TLL Temple Foundation awards $ 1.15 million in grants


The TLL Temple Foundation selected Communities Unlimited and PeopleFund to receive $ 1.15 million in grants through the Rural Opportunity Catalyst for East Texas initiative. The grants will help the two certified nonprofit community development finance institutions expand their presence in rural East Texas, increasing direct local access to tailored financial products, services, and technical assistance.

The press release went on to say that many rural communities in East Texas are struggling to overcome difficult trends, including declining populations, slowing economic growth, limited broadband access and delays in education and health. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the pressure on people and rural places. These two CDFIs are among more than 1,200 certified organizations of this type in the United States.

But these types of services are lacking in rural East Texas. During the pandemic, these services have been essential in helping marginalized communities and businesses stay afloat, including early access to initiatives such as the Paycheck Protection Program.

CDFIs are essential for accelerating equitable rural entrepreneurship and the development of new businesses. But in the absence of local CDFIs, communities, small businesses or potential entrepreneurs had no way of obtaining these kinds of essential services and technical assistance. The TLL Foundation created the ROC-ET initiative to fill these gaps and bring CFDIs to rural East Texas.

Communities Unlimited and PeopleFund both have a history of accomplishment in rural communities. The grants to which these organizations have access constitute a major advance in the revitalization of local and regional economic ecosystems.

“These grants will make economic opportunities more accessible to all Eastern Texans and represent a strategic step in our continued quest to reduce poverty and build a thriving rural East Texas,” said Wynn Rosser, president. and CEO of the TLL Temple Foundation.

With the addition of the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge grant funds provided by the US Department of Agriculture, Communities Unlimited will be able to provide access to business loans of $ 2,000 to $ 100,000. In addition to having money to lend, they will be able to provide technical assistance and training that will prepare businesses for growth and capital. Communities Unlimited has been working in East Texas with rural water and sanitation systems, but this will increase funding and other professional opportunities that will be readily available.

PeopleFund will provide technical assistance, business planning, monthly workshops and specialized initiatives such as the BIPOC Accelerator for Small Businesses and Veterans Loan programs. Only time will tell how these programs are used and how they can help new and existing businesses start or elevate their current business to new heights.

It’s a big boost for local economies. And with the support of both organizations, the region is set for greater achievement and economic success. Additional information on Communities Unlimited or PeopleFund can be obtained by contacting Jasper Economic Development Corp.


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