CONCORD, N.H. – An anonymous donor has given $1.5 million to ROC USA after their investment adviser reached out and asked what “would ROC USA do with a grant between $500,000 and $1,500,000?”
Paul Bradley, ROC USA’s President said he “spent a Saturday morning writing up a menu of options” having no idea to whom he was writing.
The donor made the decision in late January. The adviser told us, “Your strategy and impact is clear – you measure it and we can see that – and it surprised us but that’s actually not easy to do for a lot of nonprofits.” The adviser said their analysis affirmed “our respect and admiration for your work at ROC USA.”
“Obviously, we could not be happier,” said an excited Bradley. “We just keep putting news about these inspiring co-op communities out there and lo and behold, people are paying attention,” he said. The advisers said they had been following ROC USA for the last couple of years.
“This is fantastic – it definitely feels like the snowball is now rolling!”
-Kim Capen, ROC Association Director
The bulk of the resources will be dedicated to equity in ROC USA Capital, the U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that last year financed more than $50 million for 16 new co-op communities. ROC USA has a sizable net asset ratio covenant of 15 percent, which puts a lot of pressure on raising equity before raising debt, Bradley pointed out.
“We need to be capitalized so that every strong project loan request can be approved and financed – and that starts with equity,” he said.
Funding will also be used to innovate and support the success of ROCs, including grants to support new energy-efficient homes on vacant sites and a new concept of Community Revitalization Days that the ROC Association is working on. That initiative will provide funding for materials and project management for home and community improvements that engage community members and outside volunteer groups.
Kim Capen, New England Director of the ROC Association responded to the grant saying, “This is fantastic – it definitely feels like the snowball is now rolling!”
ROC USA will also invest in its innovative Network of technical assistance affiliates as they scale deeper in existing markets and reach into new markets, including Iowa, California, Texas and North Carolina. Affiliates across the country celebrated the news.
“As a new affiliate, we greatly appreciate your investments in us,” said Bart Cochran, Executive Director of LEAP Charities in Boise, Idaho.
“It’s a good start to the year – I’m optimistic we can channel more funding to communities and affiliates in 2020 because we know the need and opportunities are important to reaching our vision,” Bradley said.