January 14, 2015
LiftFund is the new name for the 20-year-old micro- and small-business lender previously known as Accion Texas Inc.
The name was unveiled in ceremonies Wednesday morning at Market Square downtown, a venue with several LiftFund borrowers.
The San Antonio lender announced in late October it had started the process of changing its name to reflect its eight-state lending market and its widened roles that include entrepreneurial training.
The new name is meant to signify “elevation and success,” LiftFund CEO and President Janie Barrera said during the ceremony, attended by employees from across the nonprofit organization’s offices.
The tagline to the new name is: “Dream It. Fund It.” Its new Internet site will be at liftfundstage.wpengine.com.
The new logo elevates “Fund” above the word “Lift” and uses blue, green and gray colors.
LiftFund provides startup and small-business loans from $500 to $250,000, loans that most banks do not make. It also offers U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan program funds of up to $5.5 million.
The organization started in 1994 as part of the U.S. Accion network with three employees, headed by Barrera. LiftFund now employs 115 people, more than 50 in San Antonio.
In late 2014, the lender withdrew from the U.S. Accion network as it prepared to change names, believing it should have a name that indicates it makes loans larger than microloans and operates in a market beyond Texas.
LiftFund now operates in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
In its history, LiftFund has made more than 15,000 loans totaling more than $180 million. It now has about 3,000 active borrowers, Barrera said.
Berrera announced that Chase, one of its partner financial institutions that has been a major donor for LiftFund loans, has given it a $125,000 grant to help the organization in its rebranding effort in 17 cities.
Accion Texas last year contracted with The Atkins Group to help the organization determine its new name.
The Atkins Group President Steve Atkins said his company interviewed all organization employees, 25 financial institutions that donate money for loans and some of the borrowers in coming up with the new name.
“The new name reflects LiftFund’s core essence,” Atkins said after the ceremony.
Former Mayor Henry Cisneros, who also had been a U.S. housing secretary during the Bill Clinton administration, paid tribute during the ceremony to Barrera for her leadership over two decades. Cisneros joked that the new name should be “Janie Barrera International or Janie Barrera Global.”