Solidarity Microfinance Receives $300,000 Grant From Bank of America
Solidarity Microfinance today announced a grant from Bank of America that will allow the organization to further invest in Iowans working toward personal financial goals and entrepreneurial expansion through $300,000 in additional funding spanning three years.
Solidarity Microfinance, a non-profit program of Iowa Community Capital, creates economic opportunities through providing small business loans, training and support, and savings services. Recognizing that many Iowans face barriers in the success of their operations, including imperfect credit histories, language barriers, immigration status, and educational background, the program has served over 400 residents, resulting in over 1,400 issued loans.
This newest initiative builds on Bank of America’s ongoing work in Iowa to address the underlying social issues individuals face to gain access to capital and reach economic success, particularly in communities of color, who have been disproportionately impacted by the current health crisis. The grant is also part of the bank’s expanded $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial and ethnic equality, and create economic opportunity.
“Bank of America is devoted to helping build on the achievements of meaningful organizations who create real change in our communities and serve those who may otherwise not have adequate access to financial education and resources,” said Heidi Parkhurst, President, Bank of America Iowa. “This grant will help provide the tools needed for those of all backgrounds who are seeking to start or grow their business.”
The funding will be distributed to clients such as Monica Akuein of Des Moines, who owns and operates a local catering business, sharing the rich traditions of her Sudanese culture through food and celebration. When Akuein immigrated to Iowa in 1998, she saw the need for this type of service in the Des Moines metro and has since participated in various programs offered through Solidarity Microfinance to bring her love of cooking and hospitality to the community. While she says the COVID-19 pandemic has created unavoidable obstacles, her business has continued to build a reliable additional stream of income for her family, thanks in part to the assistance she has received.
“Solidarity Microfinance has given me several opportunities to build revenue from something which was previously only a hobby,” says Akuein. “I cannot say enough positive things about how important it has been to have an approachable source who cares about my success as I continue to embrace my passions.”
Additionally, both Juana Castellanos, owner of a small food business, and Azucena Trujillo, owner Sussy Bienestar y Salud, a nutrition and skin care business. Both entrepreneurs are located in Des Moines and started participating in programs offered by Solidarity Microfinance in 2015.
“After joining Solidarity Microfinance, I was able to buy more equipment, and my business grew by more than 60%,” said Castellanos. “This grant from Bank of America will further help those in my position grow their businesses as well.”
“I was given the opportunity to rent a location and grow my business because of this program,” said Trujillo. “Not only have I been able to expand my education and receive a certificate to offer more services, but I have also gained valuable skills in business administration.”
Solidarity Microfinance provides a supportive and collaborative environment empowering low-income individuals to grow their small businesses and take the first steps toward creating a financially stable future for their families. We provide the tools to help people become small business owners through loans, training, and savings services. Our program and services are based on a high level of trust, respect, and integrity. Solidarity Microfinance is a program of Iowa Community Capital, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.
At Bank of America we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).
For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, register for news email alerts.
Bill Halldin, Bank of America