Temple Foundation awards grants to promote economic development

Temple Foundation awards grants to promote economic development
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 3:04 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2021 at 10:06 PM CST
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Small businesses in Deep East Texas may soon receive additional guidance and funding thanks to the T.L.L. Temple Foundation.

The foundation found a way to fill a significant gap in service for rural residents.

During the height of the pandemic, the T.L.L. Temple Foundation discovered there were no community development financial institutions. The certification links disadvantaged communities to federal and private sector dollars.

“Without CDFIs small businesses, rural communities weren’t able to access a lot of the stimulus funds and payroll protection loans,” said Wynn Rosser, the foundation CEO.

So, foundation employees selected the specialized lending organizations, Communities Unlimited and PeopleFund to receive over $1 million in grants. In turn the organizations provide at least $3 million in loans to qualified small business owners in a 12 county Deep East Texas region.

“There’s coaching, business planning that’s available first. And then there’s a lending process as well,” explained Rosser.

The accelerated progress on the Temple Foundation’s strategic plan is expected to lead to additional public and private funding.

And traditional banks are totally on board, according to Rosser.

“Because the banks know they can’t help everyone that comes in right here because of their lending criteria.”

The Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation sees an opportunity for small business startups and expansion.

“And if you have never owned a business before and don’t have any sort of credit history, it can be pretty hard to get financing. So, these organizations really fill in the gap,” said NEDCO’S CEO, Larissa Philpot-Brown.

Rosser says Communities Unlimited and PeopleFund are seeking locations for permanent offices. Outreach workers will serve the rural areas.

All this can happen in early 2022, holding true to the ‘Do it right. But do it right now,’ Temple legacy.

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