Investing $1 Million in the Futures of Wisconsin Businesses through the Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund
Launched in February 2020, Charter’s Spectrum Community Investment Loan fund focuses on making loans through community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to small businesses whose goods and services help meet core needs in underserved communities within our 41-state operating footprint. One such organization is the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), which provides opportunities for individuals – particularly women, people of color, veterans, and low-income individuals – who are interested in starting, strengthening, or expanding businesses in Wisconsin. To recognize their important work in the community, Charter announced a $1 million investment in WWBIC that will help them continue their vital work.
The investment was announced at a virtual event co-hosted with WWBIC, where we were also joined by US Senator Tammy Baldwin, US Representative Gwen Moore, State Senator LaTonya Johnson, Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford, and Milwaukee Development Commissioner Lafayette Crump, who shared their perspectives and insight on helping Wisconsin’s businesses and economy grow.
“I want to congratulate the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation and WWBIC president Wendy Bowman on this exciting new investment and partnership with Charter Communications. Today’s announcement will help WWBIC continue to enhance its important mission of supporting entrepreneurship in our communities, and helping folks start and grow small businesses in Wisconsin.”
“WWBIC provides so many needs for our community, and I just want to thank them for producing the types of businesses that our community deserves. The partnership created through this type of investment into small businesses that provide goods and services to help meet the needs of our underserved communities, it speaks volumes.”
“Charter is an incredible asset to this community and they have chosen an incredible partner for their effort. WWBIC is a Milwaukee treasure that has benefitted countless businesses not just here, but across the state – those businesses, their employees and the entire community. And, this news is especially welcome at this moment.”
During the event, we heard a firsthand account from small business owner Paige Collins-Taylor, a current client of WWBIC who turned to the organization for help expanding her child-care business. Through WWBIC’s programs, she was able to purchase a new school bus to transport her students and receive assistance to remodel space for a new location. In addition, WWBIC offered Paige individual support to fine tune her business plan.
“As we strive through these unpredictable and hard economic times, we are looking for better ways, strategies, and opportunities to strengthen the program so we can in-turn strengthen children and families,” said Paige Collins-Taylor, WWBIC client and Wisconsin small business owner. “We have been so grateful to be supported by WWBIC.”
The Loan Fund plans to invest $16 million in capital by the end of 2021. We will also issue each CDFI an additional grant, which will provide these small businesses with additional training and technical expertise to assist in establishing sound business practices necessary for long-term growth and continuity. During the first half of 2020, the Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund invested $1 million in Pursuit Community Finance (formerly known as the Excelsior Growth Fund) in New York, $1 million in Economic and Community Development Institute in Ohio, $1 million in PeopleFund, a CDFI based in Texas, and committed to invest $3 million in the National Urban League’s Urban Empowerment Fund, and an additional $3 million in low-interest loans directly to CDFIs in partnership with and as directed by National Action Network.
Charter is committed to having a meaningful impact in the communities where our customers and employees live and work, and the Loan Fund is the latest Spectrum Community Impact program that delivers on this promise. We look forward to continuing our work with organizations like WWBIC throughout our footprint.