Economic empowerment pilot program aims at equitable access to capital for minority bussinesses

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CONCORD, NH  ― Bank of America is helping to drive economic opportunity and upward mobility in New Hampshire with its recent grant of $40,000 to the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, which provides lending and technical assistance to businesses owned by people of color.

Supported by this grant, the Community Loan Fund and the Manchester NAACP will launch the Community-Driven Economic Empowerment (C-DEE) pilot program in Manchester, N.H. in January 2022. The program’s goal is to bring people of color together as a community to create a more resilient local economy in which more of their businesses thrive.

C-DEE draws on the historic work of the Manchester NAACP in advocating for equal economic opportunities, and the community economic development experience of the Community Loan Fund. The program began by interviewing business owners in Greater Manchester who identify as black, indigenous, or people of color about their needs. The hope is to expand this work to other areas of New Hampshire.

“Black and Brown business owners in New Hampshire need and deserve equal access to capital,” said Community Loan Fund President Steve Saltzman. “They also need engaged communities and relationships with lenders who understand their vital importance to their neighborhoods. This grant from Bank of America will enable us to reach deeper, serve more businesses, and respond to these communities’ unique challenges.”

“Through our five-year, $1.25 billion investment, Bank of America is committed to advancing racial equality and economic opportunity in our local communities,” said Ken Sheldon, President, Bank of America New Hampshire. “Our support of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund helps to create opportunity for minority entrepreneurs and address areas in which systemic, long-term gaps have existed and where significant change is required to achieve sustainable progress.”

The Community Loan Fund’s Business Finance team offers financing and education to all types of N.H. businesses, with particular focus on farm and food, solar, and women-owned companies. The lenders work with companies that may be growth-ready, but not yet bankable, and offer customized financing and technical assistance.

Donations to the Community Loan Fund pay for the specialized education and training it provides to its borrowers. Some donors choose to direct their gifts to deepen the nonprofit’s supply of “permanent capital”— money it lends many times over into N.H. communities.

Its lending pool comes from hundreds of interest-earning investments in the Community Loan Fund by individuals and institutions.

The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, based in Concord, N.H., is a community development financial institution. It has received numerous honors for its innovative programs, including the NEXT Award for Opportunity Finance, the highest honor in its field.

Additional background about Bank of America’s Charitable Foundation giving can be found here.

About the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund

The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund turns investments into loans and education to create opportunity and transform lives. Established in 1983, the Community Loan Fund was one of the first Community Development Financial Institutions in the nation and has received industry awards and recognition for social impact, financial strength and performance. For more information, visit or call (800) 432-4110.