Initiative available to strengthen minority-owned small businesses in Fort Myers

The USI CDFI and Truist Foundation have created an equitable loan fund and application system to attract, support and fund historically excluded small businesses in Fort Myers, Baltimore and Norfolk. The CDFI will equip these businesses with the credit, knowledge and tools to start, grow and sustain.

Truist Foundation provided a $1.5 million grant to Urban Strategies Inc., a national nonprofit that focuses on the design and implementation of human capital development strategies in communities undergoing physical revitalization across the U.S. USI will use the funding to support its community development financial institution in establishing a bridge to capital and wealth creation for women- and Black-, Latine- and Indigenous-owned small businesses.

Minority businesses continue to encounter structural obstacles when trying to access the resources, expertise and markets needed for growth. USI’s CDFI seeks to address this inequity by propelling entrepreneurs to prosperity and economic liberation – creating middle-income, wealth-generating jobs and businesses.

“The USI CDFI is excited to elevate our support of children and families in the Fort Myers community as we collaboratively address the racial wealth gap through strategic partnerships and funding that provides the much-needed capital and financial services to Black, Latine, and Indigenous borrowers in community revitalization areas,” said Esther Shin, USI president.  “The USI CDFI seeks to dismantle persistent barriers to social mobility and this partnership with Truist Foundation allows us to begin this important work.”

Through this partnership, USI and Truist Foundation seek to affect the root causes that hinder inclusivity and ultimately prevent families from thriving. USI has more than 45 years of experience working with families focused on personal and neighborhood equity and justice, ensuring all children and families can become stable and thrive.