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Momentum Grants

Helping Nonprofits That Give Back

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BECU Foundation and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth have partnered to support nonprofit organizations in Washington state to enable the recovery, resiliency and stabilization of nonprofits and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that have been the most affected. The Momentum Grants Program is by invitation only, will help to facilitate recovery by replenishing funds lost during this difficult time, enable economic development organizations to make capital available to entrepreneurs in unique ways and create a space for testing, learning, and long-term scale. Grant amounts of up to $50,000 will be awarded.

These grants expand the reach of recipient nonprofit organizations by:

  • Making capital available to entrepreneurs, either directly through loans, or indirectly by acting as collateral or loan loss reserves
  • Supporting the ongoing and deep technical assistance provided to entrepreneurs by these nonprofits
  • Building capacity within Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), specifically related to using technology to increase efficiencies for underwriting, origination, and loan servicing

2020 Momentum Grants Program Awardees

Business Impact Northwest (BIN)

Business Impact NW, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and CDFI that works to more efficiently make small business loans to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME's). They offer loans and technical assistance to small business owners, focusing on low-to-moderate income individuals, people of color, women, veterans, LGBTQ+, and immigrants. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they have concentrated their programming on helping small businesses survive this economic crisis.

WA Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The Washington SBDC has been providing technical assistance to help entrepreneurs grow and succeed since 1980. Through their network of more than 35 business advisors and two international trade experts, they work in communities across the state to help entrepreneurs in every stage of business development and across all industries. Helping clients to access capital is one of the three primary metrics that the SBA uses to evaluate the effectiveness of their program. With this grant, the Washington SBDC will increase capacity (or build momentum) for increasing access to capital among underserved communities, including low-to-moderate income individuals (LMI), Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), women-owned and veteran-owned entrepreneurs.

Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners (SNAP)

The SNAP Financial Access (SFA) Small Business Administration (SBA) Momentum project will provide the requisite match funding and increase the performance of three existing SBA programs currently administered by SFA: SBA Micro Lending, SBA Technical Assistance (SBA TA) Program and the Women's Business Center (WBC). The SBA Momentum project will provide the 25% non-federal match requirement for the SBA TA program as well as the 10% Loan Loss Reserve funding required to secure additional critical lending capital from the SBA Micro Lending Program.

Ventures

This grant will equip Ventures to address the barriers that diverse entrepreneurs face to accessing very small, start-up business loans in the Seattle area, which are exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. They propose to build on the momentum of  their 25 years of small business lending and development services to use this grant to deploy capital that supports small business resilience in the wake of the global pandemic and ensuing social distancing and financial instability. With funding, they will deploy more than nearly three times as much capital in total dollars as 2019 to small business owners. All of the loans they make will be made to low-income individuals, and they estimate that 94% percent will be made to diverse small businesses, with an emphasis on Black and Latinx communities.

Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship

The Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship (CIE) is a Seattle-based microenterprise development program offering highly accessible and inclusive first step training and support to low-income individuals in underserved communities throughout Washington State. CIE empowers people to launch grow-ready microenterprises, move out of poverty and become leaders in building resilient, sustainable, and equitably shared community wealth. The Skagit Valley Community Enterprise and Resiliency Reserve Fund Program will bring CIE's program to low-income individuals in underserved rural communities in Washington's Skagit and Island Counties, including a Hub Zone, three Opportunity Zones and three tribal communities.

Community Credit Lab

At Community Credit Lab (CCL), they facilitate access to credit for people who have been historically discriminated against by the traditional financial system. They do this by designing and facilitating affordable lending programs in partnership with other nonprofits and community based organizations. The need for this work is rooted in another global pandemic, known as the poverty premium, which traps people with fewer resources in cycles of poverty due to extractive, higher interest rates and fees in the traditional financial system. At CCL, they reverse this by providing regenerative lending at 0% interest to support people who face discrimination to access affordable resources, achieve their goals, and participate in an inclusive, equitable economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19.

Mercy Corps

In Washington State, Mercy Corps Northwest (MCNW) is working with Latinx organizations to create more equitable access to small business financing for the populations they serve. Through their extensive experience, they have learned that many Latinx micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are unbanked, underbanked, or otherwise not “loan ready” for opportunities at a bank or credit union.

NW Innovation Resource Center

NW Innovation Resource Center develops programming to support innovative small businesses and startups that are building their businesses for the future economy. This grant proposal supports a program that assists small businesses that, due to COVID, are unable to continue their traditional business focus and need help to develop, implement and fund a new strategy. They will be folded into NWIRC's program to assist entrepreneurs and startup businesses. A key element of the program is to utilize the dislocated workforce to provide short term assistance in the implementation of the businesses' new plans. Resources and technical assistance will be provided for all aspects of business from validating ideas to obtaining funding.