30 years of lending

As we celebrate our 30th year we’re continually looking both to the past and the future.

We are grateful for the solid foundation our founders gave us, with the mission of supporting underserved entrepreneurs. We are excited to build upon that mission, getting more capital and more know-how to more entrepreneurs.

Two of our founders and current board members received our industry’s highest award this year.  Mary Houghton and Ron Gryzwinski continue to inspire us with their knowledge and devotion to community development lending.

In his acceptance speech, Ron challenged us – meaning anyone working in finance – to do more – more to meet the needs of the communities we live in. To that end, we are launching new partnerships and programs in our communities, meeting our customers where they are. Successful programs that work in Battle Creek are expanding to Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and the Upper Peninsula – and vice versa. We start working with entrepreneurs long before they apply for a loan, and the relationship continues long after the loan is paid off. We want to make sure the small business climate in Michigan is healthy and thriving.

As such, we are always advocating for resources for Michigan entrepreneurs. We work with federal and state governments, who are increasingly understanding the importance of mission lenders. We partner with foundations, who understand their communities’ needs more than anyone. We’re also looking to individual investors, who truly understand the  business ecosystem.

As we plan and build for the next 30 years, we are more passionate than ever about our mission.

Richard Flowers of Reliable Medical Transport in Grand Rapids sums it up: 

“Northern Initiatives really raised the roof of possibility for me.”


Elissa Sangalli


Annual Report

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