To our supporters:
Last year, LEND grew at an exciting rate, disbursing $15,000 in microloans and working with over 10 new businesses through our Business Training Program. Our all-time lending has now exceeded the $27,000 mark, and we hope to surpass this figure in the upcoming years.
As we resume our operations after the summer hiatus, we anticipate an immediate demand for our services. We are currently working with 4 new local businesses and have identified over $12,000 in lending opportunities. These businesses range from a pet day-care to bakeries, attesting to the vibrant and unique small business environment in Evanston.
LEND also is in the process of incorporating as a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, independent of Northwestern University. We are hoping to secure this legal status by the end of the school year. This change will allow us to garner more institutional support and operate with more autonomy. While strategic guidance will be derived from our Board of Directors, LEND will continue to be operated by Northwestern students, with our mission and vision unchanged.
Entrepreneurs are requesting loans at an unprecedented rate, and we want to be able to meet their needs. However, we must continue to grow our capital base - and for that, we look to you, our supporters! Our capacity to lend must grow lockstep with demand, as we want to be equipped to support every passionate entrepreneur we encounter.
Support small business owners, help LEND grow, and become part of the microfinance movement that is sweeping across the nation. We believe change begins at a micro-level, and your contributions are vital to catalyzing that change.
Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com -- we would love to hear from you!
As always, we deeply appreciate your enduring support.
Ellen King opens Hewn Bakery on Dempster, city officials attend
After months of meticulous preparation and high anticipation, LEND client Ellen King opened the wooden doors of Hewn Bakery the morning of June 11. City officials and friends gathered at the storefront on Dempster Street to sample freshly baked chunks of Ellen’s artisan bread, which her staff hand-mixes, hand-shapes, and naturally ferments daily without the use of any preservatives, chemicals or additives. In addition to specialty breads, the shop also offers salads and sandwiches based on seasonal vegetables and grains.
This past year prior to opening, LEND members Salil, Gaurav and Jang worked extensively with Ellen to weigh options before she made the ambitious decision to operate a physical storefront for her baked goods business. Together, LEND and Ellen explored the risks and costs of opening and financing a venture like Hewn.
Now, less than two months after its ribbon cutting, Hewn has experienced incredible success as Evanston locals embrace its craftsman’s approach to a traditional staple and philosophy of healthy eating. With a growing base of neighborhood regulars, Hewn is already making a name for itself in the community, and LEND coulldn't be prouder.
Hewn is located at 810 Dempster St. Check out Ellen's website and Facebook page to learn more about her story and approach to bread.
Courtesy of evanstonnow.com
Courtesy of hewnbread.com
With two new loans, LEND approaches all-time $30,000 lending mark
Less than three months after clearing the $20,000 benchmark in loans to Evanston businesses, LEND has expanded its microlending program to support a local dog care & boarding business and an Evanston-based therapist.
Rex’s Place provides day care, boarding and training services to lucky canines in the North Shore area with over 11,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor play areas. Owner Kathy Lichtenstein is using her microloan to upgrade the facilities to keep her furry customers comfortable in the hot summer months!
Therapist Mary Jackson’s microloan will help her expand the geographical range of her services, as well as her operating hours.
LEND works with popular new Downtown Evanston restaurant Aguas Tortas
LEND staff member Jang Kim works with Juan Jimenez, owner ofAguas Tortas, a six-month-old restuarant in Evanston already known for its authentic Mexican cuisine and welcoming atmosphere.
An experienced restuarateur, Juan invited LEND to take a look at his business model to gain fresh perspective on his cost structuring and profitability. And of course, LEND staff learned a lot working with a veteran of the food industry!
LEND welcomes three new staff members!
As a few members graduated this past June, LEND invited three promising new members to grow the team into the 2013-2014 academic year.
From left, David Kim (2016), Victoria Chi (2016) and Chris Harlow (2016), bring bright personalities and the versatility to span roles and operations within the organization. They are currently undergoing rigourous staff training in client relations and lending, and will begin working alongside veteran staff members at client meetings in the fall.
We are excited to have such dynamic team players on board and look forward to immersing them in LEND's unique culture and mission in their next three years as undergraduates.
In March, LEND approved a second microloan for SeeJaneSparkle, the year-old Main Street jewelry boutique. Second microloans typically indicate good business health and growing demand; SJS is LEND’s first-ever repeat client.
In disbursing the loan, LEND has injected over $20,000 in high-impact financing into the Evanston economy over the last 3 years.
New loan approved for therapist
Evanston-based therapist Mary Jackson received LEND's eighth microloan on Friday, April 19. The microloan will help Jackson expand the geographical range of her services, as well as her operating hours.
With the new year underway, there are a number of initiatives that are ongoing at LEND. Our newest members have completed their staff training, and will begin working on the frontlines directly with our clients.
Our efforts to formalize our infrastructure are continuing from last year, and nearing completion. We have created online systems and databases that increase accessibility and ease for clients to apply for our services. These systems will also aggregate data and allow us to track metrics to measure LEND's performance.
As we look forward, we continue to build our visibility in the community and seek to make LEND as accessible as possible to entrepreneurs in need of assistance in Evanston. We will continue networking with prominent local organizations but will simultaneously undertake a grassroots outreach campaign.
We have a number of new business training and loan clients in our pipeline, and will continue striving to serve more entrepreneurs and small businesses in Evanston. We realize the impact our services have had in the community thus far, and will focus on growing our presence and reputation as a reliable economic resource in the local community.
Your support for LEND is impacting entrepreneurs everyday and fostering a brighter community. Your donations make an impact that will sustain for years to come and will affect numerous individuals.
As always, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org -- we would love to hear from you!
PresidentLending for Evanston and Northwestern Development (LEND)
As the last traces of summer fade away, the LEND team is excited to usher in a new year. The previous twelve months have seen the onboarding of a new team, the disbursal of $7500 in new loans, recognition from the city of Evanston, and numerous small businesses that have benefited from LEND's services. We have carefully scaled-up LEND's programs while enhancing the program's quality and have fostered close relationships with other organizations throughout the community. All this, in a year.
Widely held as a unique resource within the fabric of the Evanston community, LEND has received unprecedented interest for our services. We have been fielding referrals and inquiries throughout the summer months, and entrepreneurs are eagerly anticipating the resumption of our lending and business training programs.
However, we realize our work is nowhere near done. The stagnant economy has tightened credit and has continued to put small businesses at risk of shutting down. Entrepreneurs face daunting barriers to entry and have few allies to help them. LEND pledges to continue building our organization both internally and externally to ensure that we are here to serve local entrepreneurs for years to come. However, as the demand for microloans increases, our capital needs also grow. That is when we look to you -- our supporters.
You have probably heard it a thousand times: small businesses are the growth engine of our economy. Your contributions are helping small businesses survive the recession and are consequently building a more verdant community. As we venture into a new year, please consider reaffirming your support for LEND by making a donation. We are thrilled that you are with us as we continue to invest in local entrepreneurs.
Thank you, as always, and best regards,
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