Wacif Transitions Management of Minnesota Avenue Main Street Program
Program Celebrates 5 Years of Driving Equitable Opportunity in Ward 7
Washington, D.C. (August 17, 2023) – WACIF announced that it is transitioning management of the Minnesota Avenue Main Street (MAMS) program after five years of service. The Department of Small Local Business Development (DSLBD) awarded the contract to H Street Main Street (HSMS), recognizing the need for continued effective management of the MAMS program.
“MAMS is a special program WACIF led through a partnership with DSLBD. After a successful five-year run, MAMS distributed over $191,000 in grants and provided hundreds of hours of advisory services and business management training to organizations in the Ward 7 commercial corridor,” said WACIF Chief Program Officer Kimberly D. Gayle. “We are happy to hand off the program to an esteemed organization such as HSMS and are confident in their capabilities to continue the positive impact on the Minnesota Avenue service area and its surrounding communities.”
MAMS was established to help revitalize the District’s second-largest commercial corridor east of the Anacostia River, also known as “Downtown Ward 7.” During Wacif’s five-year operation of MAMS, 72 businesses were served, and of those businesses, 96% were owned by entrepreneurs of color and 45% were owned by women of color.
The program has helped many entrepreneurs such as Kirubel Meseretu obtain funding to revive a main street office commercial building, supporting one of MAMS’ core pillars of establishing clean and safe streetscapes. “Working with WACIF has been an instrumental and constructive experience for our company. WACIF has served SKY GROUP DC LLC with the Minnesota Avenue Main Street (MAMS) 2021 grant in the utmost professional and timely manner,” said Meseretu. “I have admired their professionalism, excellent project management skills, and ability to streamline the grant process. Our project was a facelift on a distressed main street office commercial building. Without the assistance program and resources, it would have been challenging to fund our project. We are incredibly grateful and excited for the quick turnaround WACIF has provided.”
Building upon the existing partnership between WACIF and HSMS, the management transition ensures a seamless continuation of the MAMS program. Leveraging their past track record in effective collaboration, HSMS will work closely with WACIF to deliver the best services possible and provide ongoing support to the community.
“As we recognize the profound impact of WACIF, our hearts brim with enthusiasm for their journey ahead, as they focus their time and efforts on the organization’s core strengths, including providing resources in business lending, technical assistance, small business advisory services, and community wealth building initiatives that have empowered many underserved entrepreneurs and communities throughout Washington, D.C.,” says HSMS Executive Director Anwar Saleem. “With an unstoppable fervor, we confront head-on the social, economic, and systemic challenges that stand before us. Yet, we wholeheartedly embrace the unyielding strengths that have defined us at H Street Main Street. Now, with determination coursing through our veins, we step into the responsibility of guiding the Minnesota Avenue Main Street program. United by purpose, we will fuse our collective vision into a beacon of progress, illuminating the serious path towards community prosperity, one block at a time.”
About the Washington Area Community Investment Fund
Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (WACIF) is one of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area’s leading Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) focused on small business development. WACIF’s mission is to increase equity and economic opportunity in underserved communities in the Washington, D.C. area by investing knowledge, social, and financial capital in low-and-moderate-income entrepreneurs. To learn more about WACIF’s mission, visit www.wacif.org.
About H Street Main Street (HSMS)
H Street Main Street (HSMS) is a reputable organization that successfully implements an urban approach to the National Main Street model. Recognized as a Great American Main Street (GAMSA) winner and recipient of numerous accolades, HSMS is dedicated to addressing grassroots needs within the community. Their expertise and ability to create a positive impact along the Minnesota Avenue service area make them an ideal choice for managing the Minnesota Avenue Main Street program. For more information, visit www.MinnesotaAveMainStreet.org or www.HStreet.org.