Liftfund | December, 2011

Microfinance leader and small business lender ACCION Texas Inc. announced Thursday that it received a $100,000 grant from the San Francisco-based William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

San Antonio-based ACCION will use the award to strengthen its ability to provide loan products and business support services to entrepreneurs — particularly minorities and women — whose poor credit or other financial challenges limit their access to traditional bank loans.

In its grant proposal, ACCION noted that it has seen an increase in demand for loan products as a result of the depressed economy and the resulting scarcity of small business credit. Its loans are invaluable to their clients because they not only provide a vital source of revenue, but also a path to upward mobility, and may be one of the few alternatives to a minimum-wage job. In addition, the loans provide clients with small, critical amounts of money to start or grow a business.

“This major gift from the Hearst Foundation is a great vote of confidence in our mission of providing access to capital and helping to create jobs,” said President & CEO Janie Barrera.

The Hearst Foundation grant will ensure that it can continue to help new and growing businesses, which in turn will help small business owners, their families, and their communities.

Established in 1994 in San Antonio, ACCION Texas Inc.’s financial and business-support services help entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. ACCION Texas Inc. has the nation’s largest microlender portfolio and is committed to providing affordable capital to entrepreneurs who do not have access to loans from commercial sources. Since its inception, ACCION has made 12,000 loans totaling more than $116 million. More than $28 million of that total has been disbursed in the San Antonio area. ACCION now is lending in eight states — Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.

The Hearst Foundation Inc. was founded by William Randolph Hearst in 1945. In 1948 Mr. Hearst established the California Charities Foundations, later renamed The William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Both Foundations are guided by the same charitable mission, which reflects the philanthropic interests of their founder. The two Foundations are managed as one entity, sharing the same funding guidelines, leadership and staff. Staff based in New York City review all proposals from organizations located east of the Mississippi River, and staff in the San Francisco office review those from organizations west of the Mississippi.