STAMFORD, Conn. – Charter Communications, Inc. today announced the company will invest $10 million in partnership with both the National Urban League (NUL) and National Action Network (NAN) to support Black and other minority-owned small businesses in underserved communities. This investment will help strengthen small businesses and provide a long-term economic impact vital to the continued development and growth of these communities.
Charter’s Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund (the Loan Fund) will invest $3 million in NUL’s community development financial institution (CDFI), the Urban Empowerment Fund (UEF), which will make individual loans to minority-owned small businesses and, under the direction of and on behalf of NAN, the Loan Fund will invest an additional $3 million in low-interest loans directly to CDFIs. In addition, Charter will provide $3.5 million in PSA value to promote its partners’ Loan Fund opportunities, and will contribute a $500,000 capacity grant to the NUL for revitalizing its CDFI platform including funding for staffing, infrastructure, and operations.
“In all communities, small business ownership and growth are fundamental to developing and sustaining economic power, which is critical to their long-term success,” said Tom Rutledge, Chairman and CEO of Charter Communications. “Building on our valued partnerships with the National Urban League and National Action Network, these investments will support small diverse-owned businesses through access to much-needed low-interest capital and help build thriving communities across the country.”
The NUL’s small business lending subsidiary, UEF, provides loans and coaching to minority-owned businesses that provide jobs and revenue to economically distressed areas and other underserved communities.
"Small Black-owned businesses, a primary economic driver in Black neighborhoods, are less likely to be approved for loans than their White-owned counterparts, and when they are approved, they receive smaller amounts and at higher interest rates,” said Marc H. Morial, National Urban League President and CEO. “As we face the most daunting economic landscape since the Great Depression, committed and enlightened partners like Charter are more valued than ever before. Charter is helping the National Urban League build stronger and more stable communities that create opportunity for prosperity."
“In order to achieve the economic equality we want to see, we need to support our Black businesses and our Black entrepreneurs,” said Reverend Al Sharpton. “For too long, our talented Black communities have been deprived of low interest loans, capital and a myriad of resources to help Black businesses thrive and prosper, a reality that has lasted decades inhibiting us from playing and competing in a level playing field. This partnership is one more step to address the systemic scarcity in our communities and to underscore much needed investment to turn the tide of inequity.”
In February, Charter launched the Loan Fund committing to invest an initial $10 million in capital by the end of 2021 by making low-interest loans through CDFIs to small businesses whose goods and services help meet core needs in underserved communities within Charter’s 41-state operating footprint. With the addition of the investment partnerships with the NUL and NAN, Charter’s Loan Fund commitment has increased to $13 million, and the NUL UEF investment represents the fourth made by the Loan Fund in the past four months. Charter previously announced $1 million investments in Pursuit Community Finance in New York, PeopleFund in Texas, and the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) in Ohio. Over the next year, the Loan Fund expects to invest an additional $4 million across CDFIs in California, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin, in addition to the $3 million into CDFIs as directed by NAN.
In addition to the loans, each CDFI receives a grant to fund technical assistance programs and professional training for small businesses to help establish sound business practices necessary for long-term growth and continuity. These grants have recently been made to provide support to businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR) is a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator serving more than 29 million customers in 41 states through its Spectrum brand. Over an advanced communications network, the company offers a full range of state-of-the-art residential and business services including Spectrum Internet®, TV, Mobile and Voice.
For small and medium-sized companies, Spectrum Business® delivers the same suite of broadband products and services coupled with special features and applications to enhance productivity, while for larger businesses and government entities, Spectrum Enterprise provides highly customized, fiber-based solutions. Spectrum Reach® delivers tailored advertising and production for the modern media landscape. The company also distributes award-winning news coverage, sports and high-quality original programming to its customers through Spectrum Networks and Spectrum Originals. More information about Charter can be found at corporate.charter.com.
About National Urban League (NUL)
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 90 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide. Visit www.nul.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @NatUrbanLeague.
About National Action Network (NAN)
National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender. For more information go to www.nationalactionnetwork.net.
National Urban League
National Action Network