ACCION USA Competing for $1 Million Sam’s Club Grant to Expand Lending and Financial Education Programs

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ACCION USA is calling on all supporters to vote to help earn a $1 million grant to grow the organization’s microfinance, small business loan, and financial education programs. Learn more about their campaign and how to get involved.

This campaign will highlight our work during the past 20 years lending both money and a helping hand to America’s small businesses.

ACCION USA, a leader in U.S. microfinance and small business lending, announced today that it is competing for a $1 million grant from Sam’s Club as part of Giving Made Simple-- an online voting campaign where Sam’s Club members and associates will determine how the company will allocate $4 million in charitable contributions. ACCION USA is guaranteed $250,000, but is seeking the top grant to fund national expansion of “Survive and Thrive,” a small business lending and financial education program. The campaign starts today and concludes on May 2; the winners will be announced on May 4, 2010.

By logging on to samsclub.com/giving, Sam’s Club members and associates can vote for ACCION USA once per day for the duration of the campaign. In addition, both Sam’s Club members and the general public can donate their Facebook profile picture to support ACCION USA in the campaign by visiting donateprofilepicture.org.

Doing so will have a big impact on small business—the $1 million grant will allow ACCION USA to engage its affiliates across the country to expand the popular Survive and Thrive program, a lending and financial education initiative that combines online resources and webinars with the organization’s unique “round robin” style one-on-one coaching events. The program could provide education to 6,000 small business owners, distribute 1,000 small business loans, and create 850 jobs in communities that need them.

“We’re honored to have been chosen by Sam’s Club to participate in Giving Made Simple,” said Gina Harman, president and CEO of ACCION USA. “We’re also proud that this campaign will highlight our work during the past 20 years lending both money and a helping hand to America’s small businesses. By working directly with the family-owned businesses that breathe life into our towns and cities, we have been able to make a difference. Giving Made Simple will help us to work with ACCION USA affiliates in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Colorado, Arizona, California and Illinois to impact even more entrepreneurs.”

The Sam’s Club Giving Made Simple campaign is sponsoring small business and entrepreneurial programs that help business owners to launch, sustain and grow their businesses, and educational programs aimed at empowering the nation’s youth to ensure they succeed in the future. ACCION USA is competing with three other organizations—Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF) and Kiva— in the entrepreneurial category. Giving Made Simple is part of an $18.5 million giving program dedicated to the Sam’s Club philanthropic strategy, a core focus area of which is youth education and entrepreneurship.

“Giving Made Simple is an exciting addition to our charitable efforts and complements our core business strategy that puts our members first in everything we do at Sam’s Club,” said Brian Cornell, president and CEO. ”We believe that unlocking the potential of entrepreneurs is essential to the prosperity of our economy, and with the help of these leading organizations we are preparing our youth for life-long success and enabling small business owners to thrive and succeed.”

For additional information and regular updates on Giving Made Simple, visit samsclub.com/giving, Sam’s Club on Facebook or accionusa.org/samsclub.

ABOUT ACCION USA
ACCION USA is a leading U.S. microfinance organization that provides access to capital and financial education to low- and moderate-income individuals, primarily minorities and women. A pioneer and recognized leader in U.S. microfinance, ACCION USA empowers individuals to create sustainable businesses, increase family incomes, and contribute to the economic development of cities across the U.S. Since inception in 1991, ACCION USA has provided over $119 million in small business loans ranging from $500 to $50,000, offered nationwide via the ACCION USA online lending platform. For more information about small business loans, visit accionusa.org.

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Laura Kozien
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