Kristen Fraser, Truist
Krista Buckel, Community Ventures
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Oct. 27, 2023 – Today, Truist Foundation announced a $500,000 grant to Community Ventures Corporation Inc. (Community Ventures), a community development financial institution (CDFI) dedicated to delivering affordable lending solutions and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners who don’t have access to traditional financing. Community Ventures will use the funds to support Equity Boost, its new loan program that aims to drive affordable capital and strengthen small businesses.
The Equity Boost program supports Kentucky entrepreneurs by providing loans of up to $200,000, technical support, education, and networking opportunities to small businesses. The funding provided by Truist Foundation will allow Community Ventures to aid small businesses in Lexington, Louisville and Bowling Green.
“While small businesses are the backbone of our communities, CDFIs are a lifeline that fuels and sustains them,” said Lynette Bell, president of Truist Foundation. “Through its dedication to providing access to capital and financial services, Community Ventures is uplifting small businesses, creating jobs, promoting entrepreneurship and ultimately building stronger, more resilient communities across Kentucky, and Truist Foundation is proud to support their effort.”
Today, Truist Financial Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers and Tri-States Regional President Calvin Barker joined Jeff O’Brien, executive director with Louisville Metro Government’s Cabinet for Economic Development, and Community Ventures President and CEO Kevin Smith to formally announce the grant and discuss its impact.
“If we are going to take equity seriously, wealth building must be a priority,” said Smith. “I’m grateful to Truist Foundation for contributing $500,000 to our Equity Boost Program and to entrepreneurs like Elixir Kombucha, Luxe and Ashe Candle Co., and Shady’s Auto Repair, who have entrusted us with their business dreams.”
Since its founding in 1982, Community Ventures has helped more than 8,600 entrepreneurs start or expand their businesses, saved 1,800 households from foreclosure, provided 400,000 small businesses with continuing education opportunities, and created 15,200 jobs.
“Small businesses are the foundation of our economy. Owning and operating a small business is difficult, but through financial and technical assistance, we can help ease the burden on small businesses and help them build– contributing to our local economy and to the uniqueness of our city,” added O’Brien. “Louisville Metro Government’s Economic Development team is proud to work with partners, including Community Ventures Corp., to support small business and to offer its own low-interest METCO small business loans.”
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About Truist Foundation
Truist Foundation is committed to Truist Financial Corporation’s (NYSE: TFC) purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. The Foundation, an endowed private foundation established in 2020 whose operating budget is independent of Truist Financial Corporation, makes strategic investments in a wide variety of nonprofit organizations centered around two focus areas: building career pathways to economic mobility and strengthening small businesses to ensure all communities have an equal opportunity to thrive. Embodying these focus areas are the Foundation’s leading initiatives – the Inspire Awards and Where It Starts. Learn more at Truist.com/Foundation.
About Community Ventures Corporation Inc.
Founded in 1982 as a community-based, non-profit organization, Community Ventures strengthens communities and improves the overall quality of life for Kentuckians by supporting job creation, small business ownership, and home ownership. CV is headquartered in Lexington with branch locations in Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Louisville, Mayfield, Millersburg, and Owensboro. For 21 consecutive years, CV has been named Microlender of the Year by the Kentucky Small Business Administration.