"The mission of the Bay Area Green Fund is to reduce emissions and protect natural resources by offering FDIC-insured bank accounts that support financing of environmentally sustainable projects and businesses."
– BAGF Mission Statement (2015)
Community Bank of the Bay (CBB) is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)1 with a longstanding tradition of promoting job creation and economic revitalization by providing affordable deposit accounts and flexible financing to local businesses, non-profits, schools and faith-based organizations. In an effort to support a more environmentally sustainable2 economy, CBB created the Bay Area Green Fund (BAGF) in 2007. Re-launched in early 2015, the BAGF has become an innovative way for depositors to become "green" Impact Investors3.
The BAGF is powered by deposits, which are leveraged to finance "green" projects and businesses that will positively impact the environment. By moving money into FDIC-insured accounts with CBB, BAGF Depositors are increasing the amount of financing that is available to local "green" businesses (and non-profits). Conversely, by becoming BAGF Borrowers, eligible "green" businesses are demonstrating the economic viability of projects and practices that address one or more of the following Key Impact Areas:
To prevent "green washing"4 and demonstrate CBB's renewed commitment to the BAGF, an Advisory Committee of environmental experts was formed in late 2014 to independently determine which credit-approved borrowers are eligible to participate. Using three Pathways of Participation to measure and evaluate sustainability, Advisors help to ensure that only "green" projects and businesses are allowed to be financed by BAGF deposits.
CBB recognizes the importance of quantifying and communicating the positive impact of the BAGF so that Depositors, Borrowers and the community-at-large can understand and appreciate the difference their participation has made. This is why, effective March 31, 2015, Quarterly Impact Reports will be issued and distributed through the CBB website, email, in person and by mail.
For more information about the BAGF, please contact:
- Your CBB Relationship Manager; or
- Call 510-433-5400.
1 CBB was the first California bank to be certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It is one of only three CDFI banks in the Bay Area and has received the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Business Enterprise Award (BEA) 13 times because of its lending in low to moderate income communities.
2 Sustainable practices, projects, economies, businesses, etc. improve the quality of human life without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
3 Impact Investors actively seek to place capital (money) in businesses, non-profits and funds that are harnessing the power of enterprise to generate a measurable, beneficial for positive social and/or environmental outcome in addition to a financial return (at either below or above-market rates).
4 "Greenwashing" is when significantly more money and/or time have been spent advertising being "green" than is actually spent on environmentally sound practices.