Wash Cycle Laundry, a Philly-based laundry service that picks up and delivers by bicycle in its hometown as well as Austin and D.C., is one of the first companies to receive a loan from the Distinguished Social Ventures Foundation (DSVF) — but the $450,000 is intended to support more than the expediting of a clean suit.
DSVF is giving loans to new businesses such as Wash Cycle Laundry that employ “vulnerable adult populations” — people who have been incarcerated or homeless, or have battled addiction. A DSVF loan comes with prompting of the social impact bond variety: The more jobs you create, the lower the payback interest rate (which starts at an initial 5 percent). Create 500 jobs over five years, and your interest rate will be 1 percent. (Critics of SIBs are concerned about losing money for potential non-guaranteed success, whereas supporters of programs such as those from DSVF see increased accountability for projects that is ultimately beneficial.)
Tech news site Technical.ly reports that DSVF’s founders see the loans as a new method of philanthropical giving. From Technical.ly:
Wash Cycle has created nearly 50 jobs, spread between three cities, half of which are filled by people who have at one time faced addiction, incarceration, homelessness or welfare dependence, according to a press release. …
For Wash Cycle, the loan is a way to grow the business without losing equity.
Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.