We are fortunate to have long-time partner Bank of America in our corner as we strive to create a truly inclusive financial system. Recent awards of $205,000 from Bank of America will boost our ability to make responsible capital available to underserved small business owners—including women, minorities and low-income entrepreneurs—and meet our ambitious strategic plan goals. During FY2019, Opportunity Fund seeks to originate 3,000 loans and invest $90,000,000 to small business owners unable to access capital from conventional sources.
Through the Tory Burch Foundation, Bank of America awarded Opportunity Fund a grant of $175,000 to help women entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses, enabling us to direct specific funds for this widely underserved population. By referring these clients to Opportunity Fund—further evidence of our strong relationship—Bank of America helped us provide responsible capital to clients like Alejandra, owner of Ale’s Bissu Makeup Store in Corona, CA.
“I had been denied for credit with banks and credit unions, but Opportunity Fund
believed in me and in my dreams." - Alejandra, Bissu Makeup Store
Alejandra was motivated to launch her own small business. Building on her skills as a makeup artist, Alejandra offers quality cosmetics and tools plus excellent customer service at Ale’s Bissu Makeup Store, as well as free makeup tutorial workshops for clients in her Corona neighborhood. “We noticed some clients may not be able to afford classes,” she said. “Our clients are our priority. I’m excited to help people in my community.”
However, Alejandra ran into a snag when she needed a working capital loan to help grow her business. She reached out to AMPAC Tri State CDC in the Inland Empire. As a key community partner of Opportunity Fund, they connected Alejandra to our loan consultant, Adela Escobar. Adela helped close a $10,001 loan for Ale’s Bissu Makeup Store in November 2017, with a reduced rate thanks to our partnership with the Tory Burch Foundation to support women entrepreneurs. The loan helped Alejandra purchase more products for her store and later helped her expand the business by renting a kiosk at a local mall. Together with her staff—her husband Jorge and two other employees—Alejandra is now operating two locations in Corona and keeping up with her pledge to help the community with better access to cosmetics and tutorials.
Alejandra’s goals are growing alongside her business. “I want to provide employment to my community,” she said. “I came to this country from Mexico to stand out and be a successful person. My business has helped me understand my passion of being a businesswoman and helping people. Opportunity Fund will be part of my team for success.”
Bank of America also awarded Opportunity Fund $30,000 in regional grants for our small business lending in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. As a committed funder, Bank of America helps us to make responsible loans available to diverse small business owners in every corner of the state—with a focus on low- and moderate- income, minority and women entrepreneurs—who may become more vulnerable to high-cost alternative lending when conventional loans are out of reach.
Since 1998, Bank of America has awarded Opportunity Fund more than $1.7 million in grants in addition to referring to Opportunity Fund its clients who are unable to qualify for conventional lending. We are grateful to Bank of America for sustaining support of our programs and trust in our mission.