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For funders, technical assistance providers, and policy makers, we’ve made several recommendations based on the landscape scan findings.

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Promoting Resources and Providing Technical Assistance

Many resources for financing and technical assistance are readily available for borrowers who may not know of them or how to access them. By promoting existing programs, we can close the gap on the knowledge and support borrowers. And, by targeting the right tools to specific Colorado communities, ownership of commercial real estate can be strengthened now and into the future.

  1. Promote and publicize ownership resources by sharing opportunities with existing funder, nonprofit, and small business networks. Ensure providers who support organizations and businesses have connections with capital and TA providers.

  2. For urban communities facing extreme pressure from gentrification, create assistance programs that help community-driven organizations compete with other developers. Educate nonprofits and small businesses about professional service providers needed for a real estate acquisition. Identify ways to support groups by providing access to professionals to assist with transactions.

  3. For communities that are more affordable relative to the front range corridor, help communities put guardrails in place so that as economic development progresses, affordability can be maintained. Promote resources and provide resources for models for collective ownership and permanent affordability as a preventative measure.


Creating New and Complementary Funding Resources

Existing philanthropic funding resources can be more effective when aligned with other grant and loan programs or stacked with other types of capital.

  1. Identify and formalize opportunities for philanthropic capital to work alongside municipal programs and community development lenders to make all types of funding more useful and effective. By pairing philanthropic and economic development investments in projects (the way foundations often pair impact investments and grants), investors can strengthen their chances for success and better leverage their capital for impact.

  2. Explore investment structures that will allow for timely capital for small businesses and nonprofits to compete with more experienced developers and to work at the speed of the market. A diversified pool of grants or loans available with a quick turnaround for small businesses and nonprofits that have an acquisition opportunity will help the organizations compete with for-profit developers.


Photo Credit: Abel Getachew Photography

Community Building and Creating Trust

Despite the resources available, many organizations and small business owners, due to their lived experience, are distrusting of established organizations. Even large nonprofit organizations with a community development mission will not be seen as a viable partner if communities of color have been mistreated by them or don’t see themselves represented in the organization’s leadership. Additionally, funders that operate from a top-down approach may miss the opportunity to work fully with community-driven and BIPOC-led organizations.

  1. Organizations that support small business owners have successfully partnered with economic development organization staff and managers. Strengthen ties between organizations and economic development groups to ensure resources are available when needed and to eliminate barriers to commercial real estate acquisition.

  2. Community leaders are ready to have frank discussions about the relationships between real estate, land ownership, wealth, and power. Funders have the opportunity to learn from community to further their impact by supporting and engaging in these conversations. Identify opportunities to explore these topics and also facilitate conversations with community.

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