LAFAYETTE, La., Nov. 7, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Representatives from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), American Bank & Trust Company, Home Bank, IBERIABANK, and St. Martin Bank & Trust Co., gathered today to award $14,800 in Partnership Grant Program (PGP) funds to a Lafayette, Louisiana-based nonprofit that empowers existing and aspiring entrepreneurs through guidance, resources, and support.
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The Enterprise Consortium of the Gulf Coast Women's Business Center (ECGC Women's Business Center) offers start-up assistance, business consultation services, training, networking opportunities, access to financing, and other services to business owners and aspiring business owners. ECGC Women's Business Center will use the PGP funds to provide technical assistance training to the clients it serves.
"I want to thank these community banks for making this grant available," said Representative Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro. "The Women's Business Center will help boost our communities by fostering small businesses, creating jobs and empowering women."
In 2012, FHLB Dallas awarded $225,000 in partnership grants through its member institutions. The grants provide funding for the operational needs of community-based organizations involved in affordable housing and community development. FHLB Dallas matches a member's cash contributions to a community-based organization of $500 up to $5,000 at a 3:1 ratio.
"The Women's Business Center is honored to receive the FHLB Dallas grant and we value the partnerships we have with our banking community," said Heather Broussard, director of the ECGC Women's Business Center. "Thanks to the generosity of the banks in the Acadiana area that contributed to us, we are able to expand services to more aspiring and existing entrepreneurs and assist them in starting and growing their businesses."
Rose Shuff, executive director of the Aphasia Center of Acadiana, Inc., knows first-hand the value of the ECGC Women's Business Center. Ms. Shuff went to the center for help a couple of years ago when launching her nonprofit. The Aphasia Center of Acadiana is currently housed within the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Department of Communicative Disorders. Ms. Shuff, who suffered a stroke in 1996, founded the center to help other people who suffer from communicative disorders. The center uses graduate students from the university and provides a variety of services including informational counseling for individuals with a neurogenic communicative disorder, monthly aphasia support groups, informational outreach regarding various neurogenic communicative disorders, therapy services for communicative impairments and assistance with referrals for other services not provided at the center.
"I wanted to open a nonprofit and I heard about the Women's Business Center. They helped me get started with my organization. I hadn't owned a business before and so starting a nonprofit was all new to me. I didn't know where to get started. The Women's Business Center helped me with developing a business plan, managing the state and local administrative process to achieve nonprofit status, and registering with the Secretary of State, among other things like networking. They've really helped me out, so I'm very thankful to them."
Anthony James, liaison to the Lafayette Commission on the Needs of Women, also attended the event and shared the city's support for ECGC Women's Business Center's work in the communities.
"As the city/parish liaison to the Lafayette Commission on the Needs of Women, let me express that it is a great thing any time additional resources are brought into the community to address the needs of women," said Mr. James. "We salute ECGC for securing this much needed funding and wish to sincerely thank the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas for making it possible. It is a partnership that is sure to produce a great return on investment."
Four community financial institutions awarded PGP funds to ECGC Women's Business Center this year.
American Bank & Trust Company and FHLB Dallas awarded $800 to ECGC Women's Business Center.
"Since 1958, American Bank & Trust Company has prided itself on being an active member of the communities we serve," said CFO George Comeau. "Through the PGP, our partnership with FHLB Dallas, and the participation of the other community banks present here today, we are able to support ECGC Women's Business Center's mission to assist aspiring and existing business owners, and ultimately serve the communities by bringing in more small businesses and nonprofits to provide valuable services."
IBERIABANK and FHLB Dallas awarded $10,000 to ECGC Women's Business Center.
"IBERIABANK has a long history of community partnerships and we are proud to support the efforts of the ECGC Women's Business Center," said Jerry Vascocu, IBERIABANK's Lafayette market president. "We believe we can make significant strides in bettering the communities around us through an investment that supports and encourages entrepreneurism."
St. Martin Bank & Trust Co. and FHLB Dallas awarded $2,000 to ECGC Women's Business Center.
"St. Martin Bank & Trust Company strongly supports and encourages the ECGC Women's Business Center in its endeavors to assist local aspiring business owners within our community," said President Paul A. Durand. "Grassroots efforts such as theirs help to build a stronger and more vibrant local economy, which greatly benefits all members of the community."
Home Bank and FHLB Dallas awarded $2,000 to ECGC Women's Business Center.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $35.2 billion as of September 30, 2012, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to more than 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at fhlb.com.
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CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445
Source:Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas