Loan Programs

Community Investment Fund (CIF) Loans 

CIF loans are for large infrastructure projects. These loans have been in the $500,000 to $1.8 million range and are available to government and non-profit organizations. Typical interest rates are 3-5%.

Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Loans

RLF loans serve as gap financing for private businesses unable to obtain traditional financing. Interest rates are typically 9-10%.

It is strongly recommended that you discuss proposal ideas with the Headwaters Fund Executive Director at, or by phone at 445-7745) prior to submitting a full proposal.


Matching Funds 

 None required.

Who is Eligible? 

Non-profit organizations and government entities located in Humboldt County are eligible to apply. Private businesses with a project idea are encouraged to contact the Headwaters Executive Director for connections to potential public partners.

Application Process 

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Applications will be submitted to the Headwaters Fund Board (HFB) for review on a first come first serve basis. This process can take up to two months after the date of the application. Before final decisions are made, the HFB may ask for an oral presentation or ask staff to follow up with specific project questions.   

      CIF Application Instructions             

      CIF Application             

Approval Process 

The HFB will recommend projects and award amounts to the Board of Supervisors. Successful proposals may receive funding recommendations below requested levels. The Board of Supervisors makes the final determination on all grant awards. In a typical grant round, it can take up to 4 months from grant submission to award determination. Grant applicants will be notified of their status after HFB’s first review.

Successful CIF Loan Application 

 Airport Runway Loan


The  Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) provides gap financing to businesses and non-profit organizations not fundable by the traditional banking system. The Headwaters Fund contracts with two local financial institutions Arcata Economic Development Corporation and Redwood Region Economic Development Commission to administer its loan program. $8 million has been allocated to this fund. 

Loan Guidelines 

To be eligible for a RLF loan you must have been denied by a commercial bank. Loan applicants apply directly to AEDC and RREDC. Typical loans have interest rates from 9-10% (to compensate for additional risk) and require sufficient collateral and projected cash flows. Loan sizes  range from $50,000 to $800,000 and up to $1,600,000 in special cases. Headwaters Funds are used for 50% of the loan and are matched by other sources provided by the lenders.

Eligible Use of Loan Proceeds 

  • Real estate purchase, construction and rehabilitation
  • Working capital
  • Equipment and machinery
  • Inventory
  • Leases
  • Product development

Economic Criteria for Loans

Projects must lead to job creation or retention. Projects must meet or exceed the job-to-loan ratio of 1 full time job created or retained for every $35,000 loaned. Exceptions to this requirement are possible if the project can demonstrate a sufficiently high economic value to the County.

Projects must fit with the broad vision outlined in the County's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. Namely, projects must create or retain jobs, contribute to the economic vitality of the region and enhance the productivity of industry clusters or supporting industries. 

Application Process 

The Headwaters Fund does not accept direct applications for RLF financing.

Interested parties should contact the following lenders for information and application details:

Arcata Economic Development Corporation (AEDC)
100 Ericson Court, Suite 100A
Arcata, CA   95521

Redwood Region Economic Development Commission (RREDC)
520 E Street
Eureka, CA   95501