CHARLOTTE — CornerSquare Community Capital, launched Wednesday by the NC Rural Center and Truist, is a new $40 million nonprofit fund to support  entrepreneurs of color, women, and low-to-moderate (LMI) income communities and individuals.

How it works:

  • Truist, the bank that emerged from the BB&T and SunTrust merger, is donating the capital to set up the fund, which purchases a portion of loans originated by participating community development financial institutions (CDFIs). That decreases lending risk and allows CDFIs to make more loans to entrepreneurs.
  • It will operate as a subsidiary of the NC Rural Center, a nonprofit that has worked for more than 30 years to support small business owners and entrepreneurs in low- and moderate-income communities.

“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Truist on this innovative program to help underserved small businesses with their single largest need – operating capital – during this difficult time,” said NC Rural Center’s president Patrick Woodie, in a statement.

“The first-of-its-kind fund provided will allow our selected CDFI partners to do more with their existing capital, enabling them to expand their reach and scope across Truist’s footprint and beyond, while increasing our collective support of historically under-resourced small businesses.”

The CDFIs will offer varied loan products with minimum loan amounts as low as $5,000. Small businesses interested in applying for loans may contact the CDFI partners directly for more information. For additional information on the program, check this link.

Initial CDFIs that will participate in the Truist loan fund administered by CornerSquare include:

  • Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIFund): Based in West Virginia, and operating in Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
  • Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE): Based and operating in Georgia.
  • Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF) Florida: Based and operating in Florida.
  • LiftFund: Based in Texas, and operating in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
  • Pathway Lending: Based in Tennessee, and operating in Alabama and Tennessee.
  • Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF): Based in Washington, DC and operating in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC.

“We’re grateful to Truist for approaching us with the desire to fund an innovative program to provide additional CDFI lending to underserved businesses,” added Woodie.

“For decades, traditional bank partners have been critical to the success and effectiveness of the CDFI sector by providing grants and donations. Truist has created a new, sustainable model that will help CDFIs expand their reach and provide assistance to even more entrepreneurs and underserved small business owners seeking operating capital during these challenging times.”

This investment marks the largest single charitable commitment to the CDFI sector in Truist’s history through its heritage BB&T and SunTrust brands.