SOIL NC is an exciting new program, and while we are still working out the details, here is what we know so far…
SOIL NC funds is a charitable revolving loan fund, a program of Slow Money NC, which is a project of Abundance NC. Thus Abundance NC serves as the fiscal sponsor for Slow Money NC and for SOIL NC.
SOIL NC funds are housed under the umbrella organization, Abundance NC, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3). Therefore all money put in the SOIL NC fund is considered a charitable donation and allowable as a tax deduction according to the IRS.
The mission of SOIL NC is to increase and strengthen small farms and local food enterprises, and to further localize the food supply of North Carolina’s regional foodshed.
SOIL NC seeks to finance small farm and local food projects that have enough financial viability that it seems worth the risk, that have the most substantial impact for our food system, and provide capital to people who are otherwise unlikely to get a loan from anywhere else.
How is the SOIL NC revolving loan fund funded?
Individuals make charitable donations to SOIL NC.
Donors are asked to consider making an annual donation to the SOIL NC fund, if at all possible, to allow for more effective planning of the fund’s lending capacity.
25% of SOIL NC funds are used by Slow Money NC to administer the SOIL NC program. 15% of that 25% is used by Abundance NC to operate as the fiscal sponsor for SOIL NC.
How are Borrowers selected?
Twice a year a Loan Review Committee of 5-6 active members reviews all the applications to make sure they are in alignment with the SOIL NC mission. Those that are, are ranked and the top several projects are presented at the next SOIL NC gathering.
Everyone who has donated to the SOIL NC fund in the last calendar year is invited to a SOIL NC gathering, to hear about the applicants chosen by the review committee, and to vote on the projects they would like to see funded. A donor must be present to vote, and voting is one donor = one vote. These are votes are not binding to the SOIL NC staff, but will be seen as advisory.
What are the terms of the loans?
SOIL, NC loans are 0% interest. A request is made to borrowers that they donate to the fund ($100-$200 annually) as a way of staying involved and of “paying it forward” to future loan recipients. Loans are paid monthly, quarterly, or annually, within 1-10 years, based on the business needs of the borrower.