Grameen America, a leading nonprofit microfinance organization, provides business capital, education and support services to promote the financial empowerment of women of color.
Jennifer Lopez will serve as Grameen America’s national ambassador to champion financial inclusion for Latino entrepreneurs historically excluded from financial services and the partnership will live under Lopez Unlimited Labs
NEW YORK, June 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Global icon Jennifer Lopez And Grameen America, the nation’s fastest-growing microfinance organization, today announces its partnership to promote the financial empowerment of Latina businesswomen historically excluded from the financial mainstream. Grameen America provides access to business capital, credit and asset building, financial education and peer support to enable women living below the federal poverty line to increase their income and create jobs in their communities. The new partnership aims to advance both Lopez’s latest philanthropic project, Limitless Labs, which aims to support Latino-owned small businesses, as well as Grameen America’s goal of empowering 600,000 Latino entrepreneurs in 50 cities American means of 14 billion dollars in life-changing business capital and 6 million hours of financial education and training by 2030.
Lopez joins Grameen America as a national ambassador to champion and mentor the organization’s network of more than 150,000 women-led small businesses in predominantly Latino communities. United States. Limitless Labs, the home of all of Lopez’s philanthropic and values-driven work, aims to uplift, educate and provide critical resources to underserved communities like The Bronx where Lopez grew up. Other areas of focus include youth empowerment, civic engagement and empowering women by giving them the confidence to live without limits.
Grameen America envisions an inclusive society in which all entrepreneurs, regardless of gender, race, or income, have access to equitable and affordable financial services to support upward economic mobility. The organization provides ongoing financial education to its members and reports microloan repayments to credit bureaus to enable participants to build their financial identity. Since its founding in 2008, Grameen America has served more than 150,000 women in 23 U.S. cities, spanning $2.6 billion in loans and helped create and maintain 157,000 jobs. The organization’s repayment rate is over 99% and its members have achieved an average credit score of 644 through their participation in the program.
To kick off her role as national ambassador, Lopez will motivate, promote and inspire Latina businesswomen, helping them understand the path to financial independence and literacy by joining the Grameen America microcredit program. Lopez will mentor the organization’s existing Latino business owners, educating them on the importance of credit and asset building and developing a savings program to promote financial resilience. The partnership will also enhance Grameen America’s financial education and training platform, prioritizing digital and multimedia resources to promote financial literacy.
“Being Latino in this country has always been a matter of pride for me. I am honored and beyond grateful to partner with Grameen America,” said Jennifer Lopez. “We are building pathways to employment and leadership opportunities. There is so much strength in this community and we are harnessing it. This partnership will create equality, inclusion and opportunity for women Latin Americans in business. This will change the fabric of America!”
“Jennifer Lopez “is a pioneer, having given visibility and led advocacy to ensure that Latin American women are educated, financially empowered and healthy,” said Andrea Jung, president and CEO of Grameen America. “Grameen America is the only organization with the national scale, reach and proven model required to deploy 14 billion dollars in loan capital to emerging businesswomen from Latinx communities. Together, we will shape entrepreneurship as a viable path to success for Latina women who historically have lacked access to formal financial markets and are often marginalized from economic opportunities.
Despite the lack of opportunities, Latino entrepreneurs represent the fastest-growing, yet untapped, segment of U.S. small business owners. Over the past 10 years, the number of Latino-owned small businesses has increased 44 percent, compared to just 4 percent for non-Latinos, according to a recent report from the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. The same report notes that Latino-owned businesses are significantly less likely than white-owned businesses to receive loans from national banks, despite strict lending criteria. For women, financial exclusion is disproportionately higher with only 4% of all small business loans made by traditional financial institutions going to women, according to a report from the National Business Women’s Council.
“Applying for a loan from a bank is not as easy as you think, and it is even more difficult for businesswomen in my community,” said Marie Lugo, a member of Grameen America and owner of Who’s Papi? Pneus Papi, an automobile repair and tire workshop located in Wood side, Queens. Lugo joined Grameen America in 2011 to revitalize the struggling family business. Today, the thriving Lugo business has increased its size, services and staff to meet growing demand. More importantly, Lugo’s savings allowed him to send his three children to college. “The path to business success is not always easy to navigate, but with hard work and access to financial services, education and mentorship, it is possible to realize your vision,” Lugo said. “Surround yourself with people who will lift you higher.”
Are you interested in joining the Grameen America program? Learn more today.
About Grameen America
Founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus, Grameen America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit microfinance organization dedicated to helping women living in poverty start small businesses to create better lives for their families. The organization provides microloans, training, and support to transform communities and fight poverty in the United States. Since its opening in January 2008, Grameen America has invested more than $2.4 billion in more than 150,000 low-income women entrepreneurs. Initially opening in Jackson Heights, Queens, Grameen America has expanded to 22 cities in Austin, TX, Boston, MA, Camden, NJ, Charlotte, NC, Chicago, IL, Connecticut, Dallas, TX, Fresno, CA, Houston, Texas, Indianapolis, IN, Los Angeles, CA, Memphis, TN, Miami, FL, Newark, NJ, New York City, NY, Omaha, NE, Oakland, CA, San Antonio, Texas, San Jose, CA, Trenton, NJ and Union City, New Jersey.
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SOURCE Grameen America