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The James Irvine Foundation presented Fresno Community Development Financial Institution (Fresno CDFI), a subsidiary of Fresno EOC, with a $1,000,000 grant to enhance and support Fresno CDFI’s proven entrepreneurship development model featuring comprehensive pre- and post-loan support in collaboration with partners throughout California including small business development centers, financial institutions, municipalities, and other lenders. “Fresno CDFI provides essential supports…

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The Marcus family opens their second Subway Restaurant in West Fresno thanks to a small business loan from Fresno CDFI. For over 50 years the Marcus family has lived and operated a business in West Fresno. From the first black-owned pharmacy to their first Subway restaurant in West Fresno, they have remained loyal to the South West Fresno community. We celebrate their accomplishments as they have paved the way for other West Fresno entrepreneurs. George Marcus, owner of…

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Al and Christy Kroell

Posted on Aug 30, 2013

Al and Christy Kroell Al and Christy Kroell had been serving in the military 20 years when Al experienced the unthinkable. He had an accident that quickly ended his career. It took over 52 surgeries in subsequent years to rehabilitate him back. Several years after Al's accident, Christy sustained a near fatal car crash that left her disabled as well and had no choice but to leave her job at the Navy Credit Union. In 2004, Al and Christy were no longer affiliated to the military base in…

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Greg and Beth Smith of Click Co, LLC A protein drink that tastes like a coffee house gourmet coffee drink? It sounds like an active person's dream come true! But the Greg and Beth Smith's personal dream of expanding the product line with new flavors was halted when our economic environment took a turn for the worse; banks were leery of lending, let alone to a start-up business. When they turned to Fresno CDFI the couple was able to secure $30,000 for the expansion and promotion of a new product…

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Edward Escalante of All Season AC & Heating Edward Escalante started his business in 1993 as a qualified HVAC contractor. Business was great; Edward employed two full time workers and profited from a steady stream of business. And then the recession hit. But when the market crashed, Edward’s business suffered, just like many small businesses throughout the country. His customers were slow to pay for services or were not paying at all. Some filed for bankruptcy. What was worse: while…

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Chai Lee of Coverall

Posted on Aug 30, 2013

Chai Lee of Coverall This story begins in a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand - a small parcel of land littered with makeshift homes and buildings. These impromptu villages are built to serve one purpose: provide the most basic human needs for the shortest amount of time. However, some refugees have been at these camps since 1975 and have given up hope of finding a better life.* But not Chai Lee and his family. Chai, 24 years old, had spent the majority of his life in the camp. He wanted better…

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