Three Roots raised $33.7 million from six bank partners in 2022

In 2022, Three Roots Capital raised $33.7 million from six bank partners, making it one of the organization’s most successful fundraising years to date. With these funds, Three Roots is better positioned to support companies and projects in low-and-moderate income and rural communities throughout the greater East Tennessee region.

“Sometimes you get so busy working that you forget to look up and reflect on the progress you have made. 2022 was a really big year for us,” said Grady Vanderhoofven, president, founder and CEO. “This additional $33.7 million is especially significant in light of broad economic uncertainty and the rising interest rates we all experienced last year.”

Three Roots forged new relationships with Regions, Truist Bank, Coffee County Bank, and First Bank & Trust and raised additional funds from existing bank partners, Pinnacle Bank and CBBC Bank. One of the first new community partnerships formalized in 2022 was with Regions.

“Regions is proud to work with Three Roots Capital in strategically deploying resources to communities that need them the most,” said Rob Stivers, market executive, Regions. “This directly complements our long-term focus on creating more inclusive prosperity in East Tennessee. Grady and the rest of the staff have done a fantastic job educating banks and the broader financial community about the importance of having a viable CDFI in today’s market.”

For Truist, partnering with CDFIs helps their community development managers and regional leadership meet the unique needs of the communities in which they operate. More than just connecting capital with people and projects, Three Roots also offers essential business coaching and wraparound services that help businesses grow and thrive.

“Truist’s partnership with Three Roots Capital is an example of our purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities,” said Lauren Butler, Community Development Financing Initiative Relationship Manager at Truist.  “Our investment with Three Roots provides much needed resources to support the needs of businesses and projects in the greater East Tennessee region. It’s a great partnership focused on growth in the community.”

Looking ahead, Three Roots will focus the additional funds on projects and companies in low-and-moderate income areas. With the funds from Truist, Three Roots seeks to emphasize the deployment of capital to minority-owned and controlled businesses and affordable/workforce housing projects.  With the funds from CBBC, Three Roots will support specific projects and opportunities at the University of Tennessee Research Park.

Three Roots Staff Spotlight: Jeff Ault

“I’m constantly amazed at the creative way that Three Roots Capital works with its clients,” said Three Roots Capital’s Controller Jeff Ault. “It’s not a cookie-cutter approach.”

Three Roots welcomed Ault to the team in 2021. With a 32-year-long accounting career at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he brought an unparalleled level of expertise to Three Roots’ financial operations.

“You either really like accounting or you don’t. Thankfully, I enjoy it. It’s like putting a big puzzle together,” said Ault. “I’ve been able to do so many things with my accounting degree. I did work in public accounting for several years, but what it allowed me to do was learn a lot about how businesses work.”

During his career, Ault held many positions, including internal auditor, Director of the Logistical Services Division and Chief Financial Officer of UT-Battelle Development Corporation. He is most proud of his work implementing two major business systems for accounting and human resources at ORNL.

“I felt like I got to leave my fingerprints on a lot of things that are still in use today,” said Ault. “There is a certain amount of professional satisfaction that comes from knowing the Lab is still using at least two of those big systems that I was heavily involved in implementing.”

In his last 10 years at ORNL, he got involved with the lab’s mentorship program, where he paired up with employees who were early in their careers. He found the work meaningful and that it aligned with his mission to help others recognize, improve and use their talents to help themselves and the organizations they work for.

“I enjoy helping people be the best they can be at whatever they’re doing at the time,” said Ault.

It was this drive to help others that brought him to work at Three Roots. He reached a point in his career where he was considering retirement, but as his wife would say, he “failed retirement miserably” by leaving ORNL one day and starting work at Three Roots the following week.

“If I was going to go back to work after retiring, I wanted to do something with a small company and an organization that was contributing to the community,” said Ault. “I was intrigued by how Three Roots helps businesses solve problems and grow. Businesses need money to operate and good advice. Our team does a good job at listening to what our clients need.”

Three Roots was extremely deliberate in bolstering its in-house accounting services. Instead of posting the open position online or using a job service or recruiting firm, the team connected with Ault through their professional network.

“Three Roots was – and is still – growing our capacity and capabilities,” said Grady Vanderhoofven, founder, president and CEO. “Jeff was the perfect fit for this position. He has extensive, relevant experience that allows Three Roots to expand its resources and expertise for our clients and partners. In addition, he is a pleasure to work with and a great fit with our team.”