(Photo by Flickr user WOCinTech Chat, used under a Creative Commons license)
Entrepreneurs in one local neighborhood are getting some attention from a national funder.
Wells Fargo is investing in three area communities with its $200,000 Diverse Community Capital Grant Award, awarded to First State Community Loan Fund (CLF). The grant will be used to support diverse small business owners in Northeast Wilmington/Riverside plus Pennsylvania’s Chester and Coatesville, with access to capital, coaching and education resources.
“We take diversity very seriously,” said Van Hampton, CEO of First State CLF. “With this additional funding, we will be able to support entrepreneurs in distressed areas and empower them to serve as economic hubs in their communities. There is much work to be done, and the DCC grant allows us to be agents of change and economic growth.”
First State CLF has partnered with nonprofit community development organization Destiny CDC in an effort to help equip community members to, in the words of its Executive Director Azeez Weeks, “become agents of economic change.”
“While there has been a sharp increase in commercial and housing development in the City of Wilmington, there has been a failure to create the imagined sustained economic boom for our neighborhood residents,” said Weeks. “First State CLF continues to do an amazing job of setting business owners up for success. We are so excited to see the fruits of this partnership and look forward to empowering a community of entrepreneurs and business owners to take control of their financial futures.”
In November 2018, the notoriously under-resourced neighborhood of Riverside was designated the 19th Purpose Built Community in the U.S. by the nonprofit Purpose Built Communities. The project includes plans for a new high school, new mixed-income housing and expansions to the Kingswood Community Center.
Members of the target communities can learn more at firststateloan.org.
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