To help small businesses in California navigate the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Small Business Enterprise Task Force (“CASE Force”), a public-private consortium of legal, financial, and nonprofit professionals, created the US$1 billion California Rebuilding Fund (the “Fund”). A team from MoFo led the development and implementation of the Fund, a public-private partnership loan program to support California’s small businesses, especially those located in economically disadvantaged and historically under-banked areas of the state.
Since its inception, the Fund has raised over US$106 million and CASE Force members continue to fundraise additional capital from philanthropists and lending institutions. The Fund has provided vital financial resources to California’s most vulnerable small businesses. As of October 18, 2021, MoFo attorneys have donated over 5000 pro bono hours to CASE Force and the Fund. To date, nearly 800 small businesses in California have received funded loans through the Fund totaling US$50 million, including:
- 40% of funded loans given to women-owned businesses;
- 46% of the loans given to entrepreneurs of color; and
- 62% of the loans given to businesses owned by either women or people of color.
Co-founded by MoFo partner Suz Mac Cormac in partnership with All Home, CASE Force was a collaboration formed at the start of the pandemic to support the needs of the state’s smallest businesses. CASE Force’s initial efforts included the development of a comprehensive COVID-19 resource guide and weekly live office hours led by MoFo attorneys and business advisors of the Northern California Small Business Development Center (“SBDC”) Network to address legal issues for California businesses with 50 or fewer employees, as well as nonprofits. During the early stages of the pandemic, the office hours primarily addressed questions about Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). By summer 2020, concerns during office hours shifted to tax, unemployment, and bankruptcy issues, and it became clear that small businesses needed financial support to endure the pandemic. This led to the formation of the Fund.
Launched in November 2020, the Fund drives capital from private, philanthropic, and public sector resources—including a US$25 million anchor commitment and US$50 million guarantee allocation from the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (“IBank”)—to California’s smallest businesses through community development financial institutions (“CDFIs”). The Fund provides low-interest loans to businesses with no more than 50 employees and those who earned up to US$2.5 million in gross revenue in 2019.