Program Related Investments Fund Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I apply for a PRI from The San Francisco Foundation?

2. What are PRIs? How are they different from grants?

3. Who is eligible to receive a PRI from The San Francisco Foundation?

4. My nonprofit organization is neither a CDFI nor a lending intermediary. How can my organization apply for a PRI from The San Francisco Foundation?

5. What are PRIs’ eligible uses?

6. Do PRIs have to be repaid? What are the typical terms of a PRI from The San Francisco Foundation?

7. What criteria are used to evaluate PRI proposals for potential funding?

8. What is the geographic focus of this program?

1. How do I apply for a PRI from The San Francisco Foundation?

The San Francisco Foundation PRI program works primarily through intermediary nonprofit loan organizations. Please contact Nila Kim, program assistant for community development and investment, at 415.733.8540 or nkim@sff.org to discuss potential PRI opportunities.

2. What are PRIs? How are they different from grants?

Program Related Investments (PRIs) are below-market loans to nonprofit entities and/or equity investments in mission driven for-profit entities. PRI loans generate positive but below-market rates of return because the ultimate beneficiaries are low-income individuals and families or blighted communities, or, important public benefits are created such as green house gas reduction, and energy conservation. Unlike grants, PRIs are expected to be repaid. They offer patient capital with a below-market interest rate and terms that support the goals and mission of both the borrower and TSFF. The organization should have a strong balance sheet and revenue to repay the loan.

3. Who is eligible to receive a PRI from The San Francisco Foundation?

The San Francisco Foundation will work exclusively through intermediaries or established organizations with strong balance sheets. In order to be eligible for a PRI, the prospective borrower must have either a prior track record of repaying loans or other forms of invested capital, or other forms of successful financial performance.

4. My nonprofit organization is neither a CDFI nor a lending intermediary. How can my organization apply for a PRI from The San Francisco Foundation?

Smaller nonprofit organizations should contact Nila Kim, program assistant for community development and investment, at 415.733.8540 or nkim@sff.org to discuss a partnership with an eligible intermediary.

5. What are PRIs’ eligible uses?

Our PRI Fund will provide working capital and term loans of up to 10 years for nonprofits and other eligible organizations aligned with our five Core Program areas: from affordable housing, to environmental preservation initiatives, to arts, health, and education facilities.

6. What are the typical terms of a PRI from The San Francisco Foundation?

The most common PRI is a loan from five to seven years at interest rates at or above 3%. The maximum loan amount is $500,000.

7. What criteria are used to evaluate PRI proposals for potential funding?

The Foundation will consider PRIs that meet all the following criteria:

  1. The PRI must further one or more of TSFF’s strategic goals or objectives in the following areas:
    a. Facilities financing for nonprofit groups working in The San Francisco Foundation’s five Program areas, for example, community health, education, arts and social justice, healthy food, and community resiliency
    b. Community development, including economic revitalization and affordable housing, and entrepreneurship
    c. Environmental preservation, including transit-oriented development, clean water, and green buildings
  2. The PRI must have the potential for repaying capital plus a minimum return of 3%. In all cases, there must be identifiable sources of repayment.
  3. The PRI must catalyze or leverage capital from financial institutions and other investors into under-invested areas synergistic with The San Francisco Foundation’s priorities in the areas described above in Section 1.
  4. The PRI must have the potential for significant, measurable impact, e.g., to increase the scale of impact or level of service, or to build a sustainable asset base for long term operating stability and growth.

8. What is the geographic focus of this program?

The San Francisco Foundation’s PRI program will reflect TSFF’s geographic focus on San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties.