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Sunlight Loan Fund 

The Sunlight Loan Fund is a Community Development Financial Institution (“CDFI”) that invests in the creation and growth of teacher-led Montessori microschools, focusing on underserved communities.


The Sunlight Loan Fund's mission is to provide loans and technical assistance services to support the launch and success of Montessori schools serving children, from infants to 12th grade, across the United States, with a focus on underserved communities where Montessori facilities are in high need, that have higher rates of low income households, and where access to capital to finance new facilities is inadequate.


Wildflower has issued $5.2 million of loans to 49 schools with no defaults to date and expects to issue $7 million of loans over the next 3 years. While Wildflower provides low-interest loans to Emerging Teacher Leaders, we limit the total size of the loan to the amount a school can pay back over a reasonable period of time while also paying its Teacher Leaders well. We also typically ask Teacher Leaders to take responsibility for a share of the fundraising to start their school, typically 10-33% of the total startup costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a typical loan size? 

$100,000 - $200,000


What is the interest rate and related fees on loans?

As of January 2024, Sunlight is issuing loans at 5-7% annual interest, significantly below the rate typically available to startup nonprofits for unsecured loans. Sunlight's rates are typically a few percentage points above the "federal funds rate" (currently 5.5%) which is the rate that banks pay to borrow money from the federal reserve, and below the "Prime Rate" (currently 8.5%) that banks charge on loans to their lowest risk clients. Underwriting fees are currently 1-2%.

Are loans personally guaranteed by Teacher Leaders?


No. Loans are guaranteed by the assets of the school (materials, furniture, etc.). Teacher Leaders will never be personally responsible to pay back a loan with their own assets.

Featured Portfolio Schools

Roxbury Roots, Boston, MA

Roxbury Roots is the dream of its founder, Renee Jolley. Renee grew up in the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury and wanted to bring the magic of Montessori education to her community. The program began as a parent-child initiative and home-based child care program. With loan capital from The Sunlight Loan Fund, Roxbury Roots was able to expand into a beautiful, community-embedded microschool in the heart of the Roxbury neighborhood. Today, Roxburn Roots is a thriving preschool, kept affordable through public child care subsidies, serving students 6-weeks to 6-years-old with an Afrocentric program focus.

Cosmos Montessori, Minneapolis, MN

Cosmos Montessori, led by Laura Cefalu, is located six blocks from the memorial George Floyd Square in South Minneapolis, MN. Cosmos is a thriving preschool and charter elementary school that used loan capital from The Sunlight Loan Fund to open in the Sabathani Community Center - one of Minnesota's oldest African American-founded nonprofits. Sabathani helps equip and support 32,000 local residents through a food bank, clothes shelf, seniors programming, an affordable housing development and workforce preparation program. Cosmos also partners with the local Seward Community Co-Op to provide nutritious, affordable, well-balanced meals for student sand teachers. 

Acacia Montessori, Apple Valley, MN

Acacia Montessori is located in a suburb of Saint Paul, MN that is a home to a large population of Somali immigrants. Founded by Saido Mohamed and Abdilahi Botan - who immigrated from Somalia by way of the Netherlands, where they were first inspired by Montessori programs. Acacia is committed to serving at least 60% families who qualify for public child care assistance. The preschool incorporates stories, art and music from around the world, with a special focus on Somali culture and language, which has supported students in feeling at home, and to the development of greater independence and confidence.

Loan Portfolio

Apple Valley, MN, USA

Norwood, OH, USA

Minneapolis, MN, USA

Aurora, CO, USA

Asheville, NC, USA

San Diego, CA, USA

Columbus, OH, USA

Fernandina Beach, FL, USA

Belmar, NJ, USA

San Francisco, CA, USA

Cambridge, MA, USA

Dade City, FL, USA

Allenhurst, NJ, USA

Asheville, NC, USA

Newark, NJ, USA

Minneapolis, MN, USA

Aurora, CO, USA

South Bend, IN, USA

Glen Mills, PA, USA

St Paul, MN, USA

Fort Wayne, IN, USA

Cambridge, MA, USA

Reno, NV, USA

Cleveland, OH, USA

Philadelphia, PA, USA

Hollister, CA, USA

Providence, RI, USA

Roxbury, Boston, MA, USA

San Jose, CA, USA

Haverhill, MA, USA

Cambridge, MA, USA

Philadelphia, PA, USA

Denver, CO, USA

Minneapolis, MN, USA

Cambridge, MA, USA

Louisville, KY, USA

Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Buffalo, NY, USA

San Francisco, CA, USA

Sunlight Team

Amy Gips

Loan Fund Manager

Matt Kramer

Wildflower CEO

Kameeka Shirley

Lead Loan Originator

Isabelle Parker

Wildflower CFO

Pooja Pandit

Loan Operations

Fund Administration 

Emmanuel Achinka, CPA

Vice President

Fund Administration

Joshua Talley


Fund Administration Operations

In accordance with federal laws and U.S. Department of the Treasury policy, this organization is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write to:
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Director, Office of Civil Rights and Equal Employement Opportunity

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20220; call (202) 622-1160; or send an e-mail to:

De acuerdo a lo establecido por las leyes federales y las políticas del Departamento del Tesoro esta organización no puede discriminar por causa de raza, color, origen nacional, sexo, edad, o porque una persona tiene impedimentos.


Para presentar una queja sobre discriminación, escriba a:
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Director, Office of Civil Rights and Equal Employement Opportunity

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20220; llame al (202) 622-1160; o envíe un correo electrónico a:

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