ANCHORAGE, AK – Coastal Villages Region Fund’s (CVRF) People Propel™ Program was launched in 2013 and has helped hundreds of people acquire newer, safer, and more efficient boats, motors, and other gear. Back by popular demand, the application period for Round 2 of the program closed in January of this year and approved applicants are preparing to take delivery of their ordered equipment.

Coastal’s People Propel™ program offers low-cost (40 percent discount off retail) safety gear, boats, outboards, nets, etc and low-cost loans to residents of its 20 member communities. 282 People Propel™ Round 2 applications were recently approved. 267 of the approved applicants were also approved for $1.5 million in loans from CVRF. The remainder of the approved applicants either obtained third party financing or paid the 40 percent discounted price in full. 101 of the 282 recipients are active commercial fishers in CVRF’s in-region salmon, halibut, and herring fisheries.

Round 2 of Coastal’s People Propel™ Program is pushing 97 boats, 198 outboards, 105 commercial fishing nets and 55 marine safety kits into CVRF’s member communities at a fraction of the retail cost. The equipment and supplies will be delivered this spring to each respective CVRF community as soon as the barges begin arriving in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region.

Due to the high demand from qualified loan applicants, the CVRF Board of Directors increased the initial loan authority from $1 million to $1.5 million. Coastal is covering $1.2 million of the $3 million total cost, as well as financing $1.5 million in loans. CVRF is using bulk purchasing power and direct subsidization from our Bering Sea operations to subsidize the purchase and delivery of these boats, outboards, nets and safety kits to our residents at about 60% of the cost they would otherwise pay.

Each application was reviewed in an unbiased manner by a selection committee and ranked according to financial strength with the names left out of the review process. Each approved applicant was required to make a minimum 10% down payment before the transaction moved forward.

“I am very happy that I have bought a boat through Coastal’s People Propel™ Program,” said Paul Nukusuk of Hooper Bay. “I already have plans to go for boat rides with all my grandchildren and also to use the boat for subsistence activities throughout the year. Quyana CVRF.”

During Round 1 of the People Propel™ Program, Coastal approved 226 of the 423 applications submitted. The recipients purchased 151 outboards, 43 boats, and 20 nets through the program at the same substantial discount. $1.5 million in loans were made to 203 residents – most of which have kept up with their payments. For the few who fell behind on their payments, CVRF received commitments to catch up on payments.

“Residents who received loans from CVRF need to commit to making regular agreed-upon payments, said CVRF Products and Services Manager Bob Marquez. “We want to avoid having to repossess items from people who fall behind. The long-term continuation of this program falls on the shoulders of residents who have gotten the opportunity to participate already and need to pay off their loan balances with CVRF.”

“Our residents are very excited to be saving a lot of money,” said George Smith, CVRF Regional Manager from Scammon Bay. “In many cases the cost to ship these items to Western Alaska is equal to or greater than the retail price. We face higher prices for gas, heating oil, transportation and other living costs each and every day. This program is very well received by our communities.”

“CVRF created this program because we place a very high value on the safety of our people,” said CVRF Executive Director Morgen Crow. “The high demand for this program is telling of the needs of the people we serve. We can do so much more when the CDQ allocations from the Bering Sea are allocated fairly and based on population.”

“The People Propel™ Program has been very popular, and we are pleased to offer a second round this year,” said CVRF Board Treasurer Evan S. Evan. “The residents we serve have a high need for new and safer equipment. We lost residents in Goodnews Bay and it is one of my priorities to make it safer for our residents to boat and fish in this area.”

# # #

CVRF is a 501(c)(4) Alaska non-profit corporation whose 20 member villages are along the west coast of Alaska from Scammon Bay to Platinum. CVRF is believed to be the largest Alaskan-owned seafood company in history and is governed by a 20-member Board of Directors elected by the residents of its 20 member communities. CVRF is dedicated to providing economic development in its 20 member communities by creating sensible, tangible and long-term opportunities that generate Hope for residents who want to Fish and Work. CVRF is the largest jobs provider in its member villages and is the first CDQ group to own and control the vessels that harvest its CDQ allocations.

For more information, visit www.coastalvillages.org or contact Dawson Hoover at 907-278-5151. Please visit CVRF’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CoastalVillagesRegionFund and Coastal’s Twitter page at www.twitter.com/CoastalVillages.