Press Release: Grameen America Launches Economic Relief and Recovery Fund for Low-Income, Women Small Business Owners in the Wake of COVID-19
Nonprofit microfinance organization Grameen America today announced that it has launched the Grameen America Economic Relief and Recovery Fund, with the goal of raising $72 million to provide essential capital and support to the low-income women entrepreneurs the organization serves.
“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, low-income communities will continue to be inordinately affected by the financial implications of this crisis,” said Andrea Jung, Grameen America’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Grameen America is at the frontline of poverty alleviation in the United States, providing loan capital, training and support to low-income women entrepreneurs to start or expand their small businesses. The Grameen America Economic Relief and Recovery Fund will play a vital role in the recovery of our members’ businesses by providing essential capital and support during this unprecedented time of need.”
With requirements for non-essential businesses to keep their workforces home, Grameen America members throughout the country running flower shops, hair salons and clothing shops have had to close their doors indefinitely.
A recent national survey of Grameen America’s microloan recipients across 15 U.S. cities found 70% of low-income small businesses have been affected by restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, with 35% of members in the Northeast of the country reporting that someone close to them has been personally impacted by the virus. Consequently, 70% of Grameen America members are concerned meeting financial obligations including rent and other essential bills.
These low-income women entrepreneurs have been left to endure the hardest financial consequences of the current health and economic crisis, in most cases without the resources to access funding initiatives facilitated by the government.
In order to help its members weather unprecedented economic conditions, Grameen America has lowered the interest rate on existing loans to 0%, offered loan extensions to members who are unable to make their weekly repayments, and covered all member costs to digital repayment vendors to support safe, virtual operations. The Grameen America Economic Relief and Recovery Fund will take a further step, giving members, their families and their businesses the critical support they need to emerge from the crisis emboldened by their ingenuity and resiliency.
“Since Grameen America’s inception in 2008 in Jackson Heights, NY during the global financial crisis, we have built an unwavering relationship with our members,” said Ms. Jung. “We understand the unique challenges experienced by small businesses in the face of economic recovery. There is no other organization in the U.S. better placed to lift these underserved communities than Grameen America, as every week of the year we engage with our 52,000 members to provide the capital and support they require to grow their businesses. We seek the participation of like-minded investors to support this vital fund dedicated to the recovery of small businesses led by low-income women, an underserved population which we know is essential to America’s long-term economic revival.”
During this unprecedented time of need, investment from the Grameen America Economic Relief and Recovery Fund will reach underserved women empowering them to rebuild their communities. To learn more about the Grameen America Economic Relief and Recovery Fund in the recovery of small business across the country, click here. To make a contribution to support the Fund directly, click here.
Photo courtesy of Pexels.