About Us

About Us

Root Capital Timeline

Root Capital, a nonprofit social investment fund, has more than 10 years of experience in impact investing and specializes in agricultural lending. Explore our history.

William (“Willy”) Fulbright Foote founds Root Capital, seeking to bring financing to rural small and growing businesses.


Root Capital incubates as Ecologic Finance, a subsidiary of the Ecologic Development Fund.

Root Capital issues our first loan to ASOBAGRI, a cardamom and coffee cooperative in northwestern Guatemala. 

Read stories about other clients in the Root Capital portfolio

Root Capital continues testing agricultural value chain finance. We disburse $855,000 to nine clients in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama.

Read about Root Capital’s performance and impact

Starbucks becomes the first company to provide guarantees for Root Capital loans.

Read more about our relationships with value chain partners

Root Capital issues our first fixed-asset loan to Rainforest Trading Company / Precox, a coffee enterprise, in Mexico.

Learn about clients in Mexico and the Caribbean

The Wall Street Journal profiles Root Capital on its front page. 

Read recent articles about Root Capital

Root Capital disburses our first loan in South America to La Florida, a Peruvian coffee cooperative.

Learn about how coffee cooperatives grow rural prosperity

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters becomes the first corporate investor in Root Capital.

Learn about our relationships with value chain partners

Root Capital co-founds the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST), an industry alliance that enables greater producer access to credit and related financial risk management tools. FAST officially launches operations in 2007.

First loan is approved in East Africa for Musasa, a Rwandan coffee cooperative. Financing helps Musasa increase production and rebuild its post-conflict community.

Root Capital hires our first loan officer in Central America.

Learn more about career opportunities at Root Capital

First financial training initiative launches in Mexico and Central America. 

Learn about Root Capital’s Advise strategy

Root Capital becomes a registered 501 (c)(3) and our name officially changes from EcoLogic Finance to Root Capital. 

Root Capital hires our first loan officer in South America.

Learn more about career opportunities at Root Capital

Willy Foote wins an Ashoka Global Fellowship, an award given to emerging social entrepreneurs.

Root Capital reaches $100 million in cumulative loan disbursements to small and growing businesses.

Read about Root Capital’s performance and impact

Root Capital disburses our first loan in the fruits and vegetables sector to Terrafertil, a dried fruits enterprise in Ecuador. 

Learn about Root Capital’s fruit and vegetable clients

Root Capital hires our first loan officer in Africa. 

Learn more about career opportunities at Root Capital.

Willy Foote receives the 2008 Social Innovation Award from the Social Venture Network (SVN).

Root Capital is the first recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s program-related investment (PRI) from its Agricultural Development initiative. 

Root Capital is a founding member of the Apsen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE).

Root Capital receives the 2009 Financial Times and IFC Sustainable Banking Award for Achievement in Banking at the Bottom of the Pyramid. The award recognizes ground-breaking financial transactions and initiatives that address the bottom or base of the financial pyramid.

Managed by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) initiative is a catalog of terms and definitions that can be used to describe the social, environmental, and financial performance of an organization. Root Capital is an original member of the IRIS Taxonomy Committee responsible for defining these standards, as well as a member of the Agriculture Working Group.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) invests $10 million in Root Capital. Learn how Root Capital loans grow rural prosperity at Pangoa, a Peruvian coffee cooperative

Root Capital is among 14 organizations chosen for having the best models to catalyze finance for small and medium-sized enterprises at the the G-20 SME Finance Challenge. 

Root Capital is funded by the Skoll Foundation and the Citi Foundation for inclusion in The Talent Initiative, a program to help high-impact non-profits hire, develop and retain the best talent.

Learn about career opportunities at Root Capital

Root Capital is named a Global Impact Investment Rating System (GIIRS) Pioneer Fund. These funds are leading private equity and venture capital funds that make impact investments in companies in both developed economies and throughout emerging markets. 

Read more about Root Capital’s Catalyze strategy

First all-staff retreat brings 85 staff members representing 19 countries to Thompson Island, MA.

Learn about career opportunities at Root Capital

Root Capital is recognized as one of the Top 100 Best NGOs by The Global Journal, a publication that covers the issues and players shaping global governance. 

Root Capital launches the Women in Agriculture Initiative to better understand the impact our clients have on women and gain a deeper insight into all of the roles that women play along the economic spectrum. Learn about Root Capital’s Women in Agriculture Initiative

Root Capital reaches $500 million in cumulative lending to small and growing businesses.  Visit Root Capital’s press room

Root Capital releases its Roadmap for Impact, laying out our evolving approach to impact measurement. Read the Roadmap for Impact

Root Capital begins lending in the Democratic Republic of Congo, disbursing three loans to three coffee clients in the Lake Kivu region.

Read Willy Foote's Forbes.com blog

Root Capital announces the launch of the seven-member Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance (CSAF), an industry council focused on creating a thriving, sustainable and transparent financial market to serve the financing needs of small and growing agricultural businesses in low- and middle-income countries worldwide. Visit the CSAF website

Root Capital launches its Issue Brief Series. The series, supported by the Citi Foundation and The Skoll Foundation, aims to stimulate discussion about issues important to the fields of smallholder agricultural finance, small and growing business, and impact investing. Download the first issue brief in the series

Root Capital kicks-off a year-long celebration of its 15th anniversary. In its first 15 years, Root Capital disbursed more than $700 million in credit to over 500 small and growing businesses, reaching 1.1 million smallholder farmers and their 4.5 million family members.  Learn more about the 15th anniversary celebration