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Charter Communications, Inc. today announced the Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund (Loan Fund) has invested $1 million in the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp (WWBIC), which will lend to individuals starting or expanding a small business within Charter’s Wisconsin service area. The Loan Fund focuses on making loans through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to small businesses whose goods and services help meet core needs in underserved communities within Charter’s 41-state operating footprint.
“Charter is investing in the communities where our customers and employees live and work, and we are excited to partner with WWBIC to make available vital economic resources to small business owners in Wisconsin,” said Jeff Buller, Charter Vice President overseeing the Loan Fund. “In addition to the capital to fund vital low interest small business loans, Charter is also providing a grant that makes available assistance programs and training for small business owners in Wisconsin.”
WWBIC is a leading innovative statewide economic development corporation that’s been “Putting Dreams to Work” in Wisconsin since 1987. Opening the doors of opportunity by providing access to critical resources such as responsible financial products and quality business and financial education. WWBIC focuses on individuals who face barriers in accessing traditional financing or resources including women, people of color, veterans and low-income individuals.
“WWBIC is thrilled with this new investment through Charter,” said Wendy Baumann, WWBIC President. “Such capital investments allow WWBIC to continue advancing our access to responsible capital and enable us to grow and serve more entrepreneurs and business owners.”
In February, Charter launched the Loan Fund committing to invest $10 million in capital by the end of 2021. In June, with the addition of investment partnerships with the National Urban League (NUL) and National Action Network (NAN), Charter’s Loan Fund commitment increased to $13 million. Charter previously announced $1 million investments in Pursuit Community Finance in New York, PeopleFund in Texas, and the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) in Ohio, $3 million in the National Urban League’s Urban Empowerment Fund (UEF), and an additional $3 million in low-interest loans directly to CDFIs in partnership with and as directed by NAN. Over the next year, the Loan Fund expects to invest an additional $3 million across CDFIs in California, Florida, and North Carolina.
In addition to the loans, each CDFI receives a grant to fund technical assistance programs and professional training for small businesses to help establish sound business practices necessary for long-term growth and continuity. Some of these grants have recently been earmarked to support businesses impacted by COVID-19.