Oct 25, 2013

Portland’s YWCA Continues Legacy through Next Step Loan Fund

Gift to The Opportunity Alliance Will Support Micro-loans
(Portland--) Through a legacy gift from the former Portland YWCA, The Opportunity Alliance has established the Next Step Loan Fund to support small businesses in Cumberland County with micro-loans. These loans will be specifically targeted at small enterprises attempting to overcome obstacles to growth and take that next critical step toward independence. In honor of the mission of the YWCA, preference for the Next Step micro-loans will be given to business owners or operators who have traditionally faced barriers to economic opportunities, including women and those in transition.

Through these loans, The Opportunity Alliance seeks to promote self-reliance, innovation and business development. Applicants will be encouraged to look for opportunities for cooperation and leverage with other community resources, including other grant or loan programs. The Next Step Loan Fund committee will consider each application and loan term on its own merits but the business enterprise will be located in Cumberland County and the amount of the loans will range from $500 to $5,000.

The idea of the Next Step Loan Fund has its roots in the closing of the 150 year old Portland YWCA in 2006. At that time, facing insurmountable economic challenges, the Y’s Board of Directors voted to sell the building it had occupied for many years. They determined that any funds left over after the sale and the payment of debts should be re-invested in the community through a gift that would in some way reflect and continue the YWCA’s mission to empower women, eliminate racism, and promote social justice. The Board decided to gift the funds to The Opportunity Alliance, an organization with nearly 50 years experience in meeting community, family and individual needs. In consultation with former YWCA board members, The Opportunity Alliance established the Next Step Loan Fund.

For more information on The Opportunity Alliance’s Next Step Loan Fund, please contact: Christine Stelling, Sr. Vice President for Development and Communications at The Opportunity Alliance: (207) 523-5030

To apply for a loan, log onto: