Legal-name: Grameen America, Inc.
Address: 150 W 30th Street, 8th Floor
City: New York
Officer: Andrea Jung, President & CEO
ContactName: Jeffrey Nadler
Title: Senior Director, Institutional Giving
Tel-952: (718) 704-0395
GrantPurpose: To support our microlending program and its role in the relief and recovery of women-owned small businesses in Long Beach.
Audienceserved: low-income, women, small business owners
Demoofaudience: age 18+, minority, primarily immigrant, low-income
District: All districts
1. What disaster recovery service have already been provided? : Grameen America provides affordable microloans, training and support to women entrepreneurs living in poverty. We serve low-income, primarily minority and immigrant women who have limited opportunities for upward mobility outside of their businesses. Since opening or first branch in L.A. in 2012, we have served over 13,000 women with over $110M in microloans. Our newest branch in Long Beach opened in September 2019.
To protect the health and safety of our staff and members, we transitioned our program – much of which used to be conducted in person – to operate with remote systems and procedures. As of Monday, March 16th, all loan repayments, disbursements and meetings are conducted remotely.
Having taken measures to protect the safety of our staff and members, we now find ourselves charged with the crucial task of helping small business owners survive this period of enormous economic disruption. In the wake of the stay-at-home advisory and closure of nonessential businesses in Long Beach, we fear that the low-income women entrepreneurs we serve will suffer the hardest financial consequences. The revenue they earn from their businesses has drastically decreased, and many have no other means of income. To respond to this crisis, Grameen America launched out Member Relief and Recovery Package, described below.
2. What disaster recovery service will be provided by this grant? : Funding from this grant will support Grameen America’s Member Relief and Recovery Package in Long Beach. In order play a vital role in the resilience and recovery of small businesses in Long Beach, Grameen has made the following changes to our operations effective as of April 1st:
1. All current loans will have 0% interest through 6/30/2020. Previously, the interest on a $1,000 loan was ~$45.
2. We are covering members’ costs to digital repayment vendors to support safe, virtual operations.
3. Members in distress can choose to extend their loans and reduce their weekly repayment by half.
4. We are offering new smaller bridge loans and assistance to members experiencing hardship.
We are seeking to raise $72M for our 23-branch national network. Funding from Long Beach Community Foundation will be used to support our COVID-19 response efforts for our 200+ members in Long Beach, covering interest forgiveness, repayment vendor fees, and supporting a bridge loan fund and distress repayment facility to help members experiencing hardship.
Qu3. What individuals (and/or organizations) will you assist? : Grameen America serves low-income, primarily minority, women entrepreneurs who are un- or underbanked and had no credit history or poor credit prior to joining our program. Grameen serves a unique role in the nation’s entrepreneurial landscape as the only nationally scaling organization employing a group lending model and offering affordable capital to women, who have neither credit nor collateral, all while providing weekly touchpoints to support their entrepreneurial activities. As of March 16th, weekly touchpoints now take place using toll-free phone lines.
Our members are 98% Hispanic, Latina, or African American, and 100% live at or below the federal poverty line. With an average age of 40, most are single mothers and heads of household with an average family size of three. We serve entrepreneurs in the most disadvantaged communities, where residents experience the greatest barriers to economic independence, and help women entrepreneurs build their small businesses by closing the capital and capacity gaps that are extensive for this demographic. Now more than ever, the women entrepreneurs we serve require our services to sustain their businesses and support their families during this period of enormous economic disruption.
4. What other disaster recovery funds have you received? What amount?: Nationwide, across our 23-branch network, the Relief Package will cost up to $72M. We have received commitments from funding partners totaling $250,000 and are contributing $6M of our reserve funding to the effort.
5. What other disaster recovery funds have you applied for? We have identified a pipeline of funding opportunities totaling nearly $8M to support our national fund, and have applied for a payroll protection loan through the Cares Act