Rick Larson is Director of Sustainable Ventures for The Conservation Fund (TCF www.conservationfund.org), a national non-profit with a unique dual mission of land & water conservation and economic development. Based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Mr. Larson serves as NC Program Director of Natural Capital Investment Fund (www.ncifund.org), a TCF affiliate and CDFI that provides subordinated debt and equity to companies that promote and practice the sustainable use of natural resources. He is leading the launch of ShadeFund™, a peer-to-peer web-based microlending platform for domestic green & forest-related small businesses.
Prior to joining TCF, Mr. Larson was Managing Director for SJF Ventures, LP, a $45 million mission-driven venture capital fund with offices in Durham, NC and New York, NY. A member of the Fund’s Investment Committee, he sourced, conducted due diligence on, and structured equity and subordinated debt investments in high-growth companies with social and environmental impacts. He served on the Board of Directors of Ryla Teleservices, Inc. and B.B. Hobbs, Inc. and as liaison to other portfolio companies. His other professional experience includes twelve years as Executive Director of REAL Enterprises, a non-profit social venture that provides entrepreneurship curriculum, training and support to secondary and post-secondary instructors nationwide. He also worked in financial and shop floor supervisory positions in manufacturing for the Cummins Engine Company.
Currently, Rick is a Director of FairTrade USA, the certifier of Fair Trade products in the US, where he chairs the Nominating Committee. He is the author of the case “TransFair USA in 2006: How to Finance Growth?” (2009), and the decision brief “Partners for the Common Good & FirstBook Marketplace” (2008). Rick has served as an evaluator and judge for numerous social venture competitions, including the Yale SOM – Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures and the Duke Fuqua School of Business Start-Up Challenge Social Entrepreneurship Track.
He is a graduate of the NASBIC Venture Capital Institute and earned a B.A. in French & History from Amherst College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Rick enjoys living in Durham, NC with his wife Gair McCullough and sons Justin and David. He works with wood and refinishes furniture, and loves to ski and play tennis.