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Natural Capital Investment Fund

This nonprofit bank finances and advises small businesses using market-based solutions to strengthen the Appalachian region and protect natural resources.


$1 million 10-year loan at 2%; originated in 2015


Low cost capital for loans to build environmentally and socially responsible small businesses in Appalachia. People in this region are on the front lines of the switch away from coal to a lower carbon economy and need both capital and technical assistance to build more diversified, robust local economies.


In 2016 NCIF made $8.4 million in loans to 35 companies, 82% of which were in economically disadvantaged communities. NCIF also provided 3,000 hours of technical assistance to help its customers thrive. NCIF’s 2016 Impact Report is available now.

Impact Summary

Jobs created/retained by active portfolio companies and farms7053,886
Companies Funded169208
Hours of advisory services3,00917.111
Advisory services clients150924

Lessons Learned

McKnight is learning more about community transitions as Xcel Energy—Minnesota’s biggest utility— accelerates the closing of two large coal-fired power plant units in central Minnesota. In 2016, we began collaborating with the Just Transition Fund and the Initiative Foundation to secure additional federal POWER grants for the coal plant-impacted communities in central Minnesota to better prepare for economic transition.

As of November 2017

Photo Credit: Bill Bamburger, courtesy of NCIF

Disclaimer of Endorsement: The McKnight Foundation does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or service providers.