To Our Community,
Starting January 1, 2023, Open Road will conclude offering grants and exclusively focus on scaling its loan portfolio.
Since our founding in 2012, Open Road has always gone where the data has driven us. Around the world, across sectors and regions, social impact companies were facing delays or derailments because they couldn’t find relatively small amounts of funding to enable catalytic opportunities and overcome unpredictable roadblocks. Our hypothesis-based approach led us to start making one-time grants to solve for unexpected roadblocks. Over time, we saw that the issue wasn’t always that the funding was gone–it was delayed.
We began experimenting with recoverable grants to solve for these delays in impact funding in 2015. In that process, we found that the logistics of administering those recoverable grants took too much time to meet our partner’s urgent needs, so in 2017, we began to make loans directly to non-profits and impact-first companies to address unexpected cash crunches.
At the same time, we grew our advocacy strategy working to encourage other funders to adopt customer-centric approaches with their grantees and investees to avoid those delays in the first place. While we achieved several small victories at individual funding organizations, it was not enough to change the system at large. Social entrepreneurs continued to come to us with urgent cash flow issues caused by inefficient fundraising mechanisms in the social sector. The data pointed us in one direction: for Open Road, the most direct path to impact was to scale our loan portfolio of bridge loans.
We launched our formal proprietary loan portfolio in 2017, which has now disbursed more than $60 million to 150+ social impact organizations, keeping nearly $700 million of impact and follow-on financing on track. Demand for our loans continues to rise with urgency, and our model has become the only go-to resource for impact-first companies needing to unstick their capital.
Unsticking impact capital: this is what we do best, and this is the future of our model. In 2023, Open Road will continue accelerating its focus to further meet the sector's needs, aiming to disburse over $20 million in loans and unsticking an additional $200 million of impact.
We are grateful and proud of all the impact and relationships we have built with our 190+ grantees, and we are eager to continue serving the sector with our bridge loans.
For more information about our loans, please visit: https://openroadalliance.org/loans/.
The Open Road Team