Hey, buddy, can you fill a deficit?


As state and federal funding gets harder to come by, those responsible for keeping local nonprofit groups in operation are finding that they have to get personal to survive.

Increasingly, they say, well-heeled individuals who share the groups’ outlooks and goals fill in the gaps from shortfalls in government support. “It’s been declining over the last couple of years,” said Linda MacFarlane, executive director of the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region.

The Loan Fund was one of dozens of so-called Community Development Funding Institutions from around the state who gathered Tuesday in Colonie to learn how to continue funding projects in their hometowns in spite of declining revenues.

Often affiliated with credit unions, these institutions give loans to local housing agencies or even low-income individuals who are trying to buy a home or start a small business.

The Capital Region fund, for instance, has supported a dry cleaning business in Albany’s Sheridan Hollow neighborhood, and helped open Ernie D’s breakfast and lunch restaurant. Its loans can leverage other sources of funding for larger projects such as housing rehabs.

“Leveraging the dollars is really our biggest sell,” said Jeff Pearlman, who lobbies for the groups and was advising them on how to request funding ………..

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