Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been actively working on ways to support communities and small businesses in the United States and around the world. In March, we announced the $125 million Grow with Google Small Business Fund as one way to offer support. Through a partnership with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the fund provides low-interest loans to community development financial institutions (CDFI), who in turn provide loans to small businesses in underserved communities in the U.S. Google.org also made a $5 million grant to OFN to further support CDFIs as they grow their capital and build their capacity during this time of crisis.
Earlier today, as part of our effort to support the Black community, our CEO Sundar Pichai announced that we are expanding the program by adding $45 million in loans to the fund and $5 million in Google.org grants to OFN, with a specific focus on Black communities. This brings Google’s total support for CDFIs and the small businesses they serve to $170 million in loans and $10 million in Google.org grants.
Today we’re announcing the first five CDFIs, which will receive a total of $15.5 million in financing from OFN. They will provide loans to small businesses to help them make rent, pay their employees and continue to serve their customers. This financing will enable OFN’s member CDFIs to improve access to capital for some of the most underserved small businesses: those owned by women and minorities. In addition, six CDFIs will each receive a $125,000 from OFN, made from the grant funds provided by Google.org.
Here are the CDFIs which will receive the first round of funding.
- Grameen America ($5 million loan, $125,000 grant): With 23 branches across 15 cities, Grameen America focuses exclusively on providing loans to U.S. microenterprises owned by low-income women.
- MoFi ($3 million loan): By providing financing and consulting, MoFi reaches small business owners across Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
- Opportunity Fund ($5 million loan, $125,000 grant): Based in California, Opportunity Fund provides loans to small businesses throughout the U.S., focusing on minority-, women- and immigrant-owned businesses.
- PeopleFund ($1.5 million loan, $125,000 grant): Operating across Texas, PeopleFund provides small-business loans, as well as business assistance and education, to people with otherwise limited access to such resources.
- Citizens Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC) ($1 million loan, $125,000 grant): One of the largest Native-owned CDFIs in the nation, CPCDC provides financial education, access to capital, business development services and community development initiatives to the Citizen Potawatomi National Tribal Community and other underserved Native populations.
- Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) ($125,000 grant): Based in California and supporting small businesses throughout the U.S., PCV’s integrated model provides diverse small businesses with affordable capital, free mentoring, impact evaluation and research.
- Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif) ($125,000 grant): Wacif increases equity and economic opportunity in underserved communities by investing in low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs with a focus on minority- and women-owned businesses in financially underserved communities east of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. and in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Although most CDFIs are not household names, they play a vital role for small businesses throughout the U.S., many of whom are overlooked by traditional lenders. According to OFN’s 2018 Member Survey, their over 300 member CDFIs serve 58 percent people of color, 85 percent people with low incomes, 26 percent people who live in rural areas, and 48 percent women.
Since announcing the Grow with Google Small Business Fund, we’ve worked hand-in-hand with OFN to create a holistic program that includes low-interest loans, funding for cash grants, Ad Grants and digital skills training through Grow with Google, our economic opportunity initiative. Over the next year, Google and OFN will continue to work together to underwrite and fund loans to additional CDFIs, which will then lend to thousands of small businesses. Through this partnership and program, we hope we can do our part to make sure small businesses remain the heart of the U.S. economy.