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Staunton Creative Community Fund, Inc

Staunton, VA

www.stauntonfund.org

Amount Requested: $6,000 for CDFI Capacity Building

Mission: To connect people, cultivate ideas, & identify resources to grow our local economy and help build the jobs our families need for financial stability. We do this by supporting and funding local entrepreneurs in the central Shenandoah Valley. Whether they are growing a small business, organizing a nonprofit, or implementing more sustainable development practices, we provide training, consulting, and financing to help them succeed.

Constituents Served: Our overall entrepreneurship development services are available for anyone who requests them, and almost all of our training programs are free to the public. Eligibility for our Virginia Individual Development Account (VIDA) program is tied to household income and net worth.  From January 1, 2015 through present, SCCF has served over 200 clients; offered 729 hours of one-on-one counseling; provided 710 hours of classroom education; closed 6 small business loans for a total of $136,000; supported our businesses in creating over 80 new jobs; supported VIDA savers with 14 open VIDA accounts, celebrated four VIDA graduates who used their accounts for  post-secondary education and business.

Program Overview: Since our inception in 2008, we have expanded our offerings beyond that of just lending to reflect the needs of our friends and neighbors in the Shenandoah Valley.  Becoming a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) gives us the tools, resources, and support to show that people matter. This is the future of community building.

The previous path out of poverty was college or an entry-level position at a stable company. In today’s rapidly changing economy, a new road map to prosperity is required, and SCCF serves as a compass to those who wish to change their circumstances. We are the only organization in the Shenandoah Valley that offers a platform for individuals to access resources to create their own economic solutions. We see our constituency reflected in three main categories a) those that can’t afford to go to college so decide to invest in themselves and contribute to a skilled workforce, b) families who are struggling in the current economy and  need sustaining income for their households, and/or c) people with innovative ideas that will lead to economic growth for our community but need access to education and capital. Today’s economy is quickly changing that paradigm, and new values of community, building relationships, environmental responsibility and the customer’s experience are rising to the forefront for making businesses successful and sustainable.

SCCF’s financial stability initiatives will bring together both actual funding, through its matched savings, and the financial literacy education and ongoing support that are all crucial to empower people of modest means to grow and succeed. For example, we currently host an eight-week Business Plan Writing Class to help participants write their business plan, along with classes such as: Starting a Business, Applying for a Business Loan, and Business Marketing, among others. Our programs serve as a toolbox for low-income entrepreneurs, and the activities detailed in this proposal are the means by which we will give participants the tools they need to succeed. These activities will recruit and educate participants, giving them guided access to new and available resources for accessing both no-risk capital and financial support.

Current Operating Budget: $230,250

Program Budget: $34,000