A generous $1.5 million grant given to Grameen America is intended to assist black women entrepreneurs with their businesses.
On August 17th, 2021, Grameen America announced that it received this $1.5 million grant from the Truist Foundation. The Truist Foundation is dedicated to funding nonprofits that work with their communities toward better quality of life. They describe their purpose as being “to inspire and build better lives and communities.”
Grameen America Empowers Low-Income Women
Grameen America is a nonprofit aimed at helping low-income women build small businesses, along with other entrepreneurial ventures necessary for this. Founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, the organization provides microloans, training and support to help communities flourish and combat poverty in the United States. They have invested more than $2 billion in women entrepreneurs since their inception in 2008.
Now, the organization is turning its focus specifically to black women. In light of the effect of Covid-19, this demographic has struggled to cope with the additional issues they now have to deal with, in addition to what they already had.
Grant Will Support Black Women Entrepreneurs
In addition to their announcement of receiving the grant, Grameen America has also come out to say that this funding will go to a ten year plan they have planned for black women entrepreneurs. The plan intends to provide $1.3 billion in loans to 80,000 of these entrepreneurs by 2023. This plan allocates loan capital, financial training, and asset and credit building tools to it’s designated recipients.
Grameen America has also explained that the grant will go toward testing programmatic enhancements and community partnerships in select cities. Their continued partnership with Truist will push for these in the geographic areas where Truist does business. The partnership will also target outcomes related to member outreach, recruitment, upfront training, retention, and business and financial education.
“Seed funding from Truist Foundation will play a transformative role in innovating and adapting our model to advance economic independence for Black women entrepreneurs,” said Andrea Jung, president and CEO of Grameen America. “Together we aim to remove systemic barriers in accessing affordable capital for small businesses led by Black women. When we invest in financial equality for all women, we’re in turn strengthening microbusinesses, creating jobs and revitalizing local economies.”
Much-Needed Grants in the Current Climate
This donation and dedication to black women entrepreneurs comes at an excellent time. Data shows that the impact of Covid-19 on black-owned businesses has left them struggling. Between February and April 2020 alone, black owned businesses have declined by 41%. For white business owners, the decline is only 17%.
Although this data does not include a breakdown based on gender, it’s safe to say that black women are struggling. Where sexism and racism intersect, it stands to reason that the numbers for black women owned businesses are smaller than they should be.
Racial disparities that have been exacerbated by Covid-19 leave black owned businesses, especially black women owned businesses, struggling to stay afloat. Donations like this one have a positive impact on the ability for these entrepreneurs to seek help against these issues.
In order to address and work against these inequities, future donations and work from nonprofit organizations can make all the difference. Moreover, efforts like this ensure that black women do not fall to the wayside in the future. The effect of such work can already be seen:
“As a single mother and entrepreneur, my business success means my children will have a better future,” said Ruth, owner of a fashion studio in Harlem. “Having access to capital is everything. Loans from Grameen America allow me to rethink my business goals and focus on expansion.”
Going forward, Grameen America and the Truist Foundation are both expected to stay true to this pledge to help black women in business.