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Community Capital May 2007 E-Newsletter

An Alternative Financing Source
for Vermont Entrepreneurs
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From Olivia Gay, Loan Officer

Welcome to our May issue!

This month, our Quick Links section at left highlights some more of our borrowers' websites. Take a look at the variety of businesses we work with. Also in this issue, we highlight:

  • Business Owners - Vicky and Lawrence Hawkins of Hawkins Trucking
  • Community Capital's Southwest Loan Committee
  • Vermont Job Start Update
  • Vermont Community Foundation Investment in Community Capital

Hawkins croppedLawrence and Vicky Hawkins own and operate Hawkins Trucking, Inc. Hawkins Trucking is a hauling business that specializes in the transport of unprocessed logs from the forest to lumber, pulp, and veneer yards, covering primarily Vermont and northeastern New York. Hawkins Trucking currently services 25 individual businesses and, with adjustments for weather conditions, operates year round.

The Hawkins launched their hauling business in 2003 when they needed more flexibilility in their schedules. Lawrence had been driving 18 wheelers for 23 years and had been in the wood business for the last 18 years. Vicky was employed for several years as a manager for a large landscaping company. In addition, she operates two other small businesses including a maple sugar operation and a small greenhouse.

Having skills and experience are not the only assets that make a business successful. The right kind of financing is also a key ingredient. When Vicky and Lawrence realized that their high interest business equipment loans could threaten their financial stability, Bennington-Rutland Opportunity Council business counselor Michele Rock referred them to Community Capital for help. Vicky remarked: "Because of Community Capital, we have the resources to invest in our business."

Community Capital was pleased to partner with Vermont Job Start to refinance the Hawkins' existing debt. Now the Hawkins can support their family while offering a needed service for the local logging industry.

Click here to read more Community Capital success stories...
Community Capital loan decisions are made around the State by a network of five volunteer loan committees. These individuals provide the perspective and local knowledge necessary to make strong loan decisions and to keep Community Capital connected to the regions it serves. This month, we highlight the Southwest Loan Committee, a group of individuals who come from a wide variety of backgrounds:

  • Mary Niebling, Central Vermont Community Action Agency and Community Capital Board Member
  • Jacob Park, Assistant Professor of Business and Public Policy, Green Mountain College, Poultney, VT
  • Denise Casey, Assistant Vice President, Factory Point Bank, Manchester, VT
  • Melissa Warrender, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Rutland, VT
  • Peter Levin, Manager, Levin Appraisal LLC, Shaftsbury, VT

When asked what she likes about her role as a Community Capital Loan Committee member, Melissa Warrender commented, "Being on the loan committee is a great opportunity to help my community". Thanks to the service of these five individuals, Community Capital has a vital connection to Bennington and Rutland counties as well as a diverse group with a wide variety of perspectives when it comes to whether or not to make a loan decision.

Click here to see other supporters and partners
We are pleased to announce that the Vermont Legislature passed Bill H.433 this session. This bill includes an amendment to Vermont State Statute to transfer of the Vermont Job Start loan program from Vermont Economic Development Authority (where the loan program is currently housed) to the Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). OEO will then contract administration of the loan fund to a qualified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that has the recommendation of the Vermont Job Start Advisory Board and VEDA.

Given that Community Capital has received this recommendation, we fully expect to be administering the Job Start program by year's end. During the Legislative review process, the Job Start program did not make it through completely intact. The bill allows for $40,000 of the Job Start loan capital to be granted to another qualified CDFI. This amendment was added onto the bill during the Legislative review process following requests made by Opportunities Credit Union to share the Job Start loan fund with Community Capital.

While Community Capital did not advocate for diverting some of the funds to another CDFI, we ultimately supported the final bill given our desire for the legislation to pass during this Legislative Session and the fact that the amount of capital was small relative to the rest of the Job Start loan fund.

All in all, we look forward to working with you all on the Job Start program! We expect the transfer of the program to occur by the end of 2007 if not sooner. We will keep you updated!

Click here for current Vermont Job Start Application Guidelines
Community Capital recently received a $100,000 investment of loan capital from Vermont Community Foundation. The investment will be used to help Community Capital make new loans around the State to new and growing entrepreneurs who are unable to secure conventional bank financing.

"We are pleased to have Vermont Community Foundation as our newest partner", says Robert Fairbanks, Community Capital's board president. "Their investment will assist us in making an additional 5 to 10 loans this year to micro and small businesses in Vermont that need our help."

The VCF's investment in Community Capital is part of their commitment to supporting community economic development statewide. Brian T. Byrnes, VCF President & CEO, notes "Investing through loan programs like Community Capital provides us with a terrific opportunity to expand the reach and the impact of the Foundation's mission. We feel fortunate that organizations like Community Capital are out there, helping us put philanthropic capital to work in the community."

For more information on Vermont Community Foundation, click here

Our next issue will be published in June. If you have news that you would like featured in any of our upcoming e-newsletters, please contact me at 802- 479-0167 or Until next time...


Olivia Gay
Community Capital of Vermont

phone: 802-479-0167