In celebration of National Small Business Week, Sam's Club and the Sam's Club Giving Program have announced grants totaling $13.6 million to eight nonprofit organizations working to provide access to capital to underserved small business owners, including women, minorities, and veterans.
The inaugural grants in the national retailer's five-year Small Business Economic Mobility initiative are intended to address the many obstacles faced by small business owners in low- to moderate-income communities when trying to secure an affordable loan. The grants include $1.8 million to Accion U.S. Network in support of efforts to develop and improve an online lending and financial education platform targeted to new small business owners seeking capital; $2.5 million to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity to expand its cross-sector collaborations and bring innovative solutions to community and nonprofit lenders that increase the flow of capital to underserved small business owners; and $450,000 to the Aspen Institute in support of an applied research and learning process designed to increase the use and sustainability of shared platforms in the microenterprise industry and advance the development of its FIELDmicroTrackerdata platform.
Additional grant recipients include the Community Reinvestment Fund, which was awarded $500,000 for an online lending platform that streamlines the Small Business Administration government-guaranteed loan process; the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders, which will receive $2 million to provide local Latino-serving nonprofit small business development agencies and lenders in nineteen states and the District of Columbia with subgrants, training, and technical assistance; the Opportunity Fund, which was awarded $750,000 to scale access to affordable loans for California-based small businesses; the Valley Economic Development Center, which will receive $2 million to serve as a loan loss reserve and unlock $20 million in funds for micro- and small-business loans; and the Opportunity Finance Network, which was awarded $3.6 million to raise awareness of t and educate small business borrowers about predatory lending.
"Our founder Sam Walton started Sam's Club to help small businesses get access to big business savings, save money and grow their businesses as a result," said Sam's Club president and CEO Rosalind Brewer. "Through this philanthropic investment, our founders' legacy is carried forward by fortifying our communities' lending resources to increase access to capital and borrower education for small business owners. In collaboration with dedicated nonprofits, we are proud to open doors for small business and strengthen the backbone of the U.S. economy."