–Largest Grant Award from U.S. Bank to Accessity —
Nonprofit lender Accessity, dedicated to supporting small businesses with access to capital and resources, was awarded a $750,000 multiyear grant from U.S. Bank Foundation. This funding, designated for general operating support, marks a historic milestone for both Accessity and U.S. Bank Foundation, as it represents the largest grant ever awarded to Accessity by U.S. Bank Foundation.
The funding from U.S. Bank Foundation will be used to help small business owners in Accessity’s six-county Southern California service area improve their financial self-sufficiency through access to funding and educational resources. The organization helps entrepreneurs experiencing challenges accessing capital due to short or non-existent operating histories, past credit challenges, lack of collateral or language barriers.
“U.S. Bank has been a wonderful supporter of Accessity for more than 20 years,” said CEO of Accessity Elizabeth Schott. “This significant contribution will have a transformative impact on our ability to assist small business owners in Southern California. With these funds, we can broaden our reach and extend our services to those who need it most, enabling local entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams and strengthen our local economy.”
The three-year grant will contribute to a diverse and inclusive small business community and primarily help entrepreneurs of color, women, immigrants, and low- to moderate-income individuals.
“This record-breaking award is a testament to our commitment to the growth and prosperity of entrepreneurs in Southern California,” stated Rockette Ewell, California Region Manager, Community Affairs at U.S. Bank. “We look forward to this partnership’s positive impact on the region.”
An example of a small business who benefitted from Accessity’s program and was referred to it by a U.S. Bank banker is Serena Cuevas of Deseo Studios in Chula Vista, Calif.
She started her dance company with only six local dancers performing and teaching classes throughout San Diego County; with her energetic style and focus on the Latin nightclub scene, she quickly expanded internationally with her services. After over a decade in the business of touring and commercial advertisements, she became one of the region’s most sought-after and renowned dance companies. Serena was ready to open her first official dance studio. Still, she lacked the financing to do so.
She went to her U.S. Bank banker, Adolfo Hernandez, for advice. Adolfo referred her to Accessity, which provided her with an $8,000 loan to cover rent and marketing expenses. With the loan, Serena could hire a new staff member and maintain 11 other youth and adult instructor jobs. Today, her business is thriving, and Serena continues to teach classes and host private events for youth and seniors, as well as rent the venue for weddings and birthday parties.
This year marks her 15th year of business in San Diego. She celebrated with a gala anniversary event on Saturday, Aug. 19, featuring a professional and youth showcase, followed by a dinner and gala at her spacious studio location in Otay Ranch Town Center in Chula Vista. To learn more, visit deseostudios.com.
In 2022, Accessity disbursed over $9 million to 249 small businesses in Southern California, which helped create and/or maintain over 670 jobs. For more information about Accessity and its programs, visit accessity.org.
CONTACT: Suzanne Carlson, email@example.com
Accessity is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution organization that provides economic opportunity to entrepreneurs through access to small business loans from $300 to $100,000 and a community of support and resources in Southern California. Accessity’s mission is to open doors of financial opportunity to those with historically less access to capital and business support: entrepreneurs of color, women, immigrants, and low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs, so they can build prosperous businesses and livelihoods for themselves and their families, while also strengthening communities. Since 1994, the organization has provided approximately $75 million in loans to small business owners, assisting them in starting, expanding, building self-sufficiency, and supporting the local employment and economy. For more information, visit accessity.org.