The Fountain Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit lender that provides microloans to formerly incarcerated individuals who would not qualify for traditional lines of credit, but have viable job prospects or entrepreneurial ventures. Loan funds can be used to pay court-imposed debt, job-related expenses, transportation and housings costs, child support or to start a business.
To be considered for a loan, applicants must show:
- A record of past incarceration;
- Current or future gainful employment; and
- A potential elevation in their personal circumstances as a result of the loan.
The Fountain Fund does not discriminate based on type of conviction or length of incarceration. We typically offer our loans for a 3-year term at a low 5.0% interest rate. We have an incentive that provides a 3.0% interest rate for Automatic Clearing House (ACH) participation, which automatically withdraws funds from a checking account.
Along with providing loans, the Fountain Fund is committed to offering information and resources related to finances and credit building. This required financial literacy training includes group workshops as well as one-on-one financial coaching for our Client Partners to give them the information, understanding and skills to build credit.
To provide this financial education and coaching program, the Fund has partnered with Operation Hope, which was brought to the area by New Hill Development Corporation. Operation Hope is a national organization that has successfully assisted more than 1.8 million adults with “financial dignity programing and coaching to equip them with financial knowledge and tools to create a secure future.” They have recently opened an office here in Charlottesville.
Our Client Partners benefit greatly from our relationships with numerous local organizations and services. We identify and facilitate connections to the resources that will be the most helpful to our Client Partners.
Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR) – Jefferson Area Community Corrections
Provides community correction and reentry services for the Charlottesville area. Dedicated to providing safe, evidence-based and cost effective alternatives to incarceration for Central Virginia.
Community Investment Collaborative (CIC)
CIC strengthens our community and contributes to economic development by fueling the success of under-resourced entrepreneurs through education, mentoring, micro-lending and networking.
Network to Work
Helps Charlottesville families who do not make enough money to pay for the essentials of life identify job opportunities within their reach and position them to secure and excel in those jobs — real jobs for real people.
Drive to Work
Helps low income or previously incarcerated persons restore their driving privileges so they can drive to work and keep a job —benefiting the individuals, their children and families, and the community.
Provides high-quality, customized educational programs to organizations and individuals that might otherwise go overlooked. Current projects include entrepreneurship education for prisoner’s reentering society, and financial literacy for victims of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).
Legal Aid Justice Center
The Legal Aid Justice Center partners with communities and clients to achieve justice by dismantling systems that create and perpetuate poverty. Justice means racial justice, social justice, and economic justice.
The ReadyKids REAL Dads program coaches fathers have responsible, empowered, available and loving relationships with their kids.
To help their fellow Client Partners during times of crisis, a committee of Client Partners has been formed to review and approve applications for emergency assistance. These grants provide up to $600 to Client Partners who have been in good standing for at least three months. The committee will also hold fundraisers to raise money for the emergency assistance fund.
This program has received generous support from the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation.