Micro loans target often overlooked businesses

Community Investment Corporation (CIC) BIPOC Loans are changing the game for often overlooked businesses. Katrina Calderon, one of three owners of Regal Fierce Media Company, remembers very clearly the day she received the email saying she and her partners had been approved. 

The $10,000 loan enabled Calderon and partners — Luke Ralston and husband Daniel Calderon — to upgrade their cameras, lenses and other equipment that catapulted the fledgling company to outstanding local professionals making $500,000 a year.


“It was the greatest feeling once we got notified we were going to get the money,” she said. “It just truly was life-changing for us because after that we were able to get a nice job with Tucson Federal Credit Union because we had nice cameras. … These cameras made us look that much better and then that one job led to multiple other jobs … and it was just simply because we leveled up our game.”

Community Investment Corporation Recognized for Fostering Economic Inclusion

The Community Investment Corporation, a Pima County partner, was recently awarded the inaugural Vital Nonprofit BLOOM Award by the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA). This distinguished award celebrates CIC’s contributions toward creating a vibrant and equitable community throughout Southern Arizona. Read the full article written by the Pima County Economic Development Department by clicking on the button below.

Infrastructure Week: In Discussion with Dave Silverstein from Ned and CIC’s Caroline Nelson

Infrastructure Week: In Discussion with CIC’s Caroline Nelson

Guest: Caroline Nelson
COO and Director of Lending at Community Investment Corporate (CIC)
About: In this Infrastructure Week, Caroline Nelson discusses her team’s approach to innovation and providing access to capital for underrepresented founders. Caroline shares insights into the organization’s revenue-based lending program, “STAC,” and its efforts to incorporate technology and data to improve the underwriting process.

Check out the full conversation below!

How A Local Food Co-op Is Empowering Community Development In Rural Arizona

Photo credit: Good Food Finder AZ

We’re thrilled to see Good Food Finder AZ spotlight Desert Sky Produce one of our amazing lending clients, for their incredible impact on McNeal, Arizona!

When John Benedict noticed the lack of locally grown food in his community, he took action, founding Desert Sky Produce in 2020. Now, alongside The Local Co-op, they’re transforming food access in rural areas, serving over 40 families and supporting local farmers.

At CIC, we’re proud to see them thrive and make a real impact!

Social Innovation Hackathon: Event Recap & Key Takeaways

The Social Innovation Hackathon held on February 3rd, 2024 was a significant event focused on addressing the pressing issue of homelessness in our city. This dynamic event served as a call to action, bringing together a diverse group of individuals committed to devising and implementing practical solutions to this complex problem.

Throughout the day, participants engaged in a series of discussions, interactive activities, and sessions led by experts in the field. The goal was to explore innovative approaches and encourage a community-driven effort aimed at creating sustainable solutions for homelessness.
The hackathon facilitated meaningful conversations among participants, enabling the exchange of ideas and perspectives on tackling homelessness.

  • Interactive Activities: Through hands-on activities, attendees were able to simulate scenarios and challenges faced by homeless individuals, fostering empathy and a deeper understanding of the issue.
  • Expert-Led Sessions: Specialists in social work, urban planning, and related fields shared their insights, offering guidance and inspiration for innovative solutions.
  • Community-Driven Efforts: The event emphasized the importance of collective action and community involvement in addressing homelessness, highlighting the potential for significant impact when individuals come together for a common cause.

The event recap notes and a document outlining the key takeaways have been meticulously compiled to provide a comprehensive overview of the day’s proceedings. These materials break down each session in detail, capturing all the significant points and insights that emerged during the hackathon.

For those interested in revisiting the discussions or for attendees seeking to refresh their memories, the event recap is accessible here. This document serves as a valuable resource for anyone looking to contribute to ongoing and future efforts to combat homelessness in our community.

Tucson Agenda Covers Social Innovation Hackathon

The Daily Agenda: Brainstorming a brighter future

By Liv Leonard, Tucson Agenda Spring Reporter


The people tasked with solving the world’s problems are restricted by bureaucracy, rules and limitations that can be as challenging to navigate as the problems themselves.

But participants of Saturday’s Social Innovation Hackathon were asked to imagine a world without barriers while brainstorming policies, projects and processes to help people who have lost or are at risk of losing their homes.

For those who’ve never heard of a hackathon, they aim to foster collaboration and innovation, but usually focus on IT.

Tucson’s first-ever Social Innovation Hackathon was co-hosted by the Community Investment Corporation, Startup Tucson and Tucson Young Professionals.

The hope is that by bringing different expertise and ideas into the mix, participants would think of comprehensive and holistic solutions that take into account different viewpoints, experiences and limitations.

The nearly 50 participants included representatives from nonprofits, businesses, community groups, local government, and even journalists, since Caitlin and our Tucson Agenda intern, Liv Leonard, were along for the ride.

Read the full article on the Tucson Agenda.

Tucson Nonprofits Seek Solutions for Unhoused Populations

CIC hosting a Social Innovation Hackathon; La Frontera shares focus on behavior health, barriers, and building trust

a flyer for CIC Tucson's Social Innovation Hackathon shown during the evening broadcast for KGUN9 News

By Reyna Preciado, KGUN9

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — After the recent increase in homelessness seen in areas in South Tucson and the Southside, the conversation continues to show the reality of housing-related issues, but also the real work that’s being done.

La Frontera has been serving Tucson and South Tucson since 1968. Their focus started in behavioral health, but has now moved to a broader brand of “community problem-solving.” When it comes to homelessness, the nonprofit prioritizes behavioral health because it can be a huge barrier for getting into housing.

“Our outreach team goes out into the community and finds folks that are experiencing homelessness you know that we all see out there. Our outreach team is folks of lived experience because it helps them build rapport with them and getting those folks to trust them. It’s not easy to bring them in,” described Guillermo Andrade, Director of Housing Supportive Services, Veteran Supportive Services, and Homelessness.

La Frontera provides several services, including housing specifically for people with behavioral issues. The CEO Dan Ranieri said the nonprofit has their vision for future solutions. He considered the setbacks unhoused people face due to not having proper documentation and envisioned the big picture.

“The first thing we need is we need a transitional site and it needs to be large. But it’s to do the assessment, plug them into the services we need, get them their documentation, if they’re employable or trainable and want to work, we’ll get them trained and employed and then get them into permanent housing,” said Ranieri.

While La Frontera already has the vision, Community Investment Corporation hopes to continue the conversation with a Hackathon event to inspire more solutions.

“Sometimes we think that’s the best, people with new fresh eyes, people who are passionate about this, who see this as a problem that they want to get involved in solving, we think this is a way for people to do it. And they’ll also get to connect with the organizations that are already doing this work,” said Executive Director Danny Knee.

The Hackathon Event will be from 9:30 AM to 3 PM on Saturday, February 3rd at the University of Arizona FORGE.

Read the original article on KGUN9.com.

Pitch It Forward: A Social Innovation Hackathon

Calling All Visionaries, Innovators, & Community Advocates!

Join us if you’re passionate about social change, deeply care about homelessness, or have innovative solutions to share at our inaugural Homelessness Solutions Hackathon on February 3, 2024, from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. Hosted at the University of Arizona: FORGE.

🏡 About the Event: Our hackathon is a call to action, a dynamic gathering of minds dedicated to crafting actionable strategies to combat homelessness in our city. Through a blend of engaging discussions, interactive activities, and expert-led sessions, we aim to explore innovative approaches and foster a community-driven effort towards sustainable solutions.

Certifiably Delightful: Tucson Frozen Yogurt Shop Goes Green

Photo credit: Kylee Musslewhite with permission from Frozen Delight

Delicious frozen yogurt, ice cream, and boba may draw you to Frozen Delight, but the friendly relationships that staff have formed with the community will make you want to stay! Frozen Delight prides itself on serving customers for over 25 years and being one of the first frozen yogurt shops in Tucson. In addition to fostering community connections, Frozen Delight consistently explores how to minimize its environmental impacts and recently became the latest business in Tucson to become Green Business Certified!

Owners Cleo and Jose Terrazas grew up in Mexico City, where conserving water was a part of everyday life in their community. Upon moving to Arizona, they were surprised by the amount of water being used in the day-to-day operations of their business, such as in the cooling systems for their frozen yogurt.

Soon, Frozen Delight made the switch to air-cooled frozen yogurt machines and was inspired to continue this trend forward in other areas of their business. Jose installed LED lighting throughout the building, Cleo attended sustainability events, and both owners worked with staff to gather new ideas for the way they can run their business more sustainably.

Frozen Delight now uses recyclable packaging, repurposes old furniture and décor to prevent items from going to the landfill, and created an environmental policy guiding future energy and water initiatives.

Learn more about Frozen Delight at their website: www.frozendelight520.com

Photo credit: Kylee Musslewhite with permission from Frozen Delight

Get recognition for being a sustainability leader in Arizona by becoming a Certified Green Business!

Reach out to the Sustainability team using the Arizona Green Business Certification Interest Form or contact Nick Shivka, Senior Manager of Sustainability Initiatives – nick@localfirstaz.com

Read the original article on Local First Arizona.