"Grameen America, a nonprofit that provides loans to help low-income entrepreneurs, is doing all it can to aid Black women whose businesses have been hurt by the pandemic. Its goal is to help 80,000 women by 2030. But it faces a major obstacle: The women it wants to help don’t always trust lenders so even though plenty of money is available, it doesn’t have enough borrowers.
To curb that distrust and meet its ambitious goal for the next decade Grameen America knows it needs to move fast to figure out what works best to overcome the skepticism.
With the help of a $9.5 million grant, it plans to do a series of quick tests to figure out what approaches work best to connect it to Black women, such as collaborating with churches, advocacy groups, or local governments.
Grameen’s grant is part of a $60 million effort by Blue Meridian, a collaborative that amasses money from wealthy foundations and individuals, including the Duke Endowment, MacKenzie Scott, and the JPB Foundation.
The new grants to Grameen and seven other nonprofits are all focused on ways to help people who have long been marginalized benefit as the economy recovers after Covid. They also reject the traditional approaches to fueling growth embraced by philanthropy in favor of a process that focuses on speedy testing of innovations rather than lengthy research projects. What’s more, all eight groups were vetted to ensure their commitment to racial equity was a core part of their operations."