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Before entering the ministry, Van Tanner was a successful businessman and entrepreneur.

But one of the most difficult business challenges he ever faced was securing private funding to expand the work of Servant’s Heart, the nonprofit he founded with his wife, Gina, in Greensboro in 1998. The organization provides a wide spectrum of coordinated care for adults with mental and developmental disabilities.

Tanner approached a bank he had done business with in the past to secure a loan to purchase a property to be the organization’s central office and new day center.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Tanner realized translating the expenses and defining the successes of a nonprofit into the standard template of private business lending was not an easy sale. But Tanner persisted, and that’s when NewBridge Bank came into the picture.

“They dug in there and we were able to put the loan together,” Tanner continued. “Then they got The Rural Center involved and that’s what made it happen. “

The Rural Center operates the N.C. Loan Participation Program through its Small Business Credit Initiative. The program reduces a private lender’s risk by purchasing up to 15 percent of a loan made to a business or nonprofit.

With the $560,000 loan in place, Servant’s Heart was able to purchase their new property.

“The use of the Loan Participation Program for Servant’s Heart is a great example of how the program can be utilized to empower local businesses to reach their financial goals and make a difference in their communities,” said NewBridge Bank Senior Credit Officer LaNell DeLoach.

For Servant’s Heart, it meant a newly renovated building that sits adjacent to the General Green National Military Park in Greensboro. Today, center participants make use of the park’s amenities with their caregivers.

“Small things are big things to them,” Tanner said. “It provides a new sense of identity and a connection to the community, and reaffirms their identity as a viable part of that community.“