$13 million in funding to CDFIs supports women of color-owned micro businesses

Part of the U.S. Bank Access Fund supporting more than 30,000 microbusinesses.

U.S. Bank today announced the close of $13 million in funding to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) as part of its previously announced U.S. Bank Access Fund – a fund for women of color microbusiness owners.

The CDFIs are members of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, one of three organizations U.S. Bank is partnering with to deploy the $25 million fund, which includes both capital and grants through U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC) and the U.S. Bank Foundation over three years. The U.S. Bank Access Fund will support more than 30,000 women of color-owned microbusiness owners over three years, prioritizing Black women business owners. Microbusinesses, defined as having 10 or fewer employees, led by women of color are some of the fastest growing in the country, yet face tremendous barriers.

“We’re excited to achieve this next milestone for the U.S. Bank Access Fund – deploying capital to CDFIs, which are best positioned to get it in the hands of women of color who own microbusiness in communities across the country,” said Zack Boyers, USBCDC president and chief executive officer. “These women are more likely to face barriers in accessing flexible, affordable capital and that keeps them from growing their businesses and creating jobs in their communities.”

Nine Alliance-member CDFIs received a portion of the $13 million in capital. These organizations play a critical role in bringing investment and resources to underserved communities, and to those who may not be eligible for traditional small business financing. Historically Black organizations also tend to have a deeper understanding of where and why resource gaps exist within Black communities and how to close those gaps. The CDFIs represent a broad geography and include several CDFIs that lend nationally.  

“If the end goal is to empower and build wealth in historically marginalized communities, then the relevant criteria are factors like location, approachability, relationships, local insights and trust. That’s exactly what CDFIs – including Black-led CDFIs – offer,” said Donna Gambrell, Alliance board chair. “The financial services industry has only recently started to focus more on equity and justice, while Black-led CDFIs have been focusing on this since their inception.”

Women of color business owners interested in learning more can contact the CDFIs directly, including:

In addition to capital, USBCDC also provided $900,000 in grants to the Alliance, which it distributed to the CDFIs above as well as to Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative (Cincinnati, Ohio); Institute/NC Community Development Initiatives (Durham, North Carolina); Legacy Redevelopment Corp. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin); Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Corporation (Los Angeles, California); and People Trust Community Loan Fund (Little Rock, Arkansas). The grants will support operating capacity for each organization.

Grameen America and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) are two other partners in the U.S. Bank Access Fund. They are supporting women of color business owners in other ways, intended to address additional key barriers to success – lack of technical assistance, mentorship and networking opportunities. Grameen America and LISC are hosting webinars with business owners and partners led by senior leaders on topics like budgeting, access to capital, and effective marketing and storytelling.  Grameen America also received a portion of this $13 million in capital.

U.S. Bank Access Fund includes $20 million in USBCDC debt capital and $5 million in U.S. Bank Foundation and USBCDC grants over three years and focuses on creating systemic change by ensuring both CDFIs and microbusiness owners have the support and capital they need to be successful. The fund is part of U.S. Bank Access Commitment, the company’s long-term approach to help build wealth while redefining how the bank serves racially diverse communities and provides more opportunities for diverse employees.

U.S. Bank has helped ensure that more than $500 million in capital was available for CDFIs and their customers, most of that in the last five years.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *