Racial equity lender receives federal funding


RPC is in the business of providing loans to diverse entrepreneurs, like True 2 Size Shoes, who have been excluded from the traditional lending. process. Courtesy True 2 Size Shoes

A local racial equity lender has received technical assistance funding from the federal government.

Grand Rapids-based Rende Progress Capital in the fall received a technical assistance funding award from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and its fiscal year 2019 CDFI Program, according to Rende.

A total of $9.16 million was awarded to 73 organizations in 28 states and Puerto Rico.

The maximum award amount available per organization was $125,000. RPC did not disclose the loan amount it received.

Rende was the only racial equity-oriented loan fund and the newest emerging CDFI to receive the assistance, according to Eric Foster, co-founder, chair and managing director of Rende.

Two other organizations in Michigan, including Michigan Women Forward, received funds from the program.

The funding will provide Rende support to secure certification as a CDFI, build personnel and systems capacity and enhance the efficiency of operations.

Cuong Huynh, co-founder and managing director for investments, led the application process.

“This much-needed support will allow RPC to assist more entrepreneurs and to change lives for the better for them, their families and communities,” he said.

“We are thrilled to have the support from the CDFI Fund to grow and to serve more entrepreneurs (facing) barriers to lending such as bias and other factors.”

Foster called the funding a “milestone.”

Rende was formed in June 2018 and has made several loans to “excluded entrepreneurs” in West Michigan since then.

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