CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cambridge Savings Bank (CSB), a full-service mutual bank with a customer-first approach and more than $6 billion in assets, is pleased to announce its recent approval of a $100,000 grant in support of the Cambridge Equity Fund. This initiative was launched by the Sustainable Business Network (SBN), an established 501(c)(3) organization that aims to make business a vehicle for social, environmental, and economic change. The Cambridge Equity Fund, which operates as a program within SBN’s Cambridge-Somerville Black Business Network (CSBBN), will offer essential resources that seek to support and uplift minority-owned businesses in the local community.
Launched in August 2020, CSBBN serves as a platform for Black entrepreneurs to come together, identifying targeted programs that support their success in a post-pandemic landscape. This most recent initiative collaborates with Black-owned businesses in Cambridge and Somerville, supporting those in the start-up, expansion, or recovery phase following the COVID-19 pandemic. CSB's commitment to this grant reinforces its customer-first approach and dedication to fostering a thriving and inclusive business ecosystem.
"The generous grant from Cambridge Savings Bank is a full circle moment for me, as I have been a CSB customer for nearly 30 years. I have always felt that CSB was a place I could turn to for support,” said Nicola Williams, Facilitator and Founder of Cambridge-Somerville Black Business Network, and Board Member of Sustainable Business Network. “This grant will significantly bolster our efforts to address the intersecting racial, economic, and health crises faced by minority-owned businesses in our community after the pandemic. Addressing the primary cause of Black businesses' failure, which is a lack of follow-up capital and technical assistance, CSB's timely support becomes a crucial step forward in our efforts to transform the narrative and confront historical inequities head-on.”
Out of the total funds granted, $80,000 has been allocated to extend technical assistance grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 to chosen businesses. The expert team at SBN will assume a crucial role in supervising the grant application process, ensuring that the capital reaches the 10 to 15 small businesses that are in greatest need of financing to fuel their growth. Furthermore, the staff at SBN has established a regular and systematic follow-up process with the grant winners to ensure that the funds are appropriately administered and utilized to sustain growth.
The remaining $20,000 that CSB has contributed to the Cambridge Equity Fund will be directed to program administration, marketing campaigns, necessary office materials, and general overhead costs associated with running the initiative.
“With Nicola's influence and passion driving our efforts to support Black-owned businesses, I am confident in the potential for success. We are equally grateful for partners like Cambridge Savings Bank, whose support makes this possible,” said Laury Hammel, Executive Director at Sustainable Business Network. “Black and minority business owners often face limited access to family wealth or affluent networks, along with higher debt levels that can hinder credit access. CSB is fully aware of this issue and genuinely committed to making a positive impact. Their visible and active support for local causes serves as a strong example, and we hope that their efforts will inspire other organizations to join our initiative.”
In addition to the grants, CSB will provide mentorship to minority entrepreneurs. Moreover, CSB will prioritize providing comprehensive small business underwriting training to members of the Cambridge Equity Fund task force, ensuring a fair assessment of risks and informed decision-making.
“Cambridge Savings Bank is dedicated to supporting the stability and improving the financial well-being of the communities that we serve,” said Brad Fitts, First Vice President, Small Business Development Team Leader at Cambridge Savings Bank. “Our valued partners, like the Sustainable Business Network, contribute to the realization of this crucial endeavor. Together, our team aims to create a world where communities can thrive with equitable opportunities, confidence, and financial well-being.”
Through its dedicated community partnership efforts, CSB has supported a variety of non-profit and community programs through grants, scholarships, sponsorships, financial education courses and more. The bank also offers a Small Business Financial Education Program to the broader community, providing small businesses with information on best practices related to marketing, cash flow, available financing options and additional topics that can contribute to a company’s overall financial health.
For more information, please visit cambridgesavings.com/community.
About Cambridge Savings Bank
Cambridge Savings Bank is a full-service banking institution with over $6 billion in assets. As a mutual bank, CSB is committed to improving the quality of life of our employees, customers, and the communities we serve. One of the oldest and largest community banks in Massachusetts, Cambridge Savings Bank offers a full line of individual and business banking services across a robust Massachusetts-based branch network and through digital banking solutions for commercial, small business and consumer customers. In March 2023, Kroll Bond Rating Agency Affirmed CSB’s investment-grade rating, reinforcing the bank’s position as a reliable business lender. To learn more about how CSB can meet your needs, visit us at cambridgesavings.com, or better yet, come meet us to help you make the most out of your banking relationship. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
About Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts
Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts (SBN) was founded in 1988 as the nation’s first business trade association with a mission of making business a vehicle for social, environmental, and economic change. Since then, SBN and our allies have raised the bar for what’s expected from the business community. During this time, we’ve witnessed the immense potential that local entrepreneurs have for doing good. SBN envisions a resilient world economy composed of thousands of inter-connected local economies that benefit the lives of all people and all living things. SBN endeavors to build a successful model in Massachusetts and New England that inspires others to join with us in growing the sustainable economy movement. You can learn more at sbnmass.org.