Dora Westerlund, CEO of Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, cuts the ribbon on the Downtown Business Hub in Fresno in 2011.
Written by Gabriel Dillard
The Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation has been designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund as a certified CDFI. This is the first CDFI in the region founded and led by two Latinas.
CEO and President of Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation Dora Westerlund said, “This designation comes after 17 years of supporting small businesses and will promote economic vitality to underserved entrepreneurs and low-income communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley.”
The certification grants the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation the ability to specialize in serving low-income communities that are in critical need of financial assistance. A CDFI grants access to these low-income populations that would not otherwise be served at a mainstream financial institution.
The Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation will provide loans and financial services to small businesses in the Valley. The foundation will target women- and-minority owned businesses and young entrepreneurs.
They currently operate a micro-revolving loan fund for low-income and underserved entrepreneurs in the San Joaquin Valley, which are intended to assist in business startup. It also helps entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses for potential expansion, job creation, wealth accumulation and asset building.
CDFIs were also the first financial instititions allowed to submit Paycheck Protection Program applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration in the latest round of the Covid-19 relief program.
Yery Olivares, FAHF’s CDFI program executive director said, “The timing couldn’t be more critical. I am eager to bring much-needed infusions of capital to small businesses. Their success is our priority and we know that serving as their trusted financial partner will lead to job creation and a stronger economy.”