Capital for Sustainability in Oregon & Washington

By: Desiree Sideroff - Nov 20, 2013
Source: CoLab Radio

Craft3 is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution lender with a mission to strengthen economic, ecological and family resilience in Pacific Northwest communities. We were founded in 1995 with a belief that deliberate and creative deployment of capital can concurrently catalyze economic opportunity, poverty reduction, and environmental health. This vision is accomplished by providing loans to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and individuals, including those who don’t normally have access to financing in both rural and urban communities of Oregon and Washington. Craft3 focuses on amplification – an ability to produce disproportionate results from modest inputs of capital and other funding resources.

Our investments illustrate the social, environmental, and economic impact that can be achieved through triple bottom line, scalable, capital solutions. For example:
  • The Craft3 Home Energy-Efficiency Loan allows homeowners to finance a full energy-efficiency upgrade with no out-of-pocket expenses while fostering living-wage jobs, carbon savings, and supporting local business growth. Loans are repaid on customers’ home heating utility bills, which enables inclusive access to credit and encourages conservation while maintaining low-risk profiles.
  • A riparian restoration project uses tree-plantings and shade rather than expensive chiller systems to meet temperature compliance requirements in the Rogue River basin in southern Oregon. Creating a unique loan structure that included mechanisms for future conservation credit trading offers a new model for supporting watershed health.
  • A New Markets Tax Credit investment in a nonprofit rural Community Action Program to install wind turbines builds a long-term revenue stream in addition to expanded programs serving low income community residents. 
Cultivating a triple bottom line approach requires creativity, strategic risk taking. We’ve embraced new partners, new networks and political structures. Reaching across disciplines may be challenging, but often yields stronger relationships, greater opportunities, and more transformative impacts. Performance metrics encompassing environmental, economic, and social goals are essential for driving accountability and communicating success. For Craft3, this meant making a commitment to outcome tracking by establishing measurable definitions in support of our goals. As a result we can build more resilient regions with stronger economic, ecological and family impact.

Are you interested in other emerging economic development models? Learn how WealthWorks in Arkansas uses market-based value chains to restructure rural economies to benefit low-income workers and create multiple forms of wealth.

Post by Desiree Sideroff. Photos courtesy of Craft3.