We are a nonprofit lender serving Southern California’s Black business community.
BCIF seeks to create social change for the Black community through the primary strategy of building assets and wealth. Economic empowerment is the main tool that will move the needle forward, yield healthier outcomes, and bring the desired change we seek. All repayments on our zero-interest microloans are placed back into the fund to sustain the pool of resources for the Black community.
Black Cooperative Impact Fund (BCIF) is a 501(c)3, community-based organization that provides microloans to the Black community through pooled dollars and raises awareness about the importance of economic empowerment, equity, and wealth building, with a specific focus on communities in the Southern California region.
To provide a dedicated, reliable, and perpetual source of capital to create assets and build wealth for, and within, the Black community, while also serving as a catalytic force for building a critical mass movement of change based on economic imperatives.
To be a long-standing, trusted and respected partner within the ecosystem of efforts that proactively address the racial wealth gap by helping our funded Black-owned businesses maintain or increase their annual gross revenues, maintain or increase the number of jobs they provide, and strengthen their readiness for accessing capital.
“We must invest in the Black community so that we can take control of our own resources for the purposes of political and social change. Economic empowerment must become the Black community’s primary social justice platform for the 21st Century.”
Get started with a zero-interest microloan to help launch or expand your business.
Your one-time, monthly, or annual contribution helps fuel Black-owned business and job growth in Southern California.
Why does BCIF focus on economic empowerment?
In America and in a capitalist society, it’s widely acknowledged that business ownership is a primary vehicle for building financial assets and wealth. With assets and wealth come influence, “financial muscle,” and the power to achieve the type of substantive broader change sought in the Black community.
How is BCIF different from other local alternative lending institutions?
BCIF is not intended to compete with other financial institutions already providing microloans. BCIF intends to supplement existing financial resources and, in some cases, fill the gaps in access to capital for the Black community. BCIF’s unique characteristics include:
Are BCIF loans exclusively for the Black community?
Due to the disparities in financial assets and wealth for the Black community, BCIF microloans are exclusively directed toward Black borrowers. BCIF actively seeks and welcomes donors/activators and allies from diverse backgrounds who are concerned about the economic state of the Black community and view economic mobility as a primary vehicle for social and political change.
Are loans given at a certain time of year?
There is no set loan distribution cycle. Loans are given on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Loan applications are welcome at any time. Preliminary screening of full loan application materials is completed within four weeks from the date of receipt of the application. Once approved, funding is processed and disbursed within two weeks from approval date.
Can I apply if I don't live in Southern California?
Exceptions may be allowed in special circumstances to provide loans to applicants outside of Southern California. However, such loans must have a substantive impact on the Black community in BCIF’s target geographic area (Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties). Potential applicants residing outside of the target geographic area should seek BCIF consultation before applying for a loan.
Can we apply for more than one loan at a time?
No. Applicants can only apply for one loan at any given time.
If denied a loan, can I apply again?
Yes. Declined applicants must wait at least six months before applying again for a BCIF loan.
What is the typical profile of a BCIF donor?
BCIF donors/activators come from all walks of life and represent various professional, political, racial/ethnic, geographic, and cultural backgrounds. There are common characteristics between them: they believe in economic equity and they are passionate and/or concerned about the economic condition of the Black community. Our donors view economic progress as a primary means to creating the broader change sought for the Black community.
Can a donor make a financial gift of less than the $1,000 minimum?
Yes, BCIF welcomes financial gifts of any amount. Every dollar helps to build the volume of funds made available to the community. However, gifting at the requested level of $1,000 or more moves the organization closer to its annual target of deploying 24 to 36 microloans.
Who manages the funds?
Governance of funds and oversight of BCIF activities is conducted by the board of directors.
Are BCIF funds managed by a bank?
No. BCIF is a transparent, independently operated, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is managed by staff, a Loan and Credit committee, and a board of directors. BCIF is housed at OneUnited Bank. Therefore, BCIF funds and transactions are fully insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
How does BCIF manage potential borrower default?
Because borrower default is a common risk associated with loan programs, BCIF has created a financial model that allows it to mitigate a specific cap on the number/percentage of loans that could potentially go into default status. Of course, loan requests are vigorously screened to assess for repayment capacity and thus minimize risks for borrower defaults.
What percentage of the fund’s dollars are distributed in microloans to the community?
Approximately 75% of all funds are distributed directly to the community through microloans. The other 25% covers necessary administrative costs of the fund. These costs include, but are not limited to, staffing, business development activities, fundraising, marketing/advertising, and supplies.