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Program-Related Investments


In additional to its regular grantmaking, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation provides bridge financing (loans and lines of credit) and credit enhancements (letters of credit and guarantees) to non-profit organizations. These bank-like instruments are known as program-related investments, or PRIs. Historically, the Foundation has made PRIs to land conservation groups in both regions, but we are open to making PRIs within our arts and collections mission areas as well. Our goal is to educate and empower our borrowers to accelerate the pace of their  work.

Example of PRIs

  • The Foundation provided a 36-month, $10 million guaranty on the purchase of conservation easements for the development rights on a 3,000 acre property in South Carolina.
  • The Foundation provided a 60-month, $523,000 loan to facilitate the acquisition of a 74-acre de-commissioned Girl Scout camp in Indiana.
  • The Foundation provided a $961,000 letter of credit to enable the construction of a wetland mitigation bank in Illinois.

General Criteria

A PRI is dependent on the transaction meeting certain requirements:

  • A grant is not the appropriate tool for the project.
  • The project falls within one of the Foundation’s programmatic and geographic areas.
  • The Foundation has a funding history or a strong working relationship with the organization to which the PRI is to be made.
  • If the investee is not a current or past grantee, it is a financial institution or public charity with a proven track record of structuring, managing and monitoring cash, loan and guarantee investment vehicles.
  • There is a designated cash stream for the payback or return of the PRI (for loans and equity) or for the relinquishment of obligations secured by guarantees and credit enhancements.
  • Based on the determined likelihood of repayment, the Foundation may require taking a mortgage or other security for any loan made.


Grantee discussion with Program Director

Grantee, GDDF

GDDF program and finance review of request

GDDF staff level

Grantee discussions with Program Director and Finance Director

Grantee, GDDF

Pre-application documents request

GDDF staff level

Review of pre-application documents

GDDF staff level

Application sent to Grantee

GDDF staff level

Application reviewed by both GDDF program and finance staff

GDDF staff level

Draft summary memorandum

GDDF, Grantee (review)

Finance & Investment Committee consideration of request

GDDF board level

Basic Terms

  • Minimum Loan or Guaranty Amount: $100,000 (as a general guideline).
  • Interest: Loan 3% APR. Guaranty Fee: 1% annual of average monthly outstanding balance.
  • Term: Minimum of 90 days and a maximum of up to 5 years (as a general guideline).
  • Payment Schedule: To be negotiated.
  • Pre-payment penalty: None.
  • Origination Fee: None.
  • Application Processing Fee: None.
  • Loan Commitment: Our commitment to fund the loan shall last 120 days from date of approval by the Loan Committee. At expiration, the loan will be reconsidered.
  • Loan Closing Costs: Borrower covers.
  • Collateral: Varies based upon transaction.

Read more about our PRI process in this two-part blog series.