At a former 84 Lumber site in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, an entrepreneur is planning to re-establish the roots of American whiskey production through Ponfeigh Distillery, which will initially create 15 local jobs. Bankers from our retail and commercial teams as well as our SBA team partnered to secure a $4,042,000 real estate acquisition and construction loan through the SBA, which will result in renewed economic activity, opportunity for additional job availability and a restoring a once blighted piece of real estate into a true community asset.
Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI)
Not every business owner has equitable access to funding, education or the infrastructure to make meaningful innovations. That's why in 2021 we invested $1,000,000 into ECDI based out of Columbus, Ohio, which supports underserved populations to drive economic growth, particularly minority and women-owned businesses.
Since 2004, ECDI has distributed $91,600,000 in loans and created or retained 13,097 jobs. Entrepreneurs served by ECDI are 47% economically disadvantaged, 62% African American, 49% female and 16% new American.
This investment with ECDI will allow their team to continue to provide small business loans, education for entrepreneurs, professional mentoring and one-to-one business support.
The Progress Fund
Since it's inception in 1997, The Progress Fund in Greensburg, Pa, has made 615 loans totaling more than $86,700,000 to businesses in order to create and sustain jobs. Through our 2021 investment of$5,000,000, the organization will continue to provide loans, financial analysis, marketing assistance and referrals to partner economic development groups for the small businesses they serve. With an average loan size of $150,000, The Progress Fund is making a marked impact on businesses otherwise unable to access capital particularly to recreational businesses, restaurants and manufacturing.
Creating Opportunities to Build Careers in Banking
Nearly every industry has experienced the challenges of finding qualified talent and the "great resignation" brought on by careers without borders. Recruiting top talent into banking careers has been spurred by virtual career fairs and hiring fests across our footprint for interviews and on-the-spot offers.
Under the leadership of our Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Vicki Fox, our internal committee designed to welcome new minority employees and our joint Hiring Fest with the Stark County Community Action Agency are steps we're taking to ensure access to career progression for minority employees.