Funds Directed to Organizations Serving Small Businesses Owned by People of Color and Households Most Impacted by COVID-19
The Citi Foundation today named 30 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that will collectively receive $15 million to support their efforts to provide small businesses with the vital resources needed to sustain their operations and support economically vulnerable households impacted by COVID-19. The CDFIs, which will each receive $500,000 in unrestricted funding, were selected through an open Request for Proposals application process based on their strong track record of serving small businesses owned by people of color and underserved individuals and communities.
“The disparate economic impacts of COVID-19 and systemic racial inequity reinforce the need for financial institutions of all sizes to work together to support communities of color in more effective ways,” said Brandee McHale, Head of Community Investing and Development and President of Citi Foundation. “By investing – and trusting – in these change agents on the frontlines, we’re helping these organizations to pivot, adjust and expand to address evolving needs and meet clients where they are.”
The $15 million fund was deployed by the Citi Foundation from initial net proceeds donated by Citi through its participation in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This funding is a component of Citi and Citi Foundation’s more than $100 million provided to date in support of COVID-19-related community relief and economic recovery efforts globally.
“The global pandemic has exponentially increased the demand on CDFIs across the country to provide critical financial support to small businesses and communities of color,” said Calvin L. Holmes, President, Chicago Community Loan Fund. “The support from Citi Foundation is furnishing and emboldening CDFIs like ours with the flexibility we need to advance our work with these communities during a time of great crisis.”
“Citi Foundation’s funding has made it possible for us to continue our work in providing credit and services to small businesses and entrepreneurs who do not have access to loans from traditional commercial sources,” said Janie Barrera, President & CEO of LiftFund. “This latest endorsement of our work gives us the freedom and the opportunity to address local community needs without limitations.”
The following organizations have been selected to receive Citi Foundation funding:
- Chicanos Por La Causa: Helps individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency by providing affordable access to housing, healthcare, education, work, small business support and financing
- Raza Development Fund: Serves low-income households and Latino communities by providing capital and technical assistance to small businesses owned by women and minorities that do not have access to traditional banking services
- Access Plus Capital: Provides affordable financing and business advisory services to small businesses and entrepreneurs of color in central California who are helping to create jobs in underserved communities
- Accion Opportunity Fund: Serves diverse entrepreneurs and communities across the country by providing affordable capital and personalized support
- Accion Serving Southern California: Provides economic opportunity for low- to moderate-income business owners who lack access to traditional sources of credit
- AmPac Business Capital: Finances small businesses at all stages of growth to promote economic development and job creation in low- and moderate-income communities across the Inland Empire
- Mission Asset Fund: Helps immigrant and low-income communities to rebuild and recover with zero-interest small business loans
- Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services: Creates innovative housing and economic solutions to help underserved small businesses grow and create more living wage jobs for low-income families
- Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation: Supports underserved communities by providing loans and counseling to minority small business owners
- True Access Capital: Educates and empowers business owners and entrepreneurs by augmenting technical expertise, increasing access to capital and stimulating business growth through Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania
District of Columbia
- City First Enterprises: Provides capital to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs and small business owners in the D.C. region, and works with public and corporate partners to build financial resiliency for small businesses
- Washington Area Community Investment Fund: Increases equity and economic opportunity in underserved D.C. area communities by providing capital and advisory services to low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs
- Capital Good Fund: Provides equitable loans to lower-income families for a variety of key needs
- Central County Community Development Corporation: Advances business growth, as a subsidiary of the Urban League of Broward County, through the provision of flexible capital solutions and technical support for minority entrepreneurs and small businesses across Florida
- Chicago Community Loan Fund: Serves small businesses owned by people of color and low-income individuals by providing grants, low-interest relief loans and technical assistance
- IFF: Advances the recovery and long-term resiliency of nonprofit organizations in order to preserve jobs, services and assets in low-income communities across the Midwest
- FSC First: Provides direct loans and grants to minority-owned small businesses, including Black and Latinx small business owners
- Justine PETERSEN: Provides affordable capital, loans, credit building products and financial education to minority-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs
· Accompany Capital: Provides microloans, emergency grants and one-on-one counseling to small businesses owned by refugees, immigrants and people of color, as well as low- to moderate-income individuals impacted by COVID-19
· BOC Capital Corp: Serves Black and Latinx entrepreneurs across the NYC Metropolitan area by disbursing COVID-19 relief loans
· Greater Jamaica Development Corporation: Serves minority entrepreneurs across Queens, NY by providing technical assistance and accessible loan products
· Grow Brooklyn Inc.: Serves small businesses and low-income families in Brooklyn, NY through counseling, technical assistance and legal services alongside its CDFI affiliate Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union
· Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners: Supports minority- and women-owned small businesses and low-income workers in NYC by providing financial coaching and affordable financial products in partnership with its CDFI affiliate, Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union
· PathStone Enterprise Center: Provides disaster relief and recovery services to underserved and minority-owned small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and the earthquakes in Puerto Rico
· TruFund: Serves small businesses owned by women and people of color by providing affordable, flexible financing and customized support services
- Four Bands Community Fund: Delivers programming aimed at building financial capability and greater access to capital for Native Americans across the state of South Dakota
- Lakota Funds: Provides loan capital and technical assistance for businesses owned by tribal members across the Pine Ridge Reservation
- LiftFund: Provides capital and services to small businesses and entrepreneurs across Texas who do not have access to loans from traditional sources
- National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders: Serves ethnically diverse Latinx communities in 40 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico to promote economic mobility, providing grants and low-cost loans to support small businesses owned by people of color
- PeopleFund: Creates economic mobility and financial stability for underserved communities by providing access to capital, education and other resources to build small businesses
San Bernardino’s Chem-Pak Ushers in New Era: A Legacy Continues with Fresh Leadership
Under new ownership by Eric L. Goodman, San Bernardino’s long-standing Chem-Pak embarks on an expansive journey, building upon its 36-year legacy of community and industry service.
Terry Goodman, owner of Chem-Pak, recently announced his retirement, marking the end of a remarkable journey in the industrial supply industry. Starting as a one-man operation 36 years ago, Goodman transformed Chem-Pak into a business with multiple offices and approximately 15 employees.
In the late 1980s, Goodman was a sales representative for Easterday Janitorial Supply Company near Norton Air Force Base. When the company shut down its San Bernardino office, Goodman, a Highland resident, opted to start his venture rather than commute to Los Angeles. He sought support from his customers, laying the foundation for what Chem-Pak is today.
“I never aspired to have numerous employees. My goal was to build a team that enjoyed a good living without feeling drained at day’s end,” Goodman explained. “Having experienced ‘Corporate America,’ where successful territories are often split to limit earnings or, conversely, underperformers are let go, I wanted to follow a different path.”
Many of Chem-Pak’s team members have been with the company for 20 to 30 years, a testament to the familial and collaborative environment Goodman cultivated. “I’ve always viewed my team not just as employees but as equal partners in this journey. There’s nothing in this company that I haven’t done myself. When a few team members were out with COVID recently, I didn’t hesitate to help with deliveries. Our customers’ needs come first,” he said.
Pablo Carbajal, manager of the San Bernardino store for 22 years, shares his commitment to Chem-Pak. “Despite numerous job offers over the years, this is where I belong. Goodman’s mentorship taught me everything from equipment knowledge to customer service, shaping my understanding of the business world,” Carbajal expressed.
Richard Bowman, a contract employee for about 30 years, also praised the company’s ethos. “Working for Chem-Pak has been empowering. It’s akin to finding a golden opportunity.”
Goodman recalls landing major accounts, including Carl’s Jr. and Stater Bros, as career highlights. However, the COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges. “During the pandemic, our business boomed, particularly for hand sanitizer and toilet paper. We had to adapt quickly to the surging demand and the evolving ‘new normal’ of a post-pandemic economy,” he recounted.
Goodman’s work ethic dates back to his teenage years, starting with a part-time job at a gas station and later at McMahan’s furniture warehouse. He emphasizes the importance of networking and real-world experience for young people. “I often speak at career days in San Bernardino schools to offer students firsthand insights into the workforce, beyond what they hear from peers or parents,” he said.
Looking forward, Goodman plans to travel and engage in volunteer work, confident in leaving Chem-Pak in capable hands with family members and experienced employees at the helm.
Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Hawaii Chamber as Honorary Global Member
Empowering Future Generations: IERCC and Chamber of Commerce Hawaii Forge Partnership for Youth Development
In a landmark meeting that signifies the growing collaboration between regional chambers of commerce, the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC) proudly welcomed the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii as an Honorary Global Member. This momentous occasion was marked by a ceremonial presentation led by Eddy Sumar, MBA, CCE, CICE, a distinguished member and Chair of the Education and Youth Skills Development Liaison at IERCC.
Eddy Sumar, renowned for his passionate advocacy for youth education and skill development, met with Sherry Menor-McNamara, CCE, President & CEO, and Tyler Hunt, Associate Vice President of Membership Services, of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. The meeting was not just a formal presentation but also an opportunity to share the innovative approaches IERCC is employing to champion youth development.
In a unique and inspiring gesture, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii representatives were introduced to IERCC’s youth initiatives through a trilogy of educational books authored by Eddy Sumar himself. These books – “A Treasure Hunt With OTIS,” “The Hidden Dreams,” and “The Cutting Edge” – are a testament to Sumar’s dedication to empowering the youth. Each book addresses critical areas of youth development:
- “A Treasure Hunt With OTIS” provides wisdom to guide young lives.
- “The Hidden Dreams” unlocks the potential of identifying and pursuing youthful aspirations.
- “The Cutting Edge” offers vital insights into understanding credit and financial literacy.
Edward Ornelas, Jr., President & CEO of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, expressed his enthusiasm for this new partnership, stating, “This collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii represents a significant step in our ongoing commitment to foster the leaders of tomorrow. By combining our resources and expertise, we can more effectively prepare our youth for the dynamic world they will inherit. Our shared vision for youth development and education is the cornerstone of this partnership.”
The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii expressed its enthusiasm for the collaboration, recognizing the value of the resources provided by IERCC. This partnership is a significant step towards a shared goal of fostering a brighter future for youth through education, skill development, and empowerment.
The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce is enthusiastically developing plans to launch a summer internship program exclusively for students from the Inland Empire, offering them the opportunity to travel to Hawaii for this enriching experience. This initiative, which stems from the IERCC’s recent collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, is focused on providing Inland Empire students with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the diverse business and cultural environment of Hawaii. The program aims to equip these students with invaluable hands-on experience in various industries, enhancing their skills and broadening their perspectives. This visionary approach underscores the IERCC’s dedication to fostering the professional and personal growth of its youth, preparing them for successful careers in an increasingly interconnected world.
The IERCC is committed to continuing these collaborative efforts and looks forward to a fruitful and impactful partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, collectively striving to nurture the leaders of tomorrow.
Corona Factory Files Landmark Trade Secret Lawsuit in New Hampshire Federal Court
Leading Private Label Company Alleges Massive Data Breach by SGS North America, Inc., Threatening Millions in Investment and Profits
Amid a surge of corporate theft nationwide, U.S. Continental Marketing, Inc. has initiated trade secret litigation against SGS North America, Inc. alleging misappropriation of proprietary and confidential chemical formulations that may cost U.S. Continental millions of dollars.
The largest private label leather and fabric care company in the world, U.S. Continental operates out of a 100,000 square foot factory in Corona, California, and partners with popular footwear, fashion, and furniture brands such as Birkenstock, Timberland, and Michael Kors to develop a range of products. The company provides commercial packaging solutions as well.
In its complaint filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, U.S. Continental alleges that earlier this year, it spent millions to develop five unique and secret chemical formulations for an unnamed customer for use on branded textiles. Those formulas were sent to SGS North America for independent testing. David Williams, U.S. Continental’s President, explains, “Leading up to its testing, we made very clear to SGS that the confidentiality of any and all information about our formulations was critical. Third parties, and even our customers, could not be privy to our proprietary data and SGS knew that.”
Williams added, “To put a finer point on the sensitivity of the formulations in question, we negotiated an ironclad NDA with SGS, which it signed, promising not to disclose confidential information related to our formulations to anyone without written approval.”
U.S. Continental’s complaint alleges that despite its assurances, SGS twice sent detailed, unredacted testing reports directly to the customer in August, revealing specifics about the chemical formulations SGS promised to keep under wraps.
According to Williams, “By virtue of SGS’s indiscretion, which one of its Vice Presidents cavalierly claimed was a ‘mistake,’ our customer was sent all the information it needed to manufacture essential chemical formulations on its own. That puts at risk the $2 million we invested in R&D, along with another $20 million or so in profits from our manufacturing agreement with the customer. It only gets worse from there if SGS discloses our proprietary information—which it refuses to return—to any others.”
Jeffrey Farrow, a partner at Michelman & Robinson, LLP, which represents U.S. Continental along with local counsel in New Hampshire, says, “It’s beyond crucial that trade secrets, like my client’s chemical formulations, be carefully safeguarded. By failing to do so, SGS breached its NDA—a breach that continues given that the data at issue has yet to be returned despite multiple requests from U.S. Continental. This is simply unacceptable and through this lawsuit, we want SGS to know that its unlawful disclosure of trade secrets, and unlawful retention of them, won’t go unchecked.”
The lawsuit is currently pending and U.S. Continental is awaiting a response from SGS.
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