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Craft3 founder leaves legacy of innovation in building community, capital

Founder John Berdes led the innovative lending firm for more than 20 years

After a battle with lung cancer, Founder and CEO of Craft3, John Berdes, passed away on June 12, 2016.

Remembered as a community and thought leader in the world of economic development and financing, Berdes led the organization through more than 20 years of mission-driven investing to strengthen economic, ecological, and community resilience across the region.

Spencer Beebe, Ecotrust founder and executive chairman, said, “John was tireless. He was compassionate but tough, driven by mission but all business, saw the big picture but missed no detail, ambitious but sensible, and usually right, although quick to point out that falling on your face could be called forward progress.”

Craft3 is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) lender that provides loans to businesses, nonprofits and individuals, including those without access to traditional financing.

Founded in 1994 in a partnership between ShoreBank and Ecotrust as “ShoreBank Enterprise Pacific” in the coastal community of Ilwaco, WA, Craft3’s first offices opened in an old cannery building. Since inception, Craft3 has invested more than $380 million in over 4,800 people and businesses in Oregon and Washington.

“ShoreBank Enterprise Pacific was one of the first truly triple bottom line Community Development Financial Institutions in the world,” said Spencer Beebe of Craft3’s origins. “John and his friend Mike Dickerson grew it into Craft3 and made it one of the most successful CDFI’s in North America.”

Adam Zimmerman will remain Acting President and CEO of Craft3.

Tributes to John Berdes can be made to The Harbor resource center in Astoria or Lower Columbia Memorial Hospice via Columbia Memorial Hospital. You can also share memories of John on the Craft3 Facebook page.