Valley Partners Receives Nearly $4M for GrowBiz Loan Fund

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Valley Partners was awarded nearly $4 million it will use to provide loans and technical assistance to businesses.

The $3,966,142 grant, which was announced Monday, represented a portion of the $1.73 billion awarded to 603 Community Development financial institutions nationwide through CEFI’s Equitable Recovery Program, according to a news release from the office of Vice President Kamala Harris. The funds are intended to help CDFIs assist low- and moderate-income communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants, which represent the largest CDFI grant program in history, will enable hundreds of community lenders to invest in small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as provide home loans for families, financial services for local nonprofits and capital for community organizations, Harris said.

“When we invest in community lenders, we help build a future where all people – no matter who they are or where they start – have the resources they need not only to succeed but to thrive,” she said.

Valley Partners will use the nearly $4 million in grant funds to recapitalize its GrowBiz revolving loan fund, which it established using a $1,826,265 grant from the same program in 2021, Miller said. The loan fund is targeted to assist CDFI-designated underserved areas in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Portage counties, as well as minority-owned and women-owned enterprises. Eligible areas include the cities of Youngstown and Warren. 

“We’re very excited to be able to have these additional dollars to help not only existing businesses but startups that are looking to create businesses in these underserved communities that need it,” she said. “In turn, that will create additional well-paying job opportunities for those located in those communities as well.”

The previous infusion allowed Valley Partners to fund 12 loans through GrowBiz, resulting in a total injection of $3.6 million into underserved communities, and helped to create or retain 73 jobs, she reported. Loans from the new fund will be lent at a fixed rate between 3% and 5%, depending on the project and collateral.

There is no set job creation requirement, but Valley Partners has a target of one job per $50,000 lent, she said. The maximum loan amount is $250,000.

“Today’s awards represent a truly historic opportunity to accelerate efforts in America’s distressed and underserved communities to overcome the persistent economic effects of the COVD-19 pandemic,” Jodie Harris, CDFI fund director, said in the news release.

“The more than $1.73 billion in CDFI ERP funding that is being awarded to CDFIs will be utilized to implement initiatives that, among other things, increase availability of financing and capital for small businesses, promote affordable housing, and improve accessibility to loans that help families make ends meet – all of which were compromised by the pandemic and are vital to community resilience, sustainability and economic prosperity,” she added.

“These grant funds will be transformative for grantees that are building a more equitable, resilient economy, along with helping sustain our strong economic recovery,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in the release. “These critical resources will allow mission-driven lenders to expand access to capital in financially underserved communities, which will help increase contributions to long-term economic growth.”

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