As part of our work to build capacity for organizations and projects in the Sierra, The Sierra Fund provides loans that help complete projects, or bridge cash flow needs.

These loans, usually from our donor-advised funds, allow dollars invested in the Sierra to be used again and again to support key organizations and projects.

Types of loans we have provided include:

Bridge Loans
Often state and federal grant funds require organizations to spend money on their project up front, and then wait months for reimbursement.  This can create challenges for small organizations that may not have the cash flow to pay up front for large costs such as land acquisition or construction.  The Sierra Fund has assisted organizations and coalitions of organizations by coordinating loans from community members or our donor-advised funds to provide cash flow for the projects.

For example, in 2008 we provided a $100,000 cash flow loan that allowed Sierra County Land Trust to acquire key parcels in the iconic Sierra Buttes.

Litigation Loans
Our donor-advised funds have provided loans to support Sierra organizations’ efforts to challenge unwise development, or uphold county general plans.  In all cases that we provided loans for, the organization’s case was upheld, attorneys’ fees and other costs were reimbursed, and all or part of the loan was returned to The Sierra Fund’s donor-advised fund.

For example, Sierra Watch, supported in part by loans from two of The Sierra Fund’s donor-advised funds, navigated successful advocacy around growth in Martis Valley that resulted in tens of millions of dollars for open space, habitat, recreation and workforce housing.