SOURCE: The Nature Conservancy

January 28, 2015 20:25 ET

Haa Aani LLC and the Nature Conservancy Partner for Sustainable Business in Southeast Alaska

Revolving Loan Fund Provides a New Financing Opportunity

JUNEAU, AK--(Marketwired - January 28, 2015) - Haa Aaní LLC and The Nature Conservancy are pleased to announce a new collaboration to support businesses in Southeast Alaska communities. In an innovative finance partnership, The Nature Conservancy has dedicated $500,000 to the Haa Aaní Community Development Fund Inc.

"The Nature Conservancy believes that environmentally sustainable businesses in Southeast Alaska will spark an economic resurgence in rural communities," said Norman Cohen, director of Southeast Alaska programs for The Nature Conservancy. "Our investment in the Haa Aaní Community Development Fund helps to make this a reality."

The Haa Aaní Community Development Fund is an emerging community development financial institution for new and existing businesses in Southeast Alaska. The Nature Conservancy's investment in the fund promotes financing of environmentally sustainable business ventures. By design, loans from the fund are a financing option for businesses that otherwise may not qualify for a business loan through traditional financial institutions.

"The economic development challenges in the region demand that all organizations work together and share resources and responsibilities as much as possible," said Ed Davis, Haa Aaní Community Development Fund executive director. "This combined effort has a greater probability of success than one organization can create alone. Haa Aaní LLC and The Nature Conservancy share the same vision of creating a sustainable Southeast Alaska economy and this partnership is one example of what can be achieved collaboratively."

The Haa Aaní Community Development Fund will use the $500,000 investment to finance a range of businesses that promote sustainable natural resource management including tourism, fisheries, value-added processing, sustainable alternative energy and young-growth forest management. Industries such as these are all identified as key economic activities in the region's ongoing Tongass Transition as outlined by the U.S. Forest Service.

"The timber industry in Southeast Alaska is chronically starved for loan capital that it can use for modernization and new equipment, especially at this time of tight timber supplies," said Senator Lisa Murkowski. "For an industry to survive, much less afford to transition to harvesting of young-growth timber, it needs affordable financing. This proposal led by Haa Aaní LLC and The Nature Conservancy is a worthy step in the right direction. Hopefully it will help an integrated timber industry continue to operate in the Tongass."

About Haa Aaní LLC

Haa Aaní LLC is a Sealaska subsidiary with a mission dedicated to developing economic sustainability in Southeast Alaska. It provided the initial $500,000 in seed funding to the Haa Aaní Community Development Fund Inc., a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution.

About The Nature Conservancy

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit us at nature.org.

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