Today, CommunityWorks announced it has received a $500,000 Grow with Google Small Business Fund loan and a $250,000 Google.org-funded grant from Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a leading network for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). The grant will help CommunityWorks better serve minority-owned small businesses throughout South Carolina.
The Grow with Google Small business Fund loan and grant supports CommunityWorks’ mission of building brighter futures for under-resourced families and communities. CDFIs are lenders with a mission to serve small businesses underserved by mainstream finance and a proven model for moving capital into the hardest to serve communities.
As a South Carolina CDFI, our programs include small and micro business lending, affordable housing and community lending, downpayment assistance lending, consumer lending, financial and business coaching, and entrepreneur services through our SBA funded Women’s Business Center. With a particular focus on serving minorities, 65 percent of our clients are African American and 68 percent are women. OFN and Google’s continued partnership will allow us to better serve communities that have been traditionally underserved and underrepresented.
In March 2020, Google.org made a $5 million grant to OFN to enable OFN’s member CDFIs, like CommunityWorks, to improve access to capital for the most marginalized communities. The unrestricted grants can support operations, loan capital, loan loss reserve, capacity building, or any other purpose.
At the same time, OFN and Google announced the Grow with Google Small Business Fund, which delivers financing to CDFIs that are supporting the short-term recovery and long-term financing needs of America’s small businesses hardest hit by COVID-19.
In June 2020, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced an additional $45 million in loans for the Fund to assist Black-owned small businesses and $5 million more in Google.org grants. In total, Google has now committed $170 million in loans and $10 million in Google.org grants. CommunityWorks is one of a growing list of CDFIs to received Google.org grants or Grow with Google Small Business Fund loans.
“CommunityWorks has been a part of the OFN family for many years, and we are grateful for the opportunities, including this newfound partnership with Google that they have provided,” said Tammie Hoy Hawkins, CEO of CommunityWorks. “The Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Google.org grant will support our clients and help us reach more small businesses in a time when they need it most.”
There are more than 1,100 CDFIs working in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. OFN’s more than 300 members serve 58% people of color, 85% low-income, 26% rural, and 48% women (OFN Annual Member Survey, 2018). Nationwide, the CDFI industry manages more than $222 billion.