Accion announces investment in rural communities
VALLEY – Accion, a nationally recognized, regional nonprofit organization, announces a $2.75 million investment from the Colorado Health Foundation to improve economic opportunities and health outcomes for populations in Colorado that face barriers to entrepreneurship. Through an increase in its microfinancing and small business loan activities, Accion aims to level the playing field and reduce inequities for individuals for whom the door to capital is often shut. The total $2.75 million is provided through a $1.75 million program-related investment as lending capital, as well as a $1 million program grant.
Accion will use the funds to dramatically expand its lending to entrepreneurs of color and individuals with low-to-moderate-incomes in primarily rural Colorado. The lending organization also plans to offer new loan products, targeted promotion, and enhanced technology to bolster its outreach efforts. Along with an expanded focus outside the Front Range, Accion will launch a Rural Credit Collaborative with banks, nonprofit partners, and government organizations to get more capital into the hands of small business owners.
“We are thrilled with this commitment from the Colorado Health Foundation,” said President and CEO of Accion, Anne Haines. “This dynamic partnership will help Colorado’s underserved entrepreneurs improve their financial stability and become catalysts for healthier communities across the state.”
Research has linked a prolonged boost in income to improved health outcomes over time. In addition to its economic impact, the investment seeks to improve quality of life and health for Colorado residents through increased community vitality, enhanced social networks, and job growth.
“This partnership with Accion creates an opportunity to provide greater economic stability, a key driver of the social determinants of health, to more individuals and families in Colorado,” said Portfolio Director of Program Related Investments at the Foundation, Ben L. Bynum, M.D. “The program-related investment and grant funding to the organization will support our efforts to address inequities and bring health in reach for all Coloradans.”
Over the past year, the Foundation has been a strong supporter of Accion’s mission, introducing the organization to potential investors and funders through a coordinated pitch event and individual meetings. By leveraging the Foundation’s network to convene a broad base of potential funding and support, Accion has benefited from new investment relationships outside of the organization’s traditional funders.
In 2017, Accion provided more than 500 business loans totaling over $6.6 million in Colorado. Accion’s work is creating tangible economic impact across the state, with an estimated 1,267 jobs created or sustained by the organization’s client businesses in 2017. With the investment from the Foundation, Accion plans to lend $15 million in small business loans across the state by 2020.
Founded in 1994 and serving the five-state region of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas, Accion has provided over 13,481 loans totaling more than $132.8 million to fuel the growth of 8,791 businesses in our region. These businesses support an estimated 18,628 jobs. For more information visit www.us.accion.org or call 1-800-508-7624. We are a member of the Accion U.S. Network, the high impact microfinance network in the United States. The network’s four members have collectively made more than 59,000 loans totaling over $500 million. Globally, Accion is a pioneer in microfinance, reaching millions of individuals through its international network of partners.
About the Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation is bringing health in reach for all Coloradans by engaging closely with communities across the state through investing, policy advocacy, learning and capacity building. Please visit www.coloradohealth.org