South Phoenix underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses, particularly those along the South Central Avenue corridor, are the focus of a new $1.1 million lending program that will help them secure loans and fortify their potential to expand, increase their revenues and thrive. 

A new $1 million loan fund was created by the Raza Development Fund (RDF) from money remaining from a 2013 JPMorgan Chase grant from the PRO Neighborhoods competition. RDF, along with a group of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), now known as “Adelante Phoenix!,” were among the winners of the 2013 competition.  

PRO Neighborhoods is a $125 million, five-year initiative that identifies and supports custom solutions for the unique challenges facing disadvantaged neighborhoods in U.S. cities. In addition, JPMorgan Chase recently provided $100,000 to help RDF administer the new loan fund.  

The RDF loan program will: 

  • Establish strong working relationships with small business programs and partners targeting south Phoenix to identity credit opportunities for participants.
  • Assist potential, eligible borrowers from these programs in transitioning to credit preparation.
  • Assist prospective borrowers through loanclosing, and provide ongoing follow-up. 

“This new south Phoenix small business lending fund builds on the work of Adelante Phoenix, which was catalyzed with the 2013 JPMorgan Chase PRO Neighborhoods grant,” said Tom Espinoza, CEO of Raza Development Fund. “The fund will move this community development effort forward even more by helping small businesses thrive and create jobs and opportunities in south Phoenix.” 

“RDF’s south Phoenix small business lending fund will help underserved entrepreneurs get the capital they need to sustain and grow their businesses,” said Barb Tripp, Business Banking Market Manager for JPMorgan Chase. “JPMorgan Chase is proud to support this collaborative effort to advance job creation and community development in south Phoenix.”  

As the largest Latino CDFI, with more than $350 million in total assets under management, RDF has provided capital to Latino-serving organizations nationwide. These organizations have received technical assistance and loans, which have helped leverage nearly $3 billion in private capital for education, affordable housing and healthcare projects serving low-income families and individuals.  

In 2013, RDF led a group that won $6 million through JPMorgan Chase’s PRO Neighborhoods CDFI Collaborative competition. This CDFI collaborative, later named Adelante Phoenix!, deployed funds for housing, education, consumer and small business lending. A case studyby the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University showed the collaborative had significant, positive community impacts: it made $32 million of loans and leveraged an additional $180 million in outside financing, resulting in 787 consumer loans, 51 small business loans, 14 development loans and 675 units of affordable housing. 

JPMorgan Chase will launch its fifth PRO Neighborhoods CDFI Collaborative annual competition on March 5. For more information, joinOFN’s informational call with JPMorgan Chase on March 13.