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AAFE affiliate, Renaissance, awarded $600,000 to help small business

Renaissance Economic Development Corp.(REDC), an AAFE affiliate, has been awarded $600,000 from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to support small businesses in New York City’s  immigrant, low- and middle-income communities.

The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced its 2018 awards Wednesday, Sept. 18. Renaissance is one of 302 institutions nationwide receiving support to boost economic opportunity in underserved neighborhoods.

The highly competitive award from CDFI Fund will allow REDC to make a dramatic impact in New York immigrant communities, where small businesses are the lifeblood of local economies. Renaissance will focus on the immigrant neighborhoods in Chinatown in Manhattan, Flushing and Jackson Heights in Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn. “Immigrant run small businesses have faced increasing costs and displacement pressures during the past several years,” said Jessie Lee, Renaissance’s managing director. “We will use these funds to provide lending in low- and moderate-income communities, benefiting both existing small businesses and startups.” The CDFI Fund award will build on Renaissance’s strong track record of small business support in underserved communities. In the more than two decades since its founding, Renaissance has made more than 1,200 small business loans, injecting over $50 million into New York City neighborhoods.

The funding will enable Renaissance to keep interest rates affordable, even as it deploys more loans to help stabilize small businesses confronting high rents and other economic pressures.

“Through Renaissance Economic Development Corp., AAFE has a long track record of stimulating economic development, creating jobs and strengthening the fabric of our immigrant communities,” said Jennifer Sun and Thomas Yu, AAFE’s co-executive directors.  “Immigrant neighborhoods thrive on their local small businesses, and we would like to thank the CDFI Fund for helping Renaissance extend its reach in support of our local entrepreneurs.”

Renaissance is a U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution dedicated to transforming immigrant, low- and middle-income communities in New York City. Since 1997, REDC has been providing low-interest small business loans and entrepreneurial training programs in underserved areas throughout the five boroughs. Renaissance is routinely ranked as one of the top 10 Small Business Administration microloan intermediaries nationwide (in total dollars dispersed). In 2017, 90% of REDC’s clients were from minority groups, 50% of loan clients were female and 30% of REDC loans were awarded to startup businesses.

The CDFI Fund this year awarded $202 million for financial services and lending. The fund’s mission is to expand economic opportunity for underserved people and communities by supporting the growth and capacity of a national network of community development lenders, investors, and financial service providers. The CDFI Fund was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1994.

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