Sistas in Business, a nonprofit that helps African-American women business owners, received a $10,000 Partnership Grant Program (PGP) award last week from Comerica Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). The PGP grant will be used to make technical assistance available to small business startups and provide materials for its financial literacy programs.
Sistas in Business was founded in 2004 by Laura Thompson, an entrepreneur who wanted to meet other business women, share ideas, and make friends. She began by sending 100 lunch invitations to African-American women business owners and providing free lunches to the first 20 women who responded. The company blossomed and has held monthly lunches for almost 10 years.
“Sistas in Business was established for the purpose of educating, inspiring, and connecting African-American women business owners,” Thompson said. “All of the Sistas in Business members benefit from being involved in the group. We have many success stories, such as Adrienne, a woman who was doing makeup as a hobby, and after coming to a workshop, created a successful business as a makeup artist. At her first function, she met a woman and was hired to do the makeup for a wedding party that weekend. She said her life has changed as a result of her involvement with Sistas in Business.”
Comerica Bank, an FHLB Dallas member, participates in the PGP, which provides funding for the operational needs of community-based organizations involved in affordable housing and economic development. FHLB Dallas matches a member’s cash contribution to a community-based organization of $500 up to $5,000 at a 3:1 ratio.
“Comerica wanted to give back to the San Antonio community, and fortunately, we found Sistas in Business,” Vanessa T. Reed, South Texas CRA manager for Comerica Bank, said. “Comerica has provided Sistas in Business with donations and financial literacy materials, in addition to sponsoring this grant. I am so impressed by how Sistas in Business gives back to the community, and their projects are in line with Comerica’s mission to serve and empower the San Antonio community.”
In 2014, FHLB Dallas awarded $225,000 in PGP awards through its members.
“Financial literacy is vital to the prosperity of small businesses,” Greg Hettrick, vice president and director of Community Investment of FHLB Dallas, said. “Sistas in Business takes this to heart by providing financial literacy programs and unique networking opportunities to women-owned businesses, and this grant will allow many more women information to create and sustain a successful business.”