The Greater Jamaica Development Corp.recently became the recipient of a White House and U.S. Department of Treasury $1.105 million Community Development Financial Institutions award.
The CDFI award was issued June 15 from the White House’s Covid-19 Rapid Response Program and was created to give business groups the resources to help communities that have historically had a tough time obtaining loans, like small, minority- and women-owned enterprises, and that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, this award will enable GJDC to expand on the number of businesses we are able to support through our revolving loan fund and continue making Downtown Jamaica, and all of Southeast Queens, a place where our businesses can survive, be sustainable and ultimately thrive,” said GJDC President and CEO Hope Knight.
The GJDC, a business group that has represented the interests of entrepreneurs in Downtown Jamaica for more than 50 years, had to demonstrate sound financial footing and that it had a history of supporting minority- and women-owned small businesses to get the award.
“We know that we will be able to make sure that the loans we oversee are invested the right way — creating jobs and opportunities for those who need them,” said Knight.
In 2020, the GJDC secured over $7 million in loans that averaged to a little over $50,000 per business and 95 percent went to MWBEs, which helped save 1,146 jobs, according to the organization. The business group also provided 26,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to 1,700 employees.
“In serving places that the financial sector historically hasn’t served well, CDFIs lift our whole economy up,” said U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen. “We know that for every dollar injected into a CDFI, it catalyzes eight more dollars in private-sector investment, meaning that today’s announcement might lead to an additional $10 billion in investment. The President and the Vice President ran on a very ambitious agenda — ‘Build Back Better,’ unwinding systemic racism, creating an economy that works for everyone.”
Build Back Better is President Biden’s economic recovery plan that is meant to rescue, recover and rebuild the country, according to the White House.
“By channeling more capital into CDFIs, we are translating those ideals into reality,” said Yellen.