ACCION USA Competing for $50,000 Western Union Foundation Grant

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Financial Support Crucial as Economic Crisis Challenges Entrepreneurs

Everyone needs to be engaged in the complex issues facing us and we're challenging the Facebook community to learn about the work being done by each organization and selecting one to receive the $50,000 donation.

ACCION USA, the nation's largest microlending nonprofit organization, has been chosen as one of eight organizations to compete for a $50,000 donation from the Western Union Foundation. The "Our World Gives" contest will challenge organizations to engage their networks by earning "votes" via the social networking website Facebook.

With the economic downturn placing small business loans out of reach for an increasing number of entrepreneurs, this support has never been more needed. "With the current credit crunch affecting businesses of all sizes, we are seeing an exponential increase in the need for small business loans for 'Main Street' entrepreneurs," said Gina Harman, President and CEO of ACCION USA. "In an economic crisis, businesses of this size are the first to go under and the last to benefit from the monies government is making available." The $50,000 award would allow ACCION USA to strengthen its small business lending efforts to entrepreneurs nationwide.

Developed by Western Union and the Western Union Foundation, 'Our World Gives' is a new online platform for participatory philanthropy. Facebook members are invited to "Do a good deed today" by collaborating with their friends and family members to vote for one of eight designated non-profit organizations. The organization with the most votes at the end of six weeks will receive a $50,000 donation from the Western Union Foundation. Facebook members can cast their vote for ACCION USA by visiting http://apps.facebook.com/ourworldgives/.

"We are delighted to have this opportunity to heighten awareness of these non-profit organizations and the incredible work that they do around the world," said Luella Chavez D'Angelo, president of The Western Union Foundation. "Everyone needs to be engaged in the complex issues facing us and we're challenging the Facebook community to learn about the work being done by each organization and selecting one to receive the $50,000 donation."

ACCION USA has been providing small business loans to entrepreneurs across the United States for nearly a decade. Client businesses range from bodegas, to cleaning services to day care centers, and are too new or untested to secure bank credit. Monica Landrum and Todd Warfield, co-workers at an established salon near Boston, developed a business plan for their own salon but their small business loan application was turned down by traditional banks. After two loans with ACCION USA, they rented salon space, bought equipment and attended special training for stylists. Monica notes, 'Together with ACCION USA, we have turned dreams into reality.'

About ACCION USA
ACCION USA is a private, nonprofit organization that serves low and moderate income individuals, primarily minorities and women, who are unable to access mainstream financial services, including small business loans. A pioneer and recognized leader in the domestic microfinance field, ACCION USA is dedicated to providing microentrepreneurs and individuals on the economic margin with the crucial chance to access capital and develop greater financial literacy. ACCION USA is a member of the U.S. ACCION Network, the largest U.S. microlending network, with over $210 million lent since inception in 1991. ACCION USA small business loans range from $500-$25,000 and are offered nationwide via the ACCION USA online lending platform. For more information about small business loans, visit http://www.accionusa.org.

Media Contact:
Laura Kozien
(212) 387-0377

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Laura Kozien

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