In 1993, the Development Fund financed a research project to determine effective methods to enhancing community economic development. This research showed that technical assistance to borrowers, especially assistance in obtaining financing and ongoing business management support was essential for the success of community economic and small business development. As a part of the above research project, community economic development leaders and practitioners statewide were queried (including representatives from both the public and private sector). These leaders achieved consensus on a viable solution to enhance community economic development and development of a state-wide program designed to expand capital access to small business and community development efforts, enhance the skill-sets of/and establish service delivery standards for business development organizations.
The above resulted in the development of two organizations the California Economic Development Lending Initiative (CEDLI) a for-profit, multi-bank community development corporation and the California Resources and Training (CARAT), a non-profit organization designed to increase the effectiveness of business development organizations. The process began with the development of a task force of key financial, technical and corporate leaders who reviewed the capital access issue. The task force developed into the California Economic Development Loan Initiative (CEDLI).
A CEDLI Task Force was initiated by the Development Fund, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, over forty California financial institutions and community economic development leaders. National foundations and California corporations, including the Ford Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation funded Task Force activities.
Once the CEDLI Task Force reviewed the research data, they outlined several initiatives and developed a for-profit multi-bank community development corporation called CEDLI. The CEDLI Task Force also decided to establish a nonprofit partner -- CARAT to develop a series of programs designed to raise the quality standards and increase the capability of economic and business development service delivery organizations. CARAT was incorporated and received approval from the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity in December 1994.
CARAT's mission is to enhance community and economic development in California. To achieve this mission, CARAT will:
- Identify service gaps and implement programs within the business assistance industry.
- Raise the standards of service and build capacity among business assitance providers.
- Generate additional resources for business assistance providers.
- Expand access to technical assistance for small businesses throughout the state, especially in under-served, low-income, rural and urban communities.
- Cultivate leadership in the community economic development industry.
California Resources and Training (CARAT) is a private non-profit founded in 1994 to integrate and build the capacity of the technical assistance industry in California. As a statewide initiative, CARAT's focus has been on enhancing the quality of technical assistance throughout California. CARAT's intent is to assist in building capacity and encourage and stimulate partnerships between lending institutions and technical assistance providers.
- Conducted three statewide Revolving Loan Fund training sessions offering two new topics for training curricula: Loan Fund Capitalization and Managing High Performance Loan Funds
- Convened Western Regional Training Conference and Southern California Regional Training for Revolving Loan Fund Operators/CDFIs
- Cited as a model Technical Assistance program in two National reports that were released from the Ford Foundation/Milken Institute and the U. S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency
- Completed designing the technical assistance application packet
- Received Technical Assistance Certification Program endorsements from two banks, two governmental entities, and two community based lenders
- Held orientation session to recruit four Technical Assistance organizations and enlisted four Southern California organizations
- Received and assessed Technical Assistance Certification applications from three community based organizations
- Certified three technical assistance organizations
- Launched the Post Loan Business Assistance Program with CEDLI borrowers