FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Brendon Miller, (202) 529-5505 ext. 224
Wacif Named Finalist for Community Champion Award
Think Local First awards honor organizations advancing economic, environmental, racial, and social equity
Washington, D.C. (October 2, 2018) – The Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (Wacif) today announced its nomination as a finalist for Think Local First’s Community Champion Award which celebrates local organizations making a significant and noticeable impact in the community. An independent judging panel composed of local business and community leaders, activists, journalists, and citizens selected nominees in seven award categories: Community Champion, Builder, DC Maker, Green Thumb, High Road, Pioneer, and Ripple Effect.
“Think Local First is an incredible advocate for local businesses, and we are thankful to be recognized alongside so many worthy organizations,” said Wacif Executive Director Harold Pettigrew. “It is particularly gratifying that partners we’ve served are also finalists for these awards, underscoring the fundamental truth that economic, social, and racial equity are shared, collaborative endeavors.”
The Local First Awards is an initiative of Think Local First DC, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting local independent businesses and promoting their positive impact on our communities to the public. The Local First Awards is a celebration of local independent businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists who give back to the community and create a positive impact.
In the last seven years, Wacif has closed more than $9.2 million in loans and assisted over 2,000 entrepreneurs with coaching and technical assistance, sustaining more than 300 local jobs. In the last year, Wacif has extended approximately $500,000 in loans through a new microloan fund (District Capitalized), enrolled a second cohort of underserved entrepreneurs in its Ascend Capital Accelerator, and taken a leading role in small business development east of the Anacostia River by spearheading the Minnesota Avenue Main Streets Program. The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund recently awarded Wacif a $400,000 competitive national grant to help the organization meet ambitious growth targets for community impact through lending and technical assistance.
Wacif’s work is ultimately about investing in people. Wacif invested in Rebecca Antoine, Ian Reid, and Jeff Miskiri when they were denied financing in 2011, providing a $175,000 loan to finish construction on their business. Today their restaurant, Po Boy Jim, has created over 40 jobs in the community, and with a second loan from Wacif, opened a second location in Shaw earlier this month. Similarly, when entrepreneurs Kendra and Omekongo Dibinga were denied a bank loan, they were referred to Wacif and, after building their financial capability and becoming loan ready, a Wacif loan helped them open Bikram Yoga Riverdale Park. Within 16 months, they opened a second location, and today Kendra has grown her business to three successful locations in four years, creating jobs and a healthier DC community.
Award Winners will announced at the Local First Awards on Thursday, October 18, 2018. For more information about the event, please visit http://thinklocalfirstdc.org/local-first-awards/.
On October 4th, Wacif will celebrate its 31st Annual Celebration with the launch of new small business initiatives. For more information about sponsoring or attending the celebration, please visit www.wacif.org.
About the Washington Area Community Investment Fund
The Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (Wacif) is one of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area’s leading Community Development Financial Institution’s (CDFI) focused on small business development. Wacif’s mission is to increase equity and economic opportunity in underserved communities in the Washington DC area by investing knowledge, social, and financial capital in low-and moderate-income entrepreneurs. In the last seven years, Wacif has closed more than $9.2 million in loans and assisted over 2,000 entrepreneurs with coaching and technical assistance, sustaining more than 300 local jobs. Learn more at http://wacif.org.
About Think Local First
Think Local First DC, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting local independent businesses and promoting their positive impact on our communities to the public. Since its formation in 2006, Think Local First DC has been dedicated to supporting local independent business in the nation’s capital. Think Local First’s mission is to transform Washington, DC’s economy by developing and implementing solutions that strengthen the local independent business community and improve its ability to make D.C. a more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant place to live. Learn more at http://thinklocalfirst.com.