Our mission is to support the entrepreneurial spirit of rural communities by investing in people, culture and ideas that fuel innovation and financial knowledge by prioritizing access to equitable capital to those who have been traditionally excluded.

First Southwest Community Fund (FSWCF) was created in 2015 by First Southwest Bank to provide risk mitigating gap funding. FSWCF is headquartered in Alamosa, Colorado but serves rural Colorado in its entirety. Unlike the rest of the state, rural Colorado has not felt the same levels of increased economic prosperity post-recession. In fact, Colorado’s three persistent poverty counties lie in the rural south.

FSWCF fosters tangible economic opportunities throughout rural Colorado by making much needed non-traditional capital (loans) available to emerging and existing businesses, which in turn create, retain and grow jobs. Often times, it is the FSWCF loan that enables a bank to get to a “yes” while staying within the parameters of its loan policy.

By promoting economic development in distressed communities, FSWCF helps create and retain jobs while encouraging the development of critical community infrastructure.

THEORY OF CHANGE – If we support rural startups, nonprofits and small business owners, who have been traditionally excluded, through inclusive and equitable access to capital and resources, then we will enable sustainable, thriving rural communities as measured through improved social, economic and environmental outcomes.

Where We Work

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Small Communities

No town in our footprint has a population larger than 20,000; meeting all United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) definitions of rural.

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High Unemployment

Eight of our rural counties have an unemployment rate above the statewide average and six counties have an unemployment rate above the nationwide average of 8.3%.

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Diverse Communities

Seven of our rural counties have a Hispanic population larger than the statewide average of 17%; of those seven counties, four of them have a Hispanic population larger than 40% and two are majority Hispanic.

Our Rural Community Goals


Create and retain jobs through assisting emerging and existing businesses

Provide access to capital and technical assistance that create and build community assets, infrastructure, and technology, leading to new businesses/nonprofits and job creation


Help previously underserved rural entrepreneurs by building a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem

Listen to our rural communities’ needs, and work with our collaborators and partners to co-design inclusive and culturally-competent technical assistance, mentorship, events, and other resources needed to support our rural ecosystem


Build partnerships and collaborations that uniquely leverage financial resources

Leverage FSWCF assets and Hellobello expertise with First SouthWest Bank and other financial institutions to create greater access to capital for rural entrepreneurs

Our Values


We believe together we make a bigger impact. We work alongside our partners to provide capital, capacity building, support, and encouragement to small businesses and entrepreneurs.


We are mission driven and believe in creating progressive, impactful, creative programs that will create change for our rural communities through our entrepreneurial model.


We believe in rural. We are people driven and our rural communities are the heart and soul of everything we do.


We believe in all definitions of sustainability–protecting our environment, financial stability and organizational growth are all essential for the change we need to see in our communities.


We believe in an inclusive society, where all have equitable access to finance and resources. We aspire to be inclusive in our processes, programs, and partnerships, and value diversity, equity, and inclusivity in everything that we do.