A Weekly Profile of a Local Nonprofit Organization
The work of Venture Jobs Foundation stems from the premise that Rochester has an alarming level of poverty, and innovative approaches are needed to address it. VJF invests in small businesses that will use the funding to create low- and middle-skill jobs in challenged neighborhoods. Recipients of VJF investments hire and uplift previously unemployed individuals seeking greater prosperity.
While other organizations target training for jobs that may require higher skills, VJF’s approach involves direct investment in small businesses that can create low- and middle-skill jobs in the low-income areas of our region, particularly Rochester, with the employer able to provide needed training.
VJF focuses on revenue stage businesses that have not had access to capital from traditional sources. It targets businesses that, based on due diligence, have adequate capacity to repay VJF loans, allowing the foundation to recycle capital for future funding applicants. Each recipient of a VJF investment must make a written commitment to add an agreed number of new jobs as a condition of receiving capital.
VJF offers the following programs and services:
Microlending: VJF lends $10,000 to $50,000 to businesses that meet criteria and have the capacity to repay the loans. The initial VJF microlending fund, the VJF-Rochester Fund, is a $200,000 pool that invests in businesses located in Rochester.
Growth Lending: Later in 2017, VJF anticipates receiving certification as a Community Development Financial Institution that will help VJF create a separate loan capability to offer larger growth loans to businesses that have made a solid start but need capital to grow and provide additional jobs. The growth lending program will target businesses located in, or expanding into, challenged neighborhoods and having difficulty in obtaining traditional commercial loans.
Investment Readiness: The VJF “Jobs Kitchen” program advances to the point of investment readiness selected small businesses or innovative business concepts that are not yet investable but which the foundation believes have the potential to be significant sources of low- and middle-skill jobs in VJF’s target neighborhoods. The program is being piloted in 2017, and full operations are expected later in the year. VJF will partner with regional colleges to make use of their expertise to mentor concepts and companies selected to participate in the VJF Jobs Kitchen. The program develops future VJF investment candidates.
Dennis DeLeo is president and a director of Venture Jobs Foundation, which has no paid staff and is located at 1221 Pittsford Victor Road in Perinton.
Financial record Year ended Dec. 31, 2016
Grants for microlending investment $200,000 74
Event support 37,775 14
Grants for microlending operations 32,000 12
Other revenue 325 less than 1
Total revenue $270,100
Events $47,521 67
General administrative 9,547 13
Microlending expenses 7,814 11
Travels, meetings, miscellaneous 6,155 9
Total expenses $71,037
Excess (deficiency) of revenue over expenses $199,063
Board of directors
Frank Strong Jr., chairman
Dennis DeLeo, president
Rachel Baker August
Christine Woodcock Dettor
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