About LiftFund, our work and impact

LiftFund was founded to level the financial playing field for the underestimated entrepreneur. 

We provide a hand up to small business owners, so they have a chance to succeed. We’ve provided millions of dollars in micro and small business loans to diverse, hard-working entrepreneurs with a 96% successful repayment rate. For every $1 we lend, there is a positive economic return of $14. Daily, thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs are denied capital and tap into high interest rate debt and predatory lenders that cost more than they can afford. We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to build a company successfully with capital no matter their background, race, ethnicity, sexual identity or geography.

LiftFund is a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Community Development Corporation (CDC) that supports small business owners with limited access to capital through small business loans and technical support for their dreams of entrepreneurship. 

We could not do this work alone, partnering with community leaders, lending institutions, governments, foundations, and small business serving organizations to create a support system and network for our clients. 

We provide direct capital to our clients including SBA microloans, SBA Community Advantage, SBA 504 Loans, EDA Loans in our 15-state footprint.  

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In 1994, we were founded by Janie Barrera and opened our first office in San Antonio with three employees. Today we are in 15 states providing a pathway to business and financial success and helping thousands of people access opportunity. Along with our lending products, LiftFund provides resource and consultation services at no cost to our clients.


LiftFund transforms lives by opening doors, leveling the financial playing field and building a community of shared success through entrepreneurship.


LiftFund’s mission is to provide credit and services to small businesses and entrepreneurs who do not have access to loans from commercial sources and to provide leadership and innovation in the microlending industry.


We believe that our work propels dreams, cultivates confidence, is a journey with our clients, and allows us to champion small business success. 


We are dedicated to our customers – we listen, care and serve. 

We lead with integrity – we are collaborative, accountable, and transparent. 

We strive to be better – we innovate, grow, and excel in our products and services. 

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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.

Impact and Insights

LiftFund, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), makes a real difference in the lives of diverse, hard-working entrepreneurs. We believe micro has a macro impact and our history proves it. For every $1 we provide a client, there is a $14 positive economic return.

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Annual Reports

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Audited Financials

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Economic Impact


Meet The Team Behind


Everyone at LiftFund is passionate about providing entrepreneurs the credit and tools they need to succeed. Click the button below to meet our dedicated team members.