Financing resources for cooperative businesses include grants, loans, guaranteed loans, revolving loan funds, equity capital, and crowd sourcing. Funding can come from Federal agencies, private-public partnerships, lending institutions, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), foundations, and other organizations. If your funding opportunity is not represented here, please contact us at CoopInfo@usda.gov.
The CHS Foundation provides grants for cooperative education and university funding.
The Cooperative Development Foundation supports cooperative education, development, research and technical assistance, and disaster recovery. CDI also provides grants.
The Equitable Economy Fund owns a diversified portfolio made up of ownership of preferred shares in cooperative businesses. Investors buy shares in the fund. The fund benefits from investment in cooperative preferred stock in one of three ways: 1. the cooperative pays target dividends (if agreed upon by the cooperative's board); 2. the cooperative buys back outstanding investor shares; or 3. the fund receives an agreed-upon allocation of pre-tax profits.
GoFundMe is a funding portal through which cooperatives, other businesses, and individuals can raise money via Regulation Crowdfunding. Under Securities Exchange Commission rules, cooperative members, their families and friends, their customers, and other community members can invest in the cooperative over the internet. These rules require GoFundMe to provide specific information to potential investors. Further, investors who do not meet certain income or net worth requirements are limited in the amounts that they can invest.
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities, and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.
Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program Flexible provides low cost community and economic development financing through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
Through the New Market Tax Credit Program, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund allocates authority to certified Community Development Entities to offer tax credits to investors in exchange for equity in the CDE. Using the capital from these equity investments, CDEs make loans and investments to businesses operating in low-income communities on better-then-market terms. Cooperatives may benefit by borrowing from CDFIs or from loans or investments by CDEs.
The Acer Access and Development Program (Acer) offers grants to support the efforts of States, tribal governments, and research institutions to promote the domestic maple syrup industry. Supported activities include: promotion of research and education related to maple syrup production; promotion of natural resource sustainability in the maple syrup industry; market promotion for maple syrup and maple-sap products; encouragement of owners and operators of privately held land containing species of trees in the genus Acer to initiate or expand maple-sugaring activities on the land; or to voluntarily make the land available, including by lease or other means, for access by the public for maple-sugaring activities.
The Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiatives support dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing and distribution of dairy products. DBI Initiatives provide direct technical assistance and grants to dairy businesses, including niche dairy products, such as specialty cheese, or dairy products derived from the milk of a dairy animal, including cow, sheep and goat milk.
The Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) funds projects that develop, coordinate and expand local and regional food business enterprises that engage as intermediaries in indirect producer to consumer marketing to help increase access to and availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products. Grants can be used for the planning stages of establishing or expanding a local and regional food business enterprise or to improve or expand a food business that supports locally and regionally produced agricultural products and food system infrastructure by performing feasibility studies, market research, training and technical assistance for the business enterprise and/or for producers working with the business enterprise. A 25% match is required. Eligible entities may apply if they support local and regional food business enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, or store locally or regionally produced food products.