Oregon Community Foundation Supports Sustainable Economic Development with $750K Loan to Regional Produce Distributor Organically Grown Company

March 14th 2019

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) announced a $750,000 loan to Organically Grown Company (OGC), a regional values-based produce distributor. The loan will help the company move to a groundbreaking new ownership structure that will allow it to focus on purpose over profit into perpetuity.

OGC was founded in Eugene, Oregon in 1978 with a mission to deliver a positive impact on people and planet through its products and services. Today, it is the largest independent organic produce distributor in the nation, moving more than 100 million pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables across the Pacific Northwest region each year.

The company is using the proceeds from this loan to buy back stock from its shareholders and transfer those shares to the newly established Sustainable Food and Agriculture Perpetual Purpose Trust. The loan was led by RSF Social Finance, a values-driven financial services organization, and OCF is participating alongside other values-driven investors and lenders.

The establishment of the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Perpetual Purpose Trust takes OGC’s purpose-orientation to the next level by codifying the company’s vision and mission into its governance and ownership structure. The Trust, created by the company, will ensure that the company delivers positive economic, social and environmental impact and maintains its independence into perpetuity, never to be sold.

“OCF launched the $20 million Oregon Impact Fund to provide a source of growth funds for nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies that deliver promising solutions to urban and rural communities, such as the triple-bottom line benefits resulting from OGC’s business model,” says Max Williams, Oregon Community Foundation CEO and President.  “Matching contributions from OCF Donors make it possible for us to produce a financial return and have a positive impact on society,” he noted.

Through this new structure, the pressure to maximize short-term quarterly profits and exit-value for shareholders is  removed. Instead, OGC will maximize “purpose” by creating long-term returns to mission-aligned investors and sharing the balance of profits with their stakeholders, including farmers, coworkers, customers, and community.

“We would have been unable to pioneer this groundbreaking steward ownership structure without the support of mission-aligned lenders and investors such as Oregon Community Foundation” said Elizabeth Nardi, CEO of Organically Grown. “Our new ownership structure gives us the freedom to focus 100 percent on our core impact metrics including the realization of a low-carbon economy, farm and soil sustainability, and a progressive workplace.”


About Organically Grown Company

Founded in 1978 by a few gardeners, small-scale farmers, hippies, environmental activists and dreamers living near Eugene, Ore., today, Organically Grown Company buys, aggregates and distributes fresh, organically grown produce to retailers and eaters across the Pacific Northwest region though its four facilities in Washington & Oregon, and workforce of over 200. When people in the Northwest purchase organic fruits and vegetables at their grocery store, there is a very good chance that it’s there because of OGC. For the past 40-years, the company’s progressive and entrepreneurial spirit has fueled its mission and growth, meeting the demand for organics in the marketplace while supporting its community of farmers. Yet at the core of OGC is a simple idea that has held steady since the beginning: that organic agriculture is necessary for a healthy environment and healthy people. Their goal is to support organic agriculture and help it thrive, by doing business in a way that is good, clean and fair. Learn more about Organically Grown Company at organicgrown.com.

About Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) puts donated money to work in Oregon – more than $100 million in grants and scholarships annually.  For nearly 45 years, OCF grantmaking, research, advocacy and community-advised solutions have helped individuals, families, businesses and organizations create charitable funds to improve lives for all Oregonians. Impactful giving – time, talent and resources from many generous Oregonians – creates measurable change.

For more information about OCF, please visit: www.oregoncf.org