Truist Foundation Friday announced a $2.25 million grant to Community First Fund to help launch its Economic Justice Fund (EJFund).
Community First Fund, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), dedicated to aligning capital with social justice for low-income communities and low-wealth individuals, will use the grant to support lending activities to Black and Latino entrepreneurs across Community First Fund’s service footprint in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, including Lehigh Valley.
Community First Fund is embarking on a campaign to grow the fund to $50 million over the next five years, the nonprofit said.
“The Truist Foundation supports intermediaries which provide capital at favorable rates and terms for small business owners and individuals in historically excluded communities,” said Lynette Bell, president of Truist Foundation. “The work of Community First Fund provides essential financial and technical assistance to help diverse entrepreneurs scale their businesses.”
The $2.25 million grant is part of Truist’s recent $120 million commitment to strengthen and support small businesses nationally, with a focus on women and diverse business owners, Bell said. Community First Fund’s work to create financial equity through wealth building opportunities for individuals, families, and business owners, especially Black and Latino individuals, women, and immigrants embodies Truist’s commitment to these communities.
The work of Community First Fund is centered around creating sustainable prosperity for low-wealth communities and individuals by providing loans and investments to small businesses, and real estate financing to non-profit developers and entrepreneurs for commercial and affordable housing projects.
“The Truist Foundation grant of $2.25 million helps us close the opportunity gap for small business owners and entrepreneurs to start, grow and expand their businesses, create jobs, advance economic mobility and increase financial stability in their community,” said Community First Fund President and CEO Daniel Betancourt.
“This grant and partnership with Community First Fund underscores our commitment to supporting entrepreneurs throughout Pennsylvania,” said Travis Rhodes, Delaware Valley and Lehigh Valley regional president for Truist. “Small businesses are the bedrock of Philadelphia’s economy, and the work of Community First Fund is creating opportunities for more individuals while supporting employees, families and neighborhoods throughout the greater Philadelphia region.”