Accion is a non-profit microlending organization that has provided access to capital and support services to local small businesses for over 20 years. We are passionate about empowering entrepreneurs and offering them the tools necessary help them thrive in their communities. See what we have been up to below.

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February 19
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: MARIEL COTA, SAN DIEGO FLOWER SOLUTIONS premium

SanDiegoFlowerSolutionsMariel Cota began her journey toward becoming a successful entrepreneur 18 years ago when she started a home-based flower and balloon arrangement business in Mexico to help her neighbors celebrate festive occasions like quinceaneras and weddings. Surviving domestic abuse and becoming a mentor for other victims has made her much more than an entrepreneur however, providing her with a passion and purpose to help others in her community.…

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February 17
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: MELISSA AND JOSEPH BASILONE, THRIFT & THRIVE, INC. premium

Thrift&ThriveAfter seeing an economic downfall in their Portage Park, Chicago neighborhood in 2011, Joseph and Melissa Basilone opened Thrift & Thrive, a resale shop that provides the community with access to a curated selection of high quality goods at affordable prices. The couple feels that by reusing and recycling, people have an opportunity to decrease their spending, have a greater appreciation for their possessions, and in general have a tendency to thrive. The majority of the shop’s merchandise comes from the very neighborhood it goes back to, increasing prosperity while decreasing landfill waste.

“We are absolutely ‘all-in’ when it comes to
revitalizing our neighborhood.”
~ Joseph Basilone

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February 15
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: NELSON PIZARRO AND NELSON PIZARRO JR., ECOSTATIC premium

EcostaticNelson Pizarro founded EcoStatic, Inc in 2012 with his children to create an eco-friendly alternative to sticky notes. They invented “slickynotes,” described as double-sided writing surfaces that come in a variety of sizes. EcoStatic developed a unique technology that gives their slickynotes an electrostatic charge that allows them to stick on surfaces instead of glue. Slickynotes are made of 100% recyclable materials and writing on them with dry erase markers makes them reusable. The notes attach to any flat surface and can be moved easily without losing their ability to stick. EcoStatic also produces a product called “slickyboard.” This larger white board made from the same materials as slickynotes adheres to any smooth service. Companies frequently use the product as a project management tool.

“Even if we haven’t made it yet,
we believe strongly in giving back as a company.”
~ Nelson Pizarro

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February 13
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: SHANNELLE ARMSTRONG-FOWLER, HAUTE & CO BRIDAL BOUTIQUE premium

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As an accomplished public relations executive in the retail industry, Shannelle Armstrong-Fowler spent much of her career keeping her finger on the pulse of fashion trends. While working as a public relations director for Sears Holdings in Chicago, she recognized a void in the market to serve women with fuller figures seeking luxury wedding dresses. The options available were largely limited to big box stores or little known online retailers.

“Every bride deserves to feel special on her wedding day.”
~ Shannelle Armstrong-Fowler

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February 11
COMMUNITIES WITH HART: SOPHIE PHILLIPS, SPROCKET & STONE, LLC premium
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Pet art created by Sophie Phillips, owner of Sprocket & Stone in Chicago

Sophie Phillips loves the diversity and small town feel of her Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago. After working as a dog walker for several years, she identified the need for a decent neighborhood pet store to offer high quality products and services for pet lovers.

“I’m happy to offer our community
a place where they can find healthier
alternatives for their pets.”
~ Sophie Phillips

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February 11
FAST TRACK’S MARIA HARRISON AND THE CHISMS COLLABORATE FOR A TEA AND BEER EDUCATION NIGHT premium

Join Head Brewer Liz Chism of Council Brewing and John Harrison of Tea Gallerie tonight for their second #BeerEducationNight of 2016 where they will discuss blending tea with beer.

Flights of 3 special teas alongside 3 tea infused beers will be available for purchase as John and Liz cover how each integrate with the beer style. Flights start at 5:30pm and the talks will go from 6-7pm.

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January 29
Sam’s Club Giving Program Supporting Small Businesses Highlighted in Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s Annual Giving Report premium

The Sam’s Club Giving Program was highlighted in Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s 2015 annual Giving Report. In Fiscal Year 2015, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation awarded more than $1.4 billion in cash and in-kind donations, along with over one million hours of volunteer time by its associates. The Sam’s Club Giving Program and the Walmart Foundation are committed to increasing access to capital and training for small businesses. Accion is a proud partner of Sam’s Club’s impact-driven mission to foster small business development.

Established in 2008, the Sam’s Club Giving Program has provided over $18 million in grants to nonprofits in support of small business. Looking to continue the mission of equipping entrepreneurs with the resources they need, the Sam’s Club Giving Program recently made a five-year commitment to:

  • Unlock $100 million in new capital to low- and moderate-income small business owners
  • Support 28,000 jobs in the small business
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January 28
Accion and Opportunity Fund Launch Study Analyzing Impact of Microloans on U.S. Small Businesses premium

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Accion and Opportunity Fund, two of the nation’s leading microlenders, have launched a first-of-its-kind study to discover just how large of an impact a microloan (on average, $10,000) has on small businesses across America.  Microlending in the United States is not new; however, this will be the first national, longitudinal, qualitative study that focuses on economic well-being outcomes for individuals and their households, small businesses, and underserved communities in the U.S.

Leadership funding for this evaluation study has been provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, with significant additional grant funding from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“Increasing a family’s financial stability is critical for the optimal development of children,” says Loren S. Harris, director of family economic security at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “Assuring parents have access to capital to become small business owners is a crucial step toward economic security. We look forward to learning more from this study about …

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January 19
Accion earns top rating from Charity Navigator premium

Charity Navigator

Accion’s sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the fifth consecutive time that Accion has earned this top distinction, an honor only 6% of charities rated receive.

Since 2002, using objective, data-driven analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology.  These “Accountability & Transparency” metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities have “best practices” that minimize the chance of unethical activities and whether they freely share basic information about their organization with their donors and other stakeholders.

More-detailed information about Accion’s rating is available on Charity Navigator site. To learn more, click here!

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January 8
Shop Small: Black Angel Saucery premium

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Small batch, gourmet sauces have what you need to make your next meal memorable

Click here to shop Black Angel Saucery……

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