Comerica Bank donates $350K to Michigan Women Forward

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Carolyn Cassin Courtesy MWF

A nonprofit that supports female entrepreneurship just got a big financial boost from Comerica Bank.

Comerica Bank said Wednesday, Oct. 21, it made a $350,000 donation to Michigan Women Forward (MWF), a statewide community development financial institution that has a chapter in West Michigan, to help replenish its Entrepreneur Resilience Fund that supports women-led businesses through pandemic recovery. 

The funds will provide additional loan dollars throughout the state.

“We are committed to supporting women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs, helping them recover amid COVID-19,” said Mike Ritchie, Comerica Bank Michigan market president. “The stability and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs significantly contributes to the economic vitality of our communities, as they provide important employment opportunities and deliver valuable resources and services. We are honored to partner with Michigan Women Forward to help businesses throughout our state.”

Mike Ritchie Courtesy Comerica Bank Michigan

MWF’s mission is to accelerate the state’s progress by advancing equality and opportunity for women and girls. MWF bills itself as the only major organization in Michigan exclusively committed to finding solutions to issues affecting women and girls, inspiring emerging leaders, providing leadership training and empowering women and girls to create change in their communities.

“We are very thankful for Comerica Bank’s donation, as it will greatly leverage our efforts to help small businesses across the state to obtain the resources and aid they need to recover from COVID-19,” said Carolyn Cassin, MWF president and CEO. “Our mission began more than 30 years ago by a group of 30 Michigan women (who) wanted to address the imbalance in funding women’s programs.”

Comerica Bank and the Comerica Charitable Foundation said the partnership with MWF is part of an investment totaling nearly $4 million in Michigan to aid to small and micro businesses and assist community service organizations providing services to youth, seniors and other vulnerable populations.

“We are proud to support Michigan Women Forward’s lending programs that provide access to capital to small businesses, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership and working collaboratively to address the negative impact COVID-19 has had on small businesses,” said Linda Nosegbe, Comerica Bank southeast Michigan external affairs market manager.

To date, MWF — formerly known as the Michigan Women’s Foundation — has aided over 12,300 women in starting a business. Often, the businesses it assists are just getting started and rely on the organization as a micro fund loan provider to get off the ground. These businesses are from a variety of industries, such as food, logistics and manufacturing, professional services and more.

“With donors like Comerica that support our mission, we can empower female business owners and make sure they get the support they need, particularly during this time of economic hardship,” said Alexis Dishman, MWF’s chief lending officer. “We want to keep these important Michigan businesses alive and well.”

More information on Michigan Women Forward is at miwf.org.

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