We are always looking for new and innovative ways to support our customers. One of the ways we do this is through partnerships like that with the National Community Investment Fund (NCIF) which invests in mission-driven banks and other financial institutions, like ours, to inject needed resources into the communities we serve, to help entrepreneurs, small business and non-profits grow and enrich their communities.
In 2020, NCIF launched its NCIF Cares Initiative to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, we awarded grants to 8 businesses through this initiative, and we were thrilled to be able to open up the application process once again in 2021 for the NCIF Cares II grants.
We are proud to announce that all 11 businesses that applied this year were awarded grants up to $5,000 (the maximum allowed between both rounds). This is especially exciting since we initially believed that funds would only be available for 4 of the applicants.
In addition to receiving the unrestricted funds, which can be used on anything from rent and utilities to payroll, repairs and maintenance, 5 of the 11 businesses have also been awarded the opportunity to receive individualized one-on-one small-business coaching.
Each small business will be paired with a business professional to receive 10 virtual coaching sessions aimed at helping the business increase sales, profits, assets and employees. This coaching program is in partnership with The Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School (Rustandy Center).
NCIF awarded the following businesses Cares II grants:
We love being able to make these opportunities available to our customers and this is another reason to bank with First Southwest Bank. You can learn more about our impact as a CDFI bank here.
"First Southwest Bank has been an amazing partner for commercial banking and a client of Conley Waste Management for many years in Saguache County. Their services and products have been an integral part of our growing business in the general community. First Southwest Bank offers extremely competitive products, with excellent customer service. Their staff is one of the bank’s greatest assets as they're alway professional, courteous, helpful, and responsive. We're truly grateful to have them a part of the Saguache, Colorado community and is regarded as one of the community's greatest assets."
– Mr. Elvie R. Conley, Conley Waste Management
"The San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition experienced the disruption and hazardous frontline service due to the pandemic, much like so many businesses and nonprofits in our region. First SouthWest Bank was there for the Paycheck Protection Program, COVID Cares grants, innovation funds and more to help keep us and others going as we doubled efforts at the Valley Roots Food Hub and Rio Grande Farm Park and had to go virtual with Cooking Matters and Local Foods Local Places programs. We are so thankful to this Bank and its non-profit fund that has helped so many get a leg up during these difficult times. FSWB was a game changer for us."
– Liza Marron, San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition