From Our President and CEO

NCIF supports entrepreneurs in underserved central Appalachian and Southeastern communities who create jobs by growing environmentally responsible businesses and providing vital community services. Our goal? Build resilient, thriving communities with diverse economies, strong local food systems, and healthy natural resources and residents. We do this by providing business advisory services and loans to companies and nonprofits who can’t access traditional financing. In 2016, we made a record $8.41 million in loans, 82 percent to economically distressed communities. NCIF launched new strategic initiatives to serve more minority borrowers and help coal-impacted communities transition to a more diversified economy.

We are grateful for the funders and volunteers who support NCIF’s work. And we’re proud to share the accomplishments of the businesses we work with, who are doing more than just meeting their bottom line — they are making a positive impact.

– Marten R. Jenkins, Jr., President & CEO

2016 Impacts

Impact Summary

2016 2001-2016
Jobs created/retained by active portfolio companies and farms 705 3,886
Loans $8.41 M $34.13 M
Companies funded 35 208
Hours of advisory services 3,009 17,111
Advisory services clients 150 924

Impact Spotlight



local apples purchased, Hawk Knob Cidery, Lewisburg, WV


wood fiber utilized, Powell Valley Millwork, Clay City, KY


as a B Corp and Living Wage Employer, Eastern Carolina Organics, Durham NC


of businesses reported higher profits

10.5 M LBS

of shingles recycled, Griffin Waste Services, Asheville, NC


loans in economically distressed communities


loans to women & minority borrowers

Portfolio Companies

2001 — 2016
Click on a dot on the map to see details about an NCIF portfolio company

Loans by Sector 2001 - 2016

Total $34,401,723
  • 27% - Local Foods & Value-Added Agriculture
  • 15% - Eco- and Heritage Tourism
  • 10% - Consumer Products/Services
  • 10% - Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency
  • 7% - Recycling & Environmental Services
  • 7% - Production Agriculture
  • 7% - Health & Community Services
  • 6% - Manufacturing & Technology
  • 6% - Forest Products
  • 3% - Natural Medicine/Products
  • 1% - Main Street Redevelopment

What Borrowers Say

Jessica DeMarcoA lot of traditional banks don’t understand the cash flow needs that come with a seasonal business committed to supporting local agriculture. NCIF was a natural fit for us, understood the challenges we faced, and was able to provide the funding we needed to grow our production capacity and build our inventory so that we could service more stores and really grow our business.
– Jessica DeMarco, Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon, Waynesville, North Carolina
Art O'NeillOne of the biggest challenges facing small businesses is finding access to capital. When we connected with NCIF, they understood the challenges we were facing and were willing to take a chance with us, to loan us the money we needed to take our idea to the next level. It was incredibly exciting.
– Art O’Neill, Bearwaters Brewing, Canton, North Carolina
jen perkinsNatural Capital Investment Fund was a great lender to work with, especially on a project that is as unique as ours—it’s agriculture, it’s food processing, and it’s not your typical business. We met with several lenders who had a hard time wrapping their head around what we do and where we’re trying to go. NCIF understood our concept right away, and stuck with us and helped us grow in a way that traditional lenders just wouldn’t understand.
– Jen Perkins, Looking Glass Creamery, Fairview, North Carolina

Special Initiatives

How do you build healthy, strong communities?

Foster Innovation

foster innovationAcross southern West Virginia, communities who depended on coal are struggling to bounce back. The opportunity? Cultivate entrepreneurs who harness the region’s natural beauty to create jobs and improve the quality of life in coal-impacted communities. More than 40,000 off-road enthusiasts come to southern West Virginia annually to ride the 600+ miles of trails in the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System, but find lodging and other amenities in short supply.

We are partnering with the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority on the Southern West Virginia Tourism Initiative to provide capital and business advisory services to growing businesses that fill those gaps. Over time, we aim to build an entrepreneurial culture and burgeoning businesses employing hundreds in the outdoor recreation, tourism and equipment sectors.

My vision is that the trails will connect a whole string of small towns with vibrant main streetseverything from fudge shops to stores selling ATV accessories made right here.  We need new businesses, and we also need to help our small machine shops transition to a post-coal economy. 

Honestly, if we started from scratch to design a partner to help us get there, we’d have designed NCIF. They bring loan capital for responsible businesses, a focus on rural areas, and they have the ability to bring in outside experts so borrowers have a higher probability of success.  For NCIF, it’s about building communities, not just getting loans on the books.

— Jeff Lusk, Executive Director, Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreational Authority, Lyburn, West Virginia


Support Diversity

support diversityDiversity is as important in communities as it is in nature. Through our Farmers of Color Initiative, we are committed to providing access to capital and business advisory services to minority-owned businesses and farmers.

Earthseed Land Cooperative supports the collective health, wealth and environmental sustainability of diverse communities through creative stewardship of farmland and forests near Durham, North Carolina. In 2016, NCIF teamed with Triangle Land Conservancy to help Earthseed finance and permanently conserve 33 acres of land. The cooperative can now host outdoor education classes and weddings, incubate a horticulture nursery, small businesses and niche farms, and serve as a unique community resource for people of color in the area.


Catalyze Clean Energy

clean energy
Clean energy and energy efficiency have multiple benefits for communities. They are good for the environment, increase business profitability and create skilled job opportunities.

Through 2016, our Energy Efficient Enterprise Initiative helped small businesses and farms with 62 energy audits and 39 loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

NCIF’s 2016 loan helped Asheville, North Carolina-based solar installer SolFarm Solar Company double in size, adding employees and equipment to meet the growing demand for affordable solar energy in the Carolinas and Tennessee.


Create a Healthy Local Food System

food system
Access to healthy food is the bedrock of a resilient community. We provide financing and coaching to businesses from field to fork to support access to local, sustainably-raised and grown food, and the economic boost that comes with it.

Family-owned Sickler Farm supplies restaurants, grocery stores and families in Moatsville, West Virginia, with fresh, local produce. Our micro-loan for a wood-fired boiler helped them heat their greenhouses more efficiently and extend their growing season.

NCIF borrower Fullsteam Brewery not only makes great beer. The company is also a leader in the Durham, North Carolina Living Wage Project (providing 25 jobs) and a leader in local sourcing: over 17 tons of local grains, fruit and nuts in 2016 were used in Fullsteam’s ales and porters.


Deliver Vital Community Services

community services
Doctors, day cares and schools keep a community functioning. While not NCIF’s typical “green” borrowers, they provide the foundation on which communities can thrive.

Moore Vision Center is Boone County, West Virginia’s only full-time eye care center. In a rural community with high rates of systemic diseases such as diabetes, access to optometry is critical for early detection and quality treatment. When Dr. Marty Moore needed help strengthening his business in a tough economic climate, he came to NCIF and the Center for Rural Health Development for financing to continue this important health care service to Boone County and surrounding communities.

I run a small optometry business in an area that has lost thousands of jobs to coal’s decline over the past decade. When the most recent economic downturn hit, we needed financing to re-align our business, but local banks didn’t want to hear anything about our situation. Fortunately, our local SBA office referred us to NCIF.  Kevin [O’Connor, NCIF’s West Virginia Business Lender] took the time to really understand our business and said, ‘This would work!’  The NCIF loan has been a life changer. We’re stronger now than any time in the past seven years and are on a path to make much more informed decisions.”

— Dr. Marty Moore, Moore Vision Center, Madison, West Virginia 

NCIF Board of Directors and Staff

Board of Directors

  • Gat Caperton, Chair
    Caperton Furniture Works
  • Mikki Sager, Vice Chair
    The Conservation Fund
  • Jerrell “J” Deaver, Jr.
    First Citizens Bank
  • Randall (Randy) Gore
    USDA Rural Development (retired)
  • Archie Hart
    N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • W. A. “Tony” Hayes
    Trancas, LLC
  • Ruth Joseck
    United Bank
  • Jena Thompson Meredith
    The Conservation Fund
  • Erik Meyers
    The Conservation Fund
  • Evan Smith
    The Conservation Fund
Gat CapertonThe Natural Capital Investment Fund takes an entrepreneurial, creative approach to sustainability that begins with the environment but also looks beyond that to examine how we can support people, communities and local economies.  I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished and excited about what we will be able to achieve going forward.
– Gat Caperton, Owner, Caperton Furniture Works and NCIF Board Chair


Marten JenkinsMarten Jenkins
President and CEO
Erika McGilleyErika McGilley
Western North Carolina Business Lender
Rosalind L. BlackRosalind L. Black
Director of Finance
Kevin O'ConnorKevin O'Connor
West Virginia Business Lender
Quinn ColemanQuinn Coleman
Business Lender & Credit Analyst
Kristy SittonKristy Sitton
Loan Closing Specialist
TF CongletonTF Congleton
Eastern North Carolina Business Lender
Anna TefftAnna Tefft
Senior Vice President and Director of Lending
Janette DeLapaJanette DeLapa
Staff Accountant
Hannah VargasonHannah Vargason
Energy Project Manager
Bob KeelBob Keel
Loan Fund Administrator
Justin WhiteJustin White
West Virginia Business Lender
Rick LarsonRick Larson
Senior Vice President and Director of Strategic Initiatives

Invest With Us

NCIF offers investors the unique opportunity to back companies that create jobs and benefit the environment in distressed communities. By growing our pool of capital, investors can help mission-driven entrepreneurs achieve economic and environmental success.

NCIF has funded over 200 businesses and non-profit enterprises while maintaining low loss rates. We credit this success to our rigorous underwriting process and the technical support we provide to our borrowers. We maintain a AA+3 rating from AERIS, a third-party auditor of community development financial institutions. To inquire about investments in Natural Capital Investment Fund, contact Marten Jenkins, CEO, at
304-876-2815, ext. 207.

Funders and Investors

  • Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Appalachian Power
  • Associated Hardwoods, Inc.
  • Branch Banking & Trust CRA & Community Development
  • Branch Banking & Trust West Virginia Foundation
  • Calvert Foundation
  • CEI Capital Management, LLC
  • Central Appalachian Network
  • Charles M. and Mary D. Grant Foundation
  • Citi Communities at Work Fund
  • Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
  • Clients of Fresh Pond Capital
  • Clients of Reynders, McVeigh Capital Management, LLC
  • Clients of the Sustainability Group /
  • Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Trust, LLC
  • Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI)
  • Darrin & Shaula Massena Family Fund
  • First Citizens Bank
  • Ford Foundation
  • Gat Creek
  • Golden LEAF Foundation
  • Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
  • Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation
  • HSBC Technology & Services (USA), Inc.
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Just Transition Fund
  • Laughing Gull Foundation
  • Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
  • McKnight Foundation
  • NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund
  • NC Rural Economic Development Center
  • NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission
  • NCIF Board, Staff and Friends
  • Nora Roberts Foundation
  • One Foundation
  • PNC Community Development Co.
  • PNC Foundation
  • Price Romine, PLLC
  • SunTrust Bank
  • Starbucks - Create Jobs for USA
  • TD Bank
  • TD Charitable Foundation
  • United Bank
  • USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
  • USDA Rural Development
  • U.S. Department of Treasury – CDFI Fund
  • U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
  • U.S. Economic Development Administration
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Wells Fargo Community Investment Holding, Inc.
  • Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital Program
  • Wells Fargo Foundation
  • West Virginia Capital Access Program
  • West Virginia Community Advancement and Development Partnership
  • West Virginia Infrastructure Jobs and Development Council
  • Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund
  • Winston-Salem Community Foundation
  • Woodforest National Bank
  • Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation