Community Finance | March 3, 2021

Southern Opportunity and Resilience Fund to back small businesses in COVID recovery

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

ImpactAlpha, Mar. 3 – The Southern Opportunity and Resilience Fund will increase the supply of affordable capital for small businesses and nonprofits in 15 southern states. SOAR will offer flexible loans of up to $100,000 to enterprises with less than 50 full-time employees.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already uneven recovery from the Great Recession,” said LISC’s George Ashton. The fund “will tackle these issues head-on by addressing structural barriers to economic opportunity.”

Arranged by Calvert Impact Capital and managed by LISC, the fund aims to raise $150 million. Capital One, Microsoft, Heron Foundation and Fidelity Charitable have provided early grants and loans. 

SOAR’s model resembles COVID recovery funds established in New York and California (see, California Rebuilding Fund strengthens regional community development financing infrastructure”).

It will buy loans from roughly a dozen local community development financial institutions, including Accion Opportunity Fund, Black Business Investment Fund, Southern Bancorp Community Partners and TruFund Financial Services.