Here's an update from The Conservation Fund on their excellent Shade Fund program...
You’ve heard about microlenders helping move people from poverty to greater economic self-sufficiency in the developing world. At The Conservation Fund, we’re putting a similar strategy to work here at home with a special twist. Our new ShadeFund program provides small loans to green entrepreneurs who use natural resources responsibly. Our goal? Spur a greener economy by supporting sustainable farms, forestry and forest products, eco-tourism and small-scale renewable energy production and, by doing so, sustain working natural lands and the people who depend upon them.
We’re off to a strong start, thanks to a keystone investment by Mercedes-Benz USA—which has committed to invest in 10-12 green entrepreneurs over the next two years—and a lead grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. Read about two businesses—a furniture maker that salvages downed trees and a glorious lavender farm—that just received our first ShadeFund loans.