships to job-creating anchor businesses, new and long-standing partners alike. Well-known Vermont enterprises such as Danforth Pewter, the Cellars at Jasper Hill and High Mowing Organic Seeds returned to the Loan Fund for assistance financing their continuing growth and next successes.
By any measure, Vermont’s working landscape is thriving, and the Loan Fund is doing what we do best to help. Our Food, Farms & Forests Fund, SPROUT deferred payment loan program and the VT Equipment Access Program (a partnership with the Mad River Food Hub and the Center for an Agricultural Economy) all saw increases in activity.
The Affordable Housing & Community Facilities Program financed VCLF’s single largest project yet, partnering with the Champlain Housing Trust to transform Burlington’s St. Joseph's School building into a new community center with space for a child care program, a parent/child center, senior center, offices and classrooms serving 3,950 Vermonters annually.
“Most importantly, last year’s record loan volume translates into tremendous social impact numbers too,” Belongia commented. “At a time when many Vermonters are working harder and longer, and perhaps not feeling as comfortable about their family’s security, we’re doing more than ever before.”
The Loan Fund’s 2017 lending resulted in the creation or preservation of 455 jobs, 158 child care slots, and 58 affordable homes throughout Vermont. In our first 30 years, the Loan Fund has loaned over $102 million to create or preserve 6,000 jobs, 4,000 affordable homes; quality care for over 4,000 children and their families; and access to vital services for literally hundreds of thousands of Vermonters.
“When we look at very successful year like 2017, what it really boils down to is this: how many underserved Vermonters and Vermont communities were we able to impact?” Belongia reflected. “It’s not the dollars and cents. It’s those impact numbers that mean the most.”