Local Initiatives Fund

The Local Initiatives Fund is an innovative fund created to utilize RSF’s  integrated capital approach – the coordinated use of investments, loans, and grants – to support social entrepreneurs  building a new food movement in the US.

The mission of the RSF Local Initiatives Fund is to support regional food hubs, food networks, and other initiatives with a focus on:

  • building socially and ecologically sustainable regional food systems
  • creating jobs and community wealth

Integrated Capital Innovation

RSF pioneers integrated capital that leverages the meaningful and rare institutional funding in regional sustainable food systems. This approach is not available through the current financial industry. We have found that food and agriculture entrepreneurs need riskier, more patient capital to grow their businesses. RSF’s mission as a socially responsible lender allows us to offer flexible capital that comes from layering strategic grants, loan guarantees, low-interest PRI loans, mezzanine finance, and convertible notes to create appropriate and integrated financing vehicles that meet the needs of growing social entrepreneurs in a way that traditional financing has not.

By participating in the Local Initiatives Fund, you can leverage the RSF experience to deploy funds effectively, in the right form, the right place, for the right purpose, to social entrepreneurs on the forefront of creating just food systems and increased local resilience.

2013 Pilot Program

Through the pilot, the Local Initiatives Fund distributed over $1M in strategic grants, grants to borrowers, and guarantees to enterprises that would not otherwise have qualified to receive financing. This catalytic financial support is incubating the crucial early phase of innovation, without which, great new vision and ideas often fail.

Grants enable the research, development, and education, necessary for projects to offer viable alternatives to current well-entrenched global food systems options. Loans grow jobs, customers, and business aspects essential to success. Guarantees can make larger borrowing possible, so that growth keeps up with demand.

Become a Co-Creator

RSF invites you to be a philanthropic co-creator, with gifts to the Local Initiatives Fund. We are currently seeking individuals to seed an additional $2.5M for the Local Initiatives Fund. Together we can meet the urgent demand for empowering forms of capital and grow regional sustainable food systems.

If you’re interested in participating in the Local Initiatives Fund, please contact Kelley Buhles at kelley.buhles@rsfsocialfinance.org or 415.561.6152

For enterprises seeking funds, please visit our Social Enterprise Lending page.

Fund History

RSF was deeply inspired by the initial donors to this fund. These donors approached us expressing their admiration for our work and trust in our values. They asked us, “How can you put our philanthropic money and that of others to work to build local, resilient economies?” We were left free to think creatively and innovatively about how we could best use the philanthropic funds to create the most impact. The spirit of this free gift created space for this innovative thinking and approach to finance.

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