Zero-interest loans for BIPOC Vermonters

Global Village Foods entrepreneurs Damaris and Melvin Hall of Quechee have benefited from Justice Forward Fund loan assistance.

By Guy Page

The Vermont Community Loan Fund, whose thousands of investors and contributors include the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, has created a zero-interest loan fund specifically for BIPOC Vermonters. 

“The Justice Forward Fund provides zero-3% interest rate loans and free-to-the-borrower business development services. The JFF serves Vermonters traditionally, systemically and generationally excluded from financial markets and services, including BIPOC Vermonters and New Americans,” Marketing Manager Anne Loecher said in a VCLF statement today.

“The ‘wealth gap’ between White Americans and People of Color in America is widely documented. Throughout our nation’s history, People of Color have seen their assets taken or withheld, and their communities abandoned and excluded from building wealth,” said VCLF Executive Director Will Belongia. “The wealth gap is a statistic that documents that legacy of extraction and exclusion. In designing the JFF, we wanted to do everything we could to keep borrower costs low, or non-existent.”

The Justice Forward Fund will seek to eliminate many of the most common barriers to capital access. The JFF features the following unique characteristics that differentiate it from other VCLF loan programs:

  • A streamlined loan application process
  • No fees
  • No credit score requirement
  • No collateral requirement
  • Interest rates from 0% to 3%.

The VCLF is a large not-for-profit lender: since 1987, the Loan Fund has loaned over $113 million. While most of its funding sources are private citizens, businesses, and not-for-profits, the State of Vermont and other taxpayer-funded government agencies are among the contributors listed in the 2020 annual report

Current Justice Forward Fund borrower businesses and projects include:
– Adolphe Lumumba, VT First Class Ride, South Burlington
– Cholena Pegues, Sat Mom, Brandon
– Damaris & Melvin Hall, Global Village Foods, Quechee
– David Bundrage, David’s Snow Removal, Lyndonville
– Lea Ann Macrery, My Favorite Things on Main, Jeffersonville
– In Tandem Arts, Burlington

Categories: Business

22 replies »

  1. UNADULTERATED VIOLATION OF THE US CONSTITUTION/BILL OF RIGHTS. When, just WHEN – is VT going to be sued???? Are there ANY lawyers with a backbone??????

  2. Well that backfired. Since they get free money that White People can’t get I won’t do business with them.

  3. How do they determine if one is a member of the BIPOC community? And, yes, clearly a violation of the 14th Amendment for taxpayer money to go to such a venture.

  4. Well since biological males with all the male “equipment “ can now “identify “ as female and compete on women’s teams, use their locker rooms and go to cheerleader camp among other things, does that mean that anyone can “identify “ as BIPOC and qualify for these loans?

  5. If this situation were reversed and it was a “white only” no interest loan there would be rioting in the streets. So, how is this not reverse discrimination? It isn’t as if every white person is rich any more than every person of color is poor. We each make the personal decisions that chart our future. I worked hard to get where I am, I have had to meet credit requirements in order to get loans and my home is collateral for my mortgage. Actions such as providing special funding for one race over another do not level the playing field – they create animosity. Just have you have done.

  6. “Reparations” is always a hard sell, politically. It sounds so much more fashionable to call a race-based benefit a “community loan fund”.
    A statistically supported disparity is NOT evidence of racism or inequity.

  7. BIPOC-Black, Indigenous and people of color
    As far as I’m concerned we’re all indigenous in one way or another…..
    and this is DISCRIMINATION. No other Word Works here……..
    When I bought my business, I had to use my home as collateral and everything else I had which was listed on Finance statement…and I paid interest, and fees, I had to have a good credit rating, and waited for the process. there was nothing streamlined about it. then along comes covid (my business deemed “unsafe” by our Gov &Co for longer than long…) and in the end it failed
    I am a senior white woman with disability; and I wouldnt ask this state for a Pot if my life depended on it……..
    I’m sure there will be some who use this “gift” wisely (and I do want to see a complete list and $ given) but like the covid “relief” particularly EIDL is now known to have many many millions given to fake, drummed up business entities and people…….
    But then again, look at Washinton (has trickled right down to the local level now..I’ve been sayin this for years)…go into politics become a millionaire…….if your already weathy…you increase this exponentially pretty darn fast (Cheney example). And when we all (ya know we the people who pay your salary mrmrs/miss government) take NOTE of the corruption …….first its “well we can do that”, then its “we’ll get a bill passed to prevent this”, then its forgotten……..but wait its not forgotten, because we are doing the ditty, we think you all are too………so we’re going to hire 87 more agents to the irs………there how do you like me now says this administration……..

  8. Simple, say your bipoc. If they contest sue. There is no quantitative measure. They cannot deny you. It would never stand up in court for them. Indigenous is a very broad term.

  9. You can’t fight segregation with segregation. Whatever happened to: that All Men are Created EQUAL, found in the Declaration of Independence?

  10. In this melting pot called America, most of have creative genetics. Can I borrow from the native woman who was with my French fur trapper ancestor? My Jewish ancestor? How about my super broke Irish potato farmer – oh, I mean my “Black Irish” potato farmer ancestor? Many BIPOCs have Caucasian ancestors, so I guess I can use my ancestors of color to get my loan!

  11. When you build a house you tend to know the “ins” and “outs”, varying systems and nooks and crannies better than a tenant.
    Be a builder.

  12. If you search the owners of these businesses, you will find the truth behind these grifters and the fraud being played upon our communities. Perhaps a reason for the loan was to pay Downs Rachlin and Martin for the federal trademark case pending?

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