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Leveraging Mission Investments to Help Small Businesses Procure COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program Funding

As part of the Packard Foundation’s commitment to act quickly to support our partners, the communities in which we live and work, and those hit hardest by COVID-19we are working with our mission investment partners to help organizations addressing the pandemic seize time-sensitive opportunities and funding. 

The Foundation’s COVID-19 response includes a new $3 million mission investment to the Rural Community Assistance Corporation to help procure federal COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding for small businesses and nonprofit organizations that otherwise would not have access, especially in the Central Valley of California and other rural communities that experience persistent poverty 

If approved, this funding will support small service businesses such as restaurants, general contractors, community health centers, tribal groups, and other nonprofit organizations. Many rural businesses and community organizations in the Central Valley were unable to access the first round of these forgivable loans and are at risk of not receiving the second allocation of relief funds from Congress, approved on April 23, 2020Nonprofit community lenderslike the Rural Community Assistance Corporation, lack the liquidity of large banks to advance funding under the program. Recognizing that the second round of Payroll Protection Program funds are likely to run out within a few days of the program’s opening, we mobilized mission investment funding to providthe Rural Community Assistance Corporation with the liquidity to sponsor federal Paycheck Protection Program applications on behalf of Central Valley and other rural small businesses and community groups. 

The Packard Foundation’s $3 million program-related investment loan is part of a coalition of impact-focused lenders that came together to support the Rural Community Assistance Corporation’s request, including Ceniarth, the Schmidt Family Foundation, and the Olamina Fund. The loans are zero-interest for the first six months, and a half-percent thereafter for the two-year term.  

The rapid loans “will transform our ability to meet the unprecedented challenges facing rural areas of persistent poverty, providing a lifeline to marginalized and vulnerable business owners who may otherwise be unable to access PPP funds,” said Suzanne Anarde, CEO of the Rural Community Assistance Corporation. 

In addition to this program-related investment to the Rural Community Assistance Corporation, our COVID-19 mission investment response efforts include: 

  • Partnering with the Open Society, Rockefeller, MacArthur, and Sorenson Impact foundations to create a dedicated global hub, to be housed at the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), to help catalyze effective impact investments for global COVID-19 relief efforts, and to serve as a potential model for coordinating impact investments to address future emergencies. 
  • Supporting our current investing partners by eliminating six-months of interest payments and accruals, reporting waivers, and providing additional flexibility to ensure our partners’ continued financial strength and sustainability throughout the crisis. These changes are detailed in this message to our investing partners 

We will continue to work with partners to explore new ways to use our mission investments to support recovery and resiliency over time, after the initial period of COVID-19 relief has passed. To learn more about our mission investing COVID-19 response activities, please reach out to the Packard Foundation’s Mission Investing Director, Susan Phinney Silver, at