Announcing REDF’s Impact Lending Practice

In our 20+ years as a grantmaker, REDF has worked to build a more inclusive society where all people have the jobs they need—and the pride, purpose, and path to self-sufficiency they deserve. That’s why REDF invests exclusively in social enterprises that employ and empower people overcoming barriers to work. From our origin as a small California-based foundation, to a national venture philanthropy partnering with over 80 social enterprises around the country, we are committed to helping 50,000 people get jobs, keep jobs, and build a better future.

As part of our strategy to make that happen, we have designed a loan program for social enterprise businesses that focus on employing and supporting people with work barriers. Many of the social enterprises we work with tell us that lack of flexible capital, paired with high interest rates from banks and privates lenders, has become a barrier to their growth, limiting the number of people they can help. We created a loan program so that these impact-driven social enterprises can put new forms of capital to work, further supporting their business growth and life cycle and allowing them to increase the number of people they’re able to hire into transitional work.

Wash Cycle Laundry, a for-profit business based in Philadelphia, was our first loan recipient. Our infusion of capital supports their expansion in Philadelphia, ultimately resulting in the hiring of 150 new permanent employees, all of whom will have faced barriers to employment.

Andrea Parra, Wash Cycle’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, shares, “Wash Cycle has been fortunate to work alongside REDF through an impact loan that helps us leverage our ability to invest in the business needs that matter most. An impact loan from REDF has helped us expand our business into new territories and offer even more employment opportunities to those who need it most.”

And we’re just getting started. By 2020, we are seeking to deploy $5 million in capital to social enterprises and businesses like Wash Cycle Laundry that can contribute significantly to the growth and sustainability of the sector and the number of people it employs. And similar to our grantmaking services, our borrowers will receive technical assistance on both business operations and social impact metrics via an integrated double-bottom line approach. Additionally, we will support borrowers in accessing new capital to help grow their businesses.

We are extremely excited about the future of impact lending at REDF and the potential of our loans to serve as a vehicle that accelerates the sector’s growth and impact. To learn more about REDF’s impact lending program and how to qualify for a loan, please visit our lending page and read our FAQ. Interested in a loan? Contact us at impactlending@redf.org.