Celebrating 30 years of building stronger futures through small business growth.

We’re honored and excited to mark LiftFund’s incredible 30-year journey of empowering communities through opportunities and funding for small businesses. As we look at what the future holds, we’re excited to use this momentum to propel our mission forward as we say thank you to our founder, Janie Barrera, and welcome our new CEO, Laurie Vignaud.

Janie Barrera

Janie Barerra Legacy Fund

As a testament to Barrera’s dedication, LiftFund established the Janie Barrera Legacy Fund, a revolving loan fund to help continue the impactful work she started 30 years ago. We are so grateful to the many community members and partners who have stepped up to grow the fund to approximately $700,000 of our $1 million goal. This fund provides the opportunity to empower small businesses for generations to come. We take the responsibility of elevating small businesses owners seriously and look forward to carrying on Janie’s mission as she moves on to her next chapter of service.

1 Million Goal

LiftFund's 30 Year Impact


Nearly $1 Billion Dollars of Capital Disbursed


Small Business Loans 


Jobs Created and Retained


Business Support Hours

Our Proudest Moments at LiftFund

Since 1994 LiftFund has propelled the dreams of small business owners by providing affordable, responsible credit and knowledge so they can unleash their potential as entrepreneurs. Everyone deserves a chance to succeed especially our clients.

LiftFund is launched
LiftFund was founded in San Antonio, Texas as Accion to create opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs. During our first year of operations, we supported over 80 small business owners with seed capital – average loan size was $1,400. Janie Barrera was selected as founding president and CEO, one of the first Latinas in the industry.
LiftFund Innovates with customized technology to serve underbanked
We began offering our risk assessment model, Microloan Management System, as an underwriting tool to other CDFIs across the nation, empowering them to serve their community by leveraging our lending insight and expertise.
A photo shoot of Freda A. Paz at her business "The Calling Card" in New Orleans on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Photo by Peter G. Forest)
LiftFund provides hurricane disaster relief with key partners in Louisiana
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we launched our first disaster relief loan program to support the recovery of small businesses and rebuild the community. This model has been tailored and adapted to support businesses navigating different financial crisis.
Terry Smith, owner of Smitty's Cleaning Service, with employees for vacuuming, dusting, window cleaning, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Rebrands as LiftFund to serve a more inclusive and diverse customer base with expansion
LiftFund grew out of the Accion brand to better reflect our clients and extensive financial and business support services. As LiftFund, we can lift small businesses with capital and education in 13 states across the Southeast.
A new $7 million initiative to assist Tx small businesses recover & rebuild after Hurricane Harvey w/ capital from Goldman Sachs & the Rebuild Texas Fund was  announced in Houston, Texas on 1-25-18.  LiftFund will  distribute funds as recovery loans.   photography  by John Everett .
LiftFund helps rebuild the Texas Gulf Coast again
With support from our generous funders, we launched a $7M relief loan fund to provide interest-free disaster recovery loans and business guidance to small businesses impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
2019 new
Celebrates diverse deployment of $300+ million and 25th anniversary
We celebrated 25 years of providing opportunity for small business owners and reached a lending milestone: $324 million in capital to underserved small businesses across our footprint.
LiftFund partners to provide COVID19 micro and small business relief
As soon as COVID-19 hit our communities, LiftFund partnered with governmental entities, financial institutions, foundations and other generous donors to help small businesses survive. We provided over $41M in recovery grants and over $41M in capital to thousands of small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
LiftFund Provides $24M PPP Aid to COVID-Affected Businesses in 2021
Our organization extended nearly $24 million in direct Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding to businesses severely affected or forced to shutter due to the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
1,731 Businesses Receive $28.5M COVID Relief Grants
Our dedication to assisting small businesses remained steadfast, as we disbursed $28.5 million in grant funding to 1,731 small business owners affected by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly 1,000 Pandemic-Affected Businesses Supported by $18.4M Grants
In 2023, the enduring effects of the pandemic continued to affect businesses. To alleviate these challenges, LiftFund provided nearly 1,000 businesses a combined total of $18.4 million in grant funding. This financial assistance was crucial in helping these businesses navigate the post-pandemic difficulties and work towards recovery.

Celebrating 30 Years

To commemorate three decades of leveling the financial playing field, we celebrated with a luncheon on March 20th, 2024, attended by 600+ supporters, partners, clients, employees and friends. We continue to appreciate your support as ambassadors of the work we do to empower small businesses so they can thrive!