The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco has awarded $1.5 million in grants to 55 projects throughout Arizona, California, and Nevada
Santa Barbara & Ventura Counties, CA – Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) is one of 55 entities to receive a 2022 AHEAD grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco for projects that will boost economic development activity and promote financial stability. Community West Bank partnered with FHLBank San Francisco to award a 2022 AHEAD grant totaling $27,500 for the WEV Advancing Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship initiative.
AHEAD economic development grants enable FHLBank San Francisco member financial institutions including Community West Bank to fund economic development projects that target pressing community needs and bring greater opportunity to underserved populations. The 2022 AHEAD program awarded a total of $1.5 million in communities throughout Arizona, California, and Nevada. A full list of 2022 AHEAD grants are available on the Bank’s website.
Community West Bank, with locations throughout Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties, sponsored WEV’s application.
“Receiving a 2022 AHEAD Grant award is a wonderful testament to the great work WEV provides in supporting the success of our local women entrepreneurs with training, consulting and low-to no-cost funding. I can proudly say that this grant will be put to work very productively right here in our business community.”
Ale Ortega-Botello, Community West Bank vice president and WEV board member
WEV programs provide entrepreneurs with targeted training, consulting, and capital to increase their business management skills, financial acumen, and confidence to create and sustain viable businesses, promote long-term business resiliency, and improve economic security for them and their families. The expected outcomes of this project are to:
• Increase program accessibility to entrepreneurs of color
• Keep local businesses open
• Increase business sales and sustainability
• Preserve jobs
WEV CEO Kathy Odell says, “This grant Award helps fund our work supporting business growth and the financial health of disadvantaged entrepreneurs.” Odell added that, “in the last two years, we have significantly expanded outreach to business owners of color – particularly Spanish-speakers – by adding bilingual staff and coaches, as well as developing new Spanish-language training programs and resources such as our free mentoring program.”
About Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV), www.wevonline.org
Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to the economic empowerment of women. WEV is a business resource network for anyone looking to start a business, grow a local business, or improve their business skills. WEV provides a full range of small business support – including classes, consulting, and funding – as well as financial literacy programs in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. While WEV’s focus is on women, it welcomes people of all gender identities into the WEV community. Business courses, programs and loans are provided in both English and Spanish.
Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and small business advisory services to more than 28,000 people throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. WEV has made more than $6.9 million in small business loans and helped nearly 5,300 local businesses start or expand, generating an estimated $873 million in annual sales and creating over 12,400 local jobs. WEV is a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center and Microlender, as well as a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
To support WEV’s work, please visit www.wevonline.org/support.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco
The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco is a member-driven cooperative helping local lenders in Arizona, California and Nevada build strong communities, create opportunity, and change lives for the better. The tools and resources we provide to our member financial institutions — commercial banks, credit unions, industrial loan companies, savings institutions, insurance companies and community development financial institutions — promote homeownership and expand access to quality housing and boost economic development. Together with our members and other partners, we are making the communities we serve more vibrant, equitable, and resilient.