CHRISTIANSBURG, VA - April 20, 2011 - Virginia Community Capital (“VCC”) announces today a new initiative, the Micro-Enterprise Capital Support Program (“the Program”) for micro-enterprise lending across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Program support was initiated through a low interest loan provided by the Bon Secours Health System for a period of 3 years.
VCC, in turn, will provide capital to micro-enterprise providers to support micro-loan activities and clients fostering entrepreneurial efforts and small businesses in economically distressed communities. VCC has committed $300,000 to be available through lines of credit to micro-lending organizations. Loans will be made to these organizations to support their lending activities. The loans will have a rate of 4.5 to 5.25%, depending on the experience of the organization and the quality of its microlending portfolio.
The mission of Virginia Community Capital is to support housing and community development ventures, increase jobs, and build sustainable communities by offering flexible financial products and advisory services. This initiative marks an expansion of VCC activity throughout the Commonwealth and builds on cooperative relationships for the expansion of social-capital in low-income communities. Jane Henderson, President and CEO commented, “We want to help micro-lenders in the Commonwealth respond to the need for training and capital for entrepreneurial businesses in these communities. We know these programs can produce results, both in terms of good, quality lending and in promoting new business opportunities.”
For the past three years, Bon Secours Health System has committed staff and resources to foster community empowerment, economic development, and health improvement in designated communities. This “Healthy Community” initiative seeks to address systemic issues of health, including education, safety, job creation, affordable housing, and community building activities that impact the health status of residents. “We view the availability of capital to be a critical dimension in allowing neighborhoods to build sustainable communities”, said Edward Gerardo, health system director for community commitment and social investments.
Micro-enterprise efforts are essential to economic recovery and sustainable jobs, according to Connie Evans, President and CEO of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, a national membership organization and voice of microenterprise development in the United States. “In Virginia, one out of every six people is employed by a microenterprise”, stated Evans. “This initiative” continued Evans, “will assist micro-lenders to expand their reach to more entrepreneurs and ensures that capital is available to support small business growth and job creation.”
Virginia Community Capital (VCC) is a non-profit, community development financial institution (CDFI) providing innovative loan, deposit and investment solutions for affordable housing and economic development projects in the Commonwealth of Virginia. VCC offers loan capital that is broader than bank lending to projects that have a positive community impact in lower-income communities or underserved geographies and markets. Community Capital Bank of Virginia (CCB), a VCC subsidiary, is a certified community development bank providing deposit services targeted to institutional and socially conscious investors and community banks. Bank deposits support community development lending activity. Additionally, the bank offers savings and financial education programs to consumers. VCC offers Advisory Services to help small businesses, nonprofits, and government entities operate more effectively. These advisory services focus on creating jobs, increasing affordable housing options, providing access to critical services such as health care, and supporting economic revitalization. Advisory Services also works with organizations and communities individually and as a facilitator for collaboration and education.
Bon Secours Health System, headquartered in Marriottsville, Maryland, a $3.0 billion not-for-profit Catholic health system, owns, manages, or joint ventures 17 acute care hospitals, one psychiatric hospital, five nursing care facilities, four assisted living facilities and several home care and hospice programs. Bon Secours’ more than 21,000 caregivers help people in nine communities in six states, primarily on the East Coast.