December 07, 2017
by Yanki Tshering
Thanksgiving has come and gone and the Holidays are here, but this year in particular, we are still reflecting on that most American of all holidays, during which we are reminded of the original immigrants and refugees who came to this country, fleeing persecution for a better life.
At BCNA, this time of year also coincides with our annual review of the impact of BCNA's services in the past fiscal year, as well as a time to reflect with gratitude about the wonderful organizations and funders who have helped us help immigrants and refugee clients this year.
We are very pleased to report that in fiscal year 2017 BCNA's loans totalled $2,580,500 (distributed among 347 small business owners); we provided training and advice to 658 businesses; and we conducted 39 workshops benefiting 340 attendees. We are particularly pleased – and proud – that our clients started 32 new businesses and created 61 full-time and 73 part-time jobs. And seventy refugees to whom we provided match grants via our IDA program were able to invest $316,000 from savings and those match grants back into the local economy for goods and services for their businesses or for further education.
None of these exciting successes would be possible without the help of our extraordinary partners. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) supports our business services to refugees and the IDA match savings program, which provides funds for further education or the seed capital for starting a micro-business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) and the CDFI Fund provide the capital that is so critical for microloans to our clients. Grants from the SBA and the NY State Empire help us provide the one-on-one assistance and workshops on business management.
We are equally appreciative of the generosity and flexibility of the support from our private sector funders. Citi Community Development is one of our oldest and most consistent supporters. Our workshops and one-on-one coaching for clients on how to improve online presence and use social media to promote their business is just one of the many examples of how Citi's support allows us to help our clients in ways that create the greatest impact.
We were also very pleased to have been selected this year as one of the CDFIs for Wells Fargo's Diverse Community Capital Program, which has provided an EQ2 investment in our loan fund and a generous grant, as well as to welcome Santander Bank as another new supporter.
And we continue to be grateful for support from Capital One, BNB, Signature, M&T, and First Republic Banks as well, all of whom have a commitment to supporting local economies.
We are also truly honored to be a grantee of one of the most progressive foundations in the country, the New York Women's Foundation. This vital support from the New York Women's Foundation enables BCNA to provide peer group meetings as well as networking sessions for refugee women clients, and allows us to add human support to the financial support we provide.
Last but not least, we depend on the guidance and encouragement of our board members who support us throughout the year. Our gratitude to each and every one of them as we prepare for an exciting holiday season and new year.