On the menu: Authentic tortillas and jobs

Community development investing |

How Praxis is helping one family make a difference for itself and others

Jose and Noemi Payan had one simple dream: to make fresh tortillas for everyone and have a business of their own. And with a little community development investing help, they’ve managed to turn that simple dream into a growing venture – for themselves, and for generations to come.

Payan family

What started out as a simple dream has turned into a growing business for the Payan family.

Jose (a first-generation immigrant from Mexico) and Noemi (originally from Puerto Rico) were working two jobs and raising a family when they decided to start their small, family owned tortilla business. Before they knew it, they had more orders than they could handle – and in need of additional employees and a bigger facility.

The Payans had a difficult time trying to secure conventional financing through banks. That’s when they were referred to Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), which provided funds for Jose and Noemi’s new space and equipment in 2006.

In the 10-plus years since the Payans received funding from CRF, their business – now named Tortilleria La Perla – has expanded even further, with a staff of 45 intercultural employees. And it’s a true family venture, with five of Joe and Noemi’s children (plus some extended family members) working full time in the business.

With this growth, Jose and Noemi decided to add a new product line of low-fat and flavored tortillas. In addition, they needed a technology upgrade to modernize their manufacturing process, advance efficiency and reduce waste while remaining in the low-income community that encouraged their start-up. In order to accomplish this next phase, the Payans again received a loan from CRF (this time for $915,000), with help from the Neighborhood Development Center and the Ours to Own Twin Cities Initiative.

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, CRF offers innovative financial solutions to empower people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities. It provides small business loans for people living in underserved communities, so they can grow businesses, create and preserve jobs, become more energy efficient and improve cash flow.

Praxis Mutual Funds® supports programs and projects like CRF through investments in Calvert Foundation, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1 percent of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments. 

For more stories about people who have benefitted from these investments, visit Praxis Community Development Investments. Read the original story about the Payans.

About Praxis Mutual Funds and Everence®

Praxis Mutual Funds is a leading faith-based, socially responsible family of mutual funds designed to help people and groups integrate their finances with their values. Praxis is the mutual fund family of Everence Financial, a comprehensive faith-based financial services organization helping individuals, organizations and congregations. To learn more, visit praxismutualfunds.com and everence.com, or call (800) 348-7468.

Everence helps individuals, organizations and congregations integrate finances with faith through a national team of advisors and representatives. Everence offers banking, insurance and financial services with community benefits and stewardship education. To learn more, visit everence.com or call (800) 348-7468.

About Calvert Foundation

Calvert Foundation enables people to invest for social good. Through its flagship Community Investment Note®, more than 15,000 investors have channeled more than $1 billion in investments to hundreds of nonprofits and social enterprises worldwide. Investor dollars empower women, fund the construction of affordable housing, provide loans to small-business owners, increase access to health care, and support fair trade and sustainable agriculture. To learn more, visit calvertfoundation.org.

Author Everence staff


Foreside Financial Services, LLC is not affiliated with Calvert Foundation.

Calvert Social Investment Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, offers the Community Investment Note®, which is subject to certain risks, is not a mutual fund, is not FDIC or SIPC insured, and should not be confused with any Calvert Investments-sponsored investment product. This is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy these securities; the offering is made only by the prospectus, which should be read before investing.