May 4, 2023
|Chris Warman, Program Officer, Baltimore Community Foundation. Photo from BCF website.||Shanaysha M. Sauls, Ph.D, President & CEO, Baltimore Community Foundation. Photo from BCF website.|
A Partnership That Helps Communities Thrive
When Baltimore Community Lending launched its small business lending program in 2018, BCF’s early investment was critical to the program’s initial success. Baltimore Community Lending’s more equitable approach to financing and enhancing the growth of underserved small businesses, particularly those that are owned by BIPOC and/or women, aligns with BCF’s impact investing program goal of supporting programs and projects that yield a financial return alongside social and economic benefits for communities. To date, BCF has supported Baltimore Community Lending with over $775,000 in funding.
Two years later, when the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in widespread restrictions and shutdowns on small businesses, BCF jumped in to provide funding that allowed Baltimore Community Lending clients to temporarily defer their loan payments. It’s worth nothing that these small business clients were able to pivot, stabilize, and resume making payments within months of the pandemic’s onset.
Convening people and places is an important aspect of BCF’s impact strategy. The foundation makes connections amongst changemakers in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. For example, BCF supported Baltimore Community Lending in becoming development partner for the new Lexington Market, whereby Baltimore Community Lending administered financing from the Lexington Market Accelerator Fund to provide low-interest loans to vendors. Additionally, when Baltimore Community Lending expanded its service area to include Baltimore County, BCF jumped in to provide funding and resources to accelerate the CDFI’s footprint in the county. “Baltimore Community Foundation has been a solid and reliable partner since our Small Business Lending Division got started,” said Bonnie Crockett, VP & Director of Baltimore Community Lending’s Small Business division. “Staying in touch and connected, they have often anticipated our needs, ready to support even before we ask. Their commitment to Baltimore’s small businesses is as dedicated as our own.”
It’s no coincidence that the word “community” is in the names of both organizations. Together, Baltimore Community Foundation and Baltimore Community Lending provide well-rounded access to resources that help communities thrive. The reciprocal partnership proves that, in the words of Chris Warman, “when you invest in individuals, you see long-term benefits to communities.”
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