The program aims to help low-income families who have experienced loss of income due to COVID-19

Small business owners were able to use the funds to keep their businesses afloat 

The hearing was aimed at understanding how well federal aid has served these businesses
Key promotions in 2020

Thank you for your financial support this year

Happy Holidays!
From our LEDC familia to yours, Happy Holidays!

From all of us at the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), Happy Holidays! 

This year has been full of challenges for everyone, which is why we wanted to end it on a positive note. For our final newsletter of 2020, we are highlighting some of our most impactful work from the past year. 

We hope these stories inspire you to make a gift to LEDC to ensure underserved communities in DC, MD, VA, and Puerto Rico survive COVID-19 and emerge more secure once the spread of the virus is brought under control.

These results would not be possible without our team, who stepped up to the plate and delivered the results you'll read about below. They have not stopped working to help small businesses and vulnerable families during COVID-19. 

Most recently, we released our first-ever Holiday Gift Guide supporting female entrepreneurs. It features products from over 40 female entrepreneurs, particularly women of color. Although the season of giving is almost over, we encourage you to shop from these women-owned businesses by visiting

We also launched the LEDC Small Business Directory. It features past and current small businesses we have supported through our Small Business Programs. Visit to browse our small business directory today.

Once again, Happy Holidays! We hope you safely enjoy this special time of year with your loved ones. 

 -The LEDC Familia
Over $15 Million in Grants and Loans Deployed to Families and Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
LEDC deployed cash assistance grants on behalf of local governments and private donors to families and businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated families and small businesses all around the country. Heads of households have lost jobs, others have had to walk away from careers to meet growing demands at home, and many are at risk of losing their housing. While some businesses have been able to get creative and shift their business model, many simply lack the funds and resources to weather the disruption. That is why LEDC has also adapted its operations and created a new department, Direct Community Investments, to help government and private donors deploy financial assistance to families and small businesses as quickly as possible. 

To date, LEDC's Direct Community Investments, Small Business and Housing teams have deployed over $15MM in grants, forgivable loans, and loans with favorable terms to families and businesses in need. This averages out to over $1MM per month. These funds have helped provide relief to families and businesses who are struggling with issues like paying rent, putting food on the table, paying employees and adapting business models, as a result of COVID-19.

Programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), DC's Department of Housing and Community Development's Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program, DC's Small Business Recovery and Streatery Winter Ready Grant Programs, and Baltimore City's Emergency Relief for Immigrant Families (ERIF) are examples of programs we have supported that have been instrumental in helping vulnerable families and small businesses--especially households and businesses of color--alleviate financial pressures caused by the pandemic. 

The road to recovery for vulnerable families and small businesses will be long and challenging. In addition to assisting with rapid deployment of financial assistance, we have expanded and added new programming. Our small business advisory team has expanded our Business Resilience technical assistance services to ensure that businesses are adapting to new consumer behaviors, and our housing team is expanding its services to include a comprehensive eviction prevention model.
ResilientBusinessCorridorsVideoWatch: LEDC's Resilient Business Corridors Work in Action in Wheaton and Along the Purple Line

This year, LEDC continued to work closely with small businesses, not only impacted by COVID, but additionally impacted by the Purple Line transit project and the Wheaton Revitalization Project. 

Here is a short video about the resiliency work we did in these business corridors:

LEDC's Housing Team Disbursed $750k in Emergency Rental Assistance Payments to DC Residents
The program aims to help low-income families who have experienced loss of income due to COVID-19

LEDC's Housing team was selected by the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to provide rental assistance to DC residents. The team was tasked with deploying $750,000, via The Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Program, to low-income tenants who experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19 and, as a result, were not able to pay their rent. It is estimated that over 800,000 people around the country were at risk of eviction before the pandemic, now that number is in the millions. 

LEDC has supported tenants and aspiring homebuyers for decades. Our tenant organizing team works with low-income families to ensure they have access to affordable housing. Now, in the midst of a global health and economic crisis, we are honored to have been selected to support DC's most vulnerable tenants by providing rental assistance.  

In a time where the safest place to be is your home, no one should be faced with eviction. The TBRA program is one of the many ways our Housing team stepped up to the plate to provide assistance to those in need in the District. 
$2.2 Million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Forgivable Loans Deployed to Small Businesses
Small business owners were able to use the funds to keep their businesses afloat 

In April, before the designation was made widely available to alternative lenders, LEDC became designated as a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lender. LEDC staff worked around the clock to fundraise and stand up new systems and processes to deploy these new loans. LEDC deployed a total of $2.2 Million in forgivable PPP loans to small businesses in need. These loans have been instrumental in helping small businesses cover their operating expenses and keeping their workers on payroll.  

LEDC's Small Business Lending team deployed 109 loans to small businesses in the DC, MD, VA region and Puerto Rico. With an average loan size of $20,000, LEDC was able to reach local, minority-owned businesses who would have otherwise had trouble accessing these funds. 

Given 66% of minority-owned small businesses are worried about having to permanently close their business, we believe this program was a step in the right direction. 

Following the disbursement of these funds, our Small Business Development team began hosting free workshops on the forgiveness process. These bilingual workshops were instrumental at helping entrepreneurs understand the application process and ensure they were compliant with the SBA's forgiveness requirements. 

Although the pandemic has crippled small businesses around the country, several reports show that these forgivable loans, specifically in DC, have been very helpful to small businesses and their employees. 

As a PPP lender, LEDC is proud to have been a critical source of relief for small businesses during these trying times. We look forward to continuing to serve minority-owned small businesses so they may emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever. 
The hearing was aimed at understanding how well federal aid has served these businesses

LEDC's Executive Directory & CEO Marla Bilonick had the privilege of testifying virtually before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on minority-owned small businesses. 

Given the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on these businesses, the hearing was critical in helping lawmakers understand the unique obstacles entrepreneurs have faced, especially pertaining to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 

Marla highlighted LEDC's role in deploying PPP loans to minority-owned businesses. While these loans have been instrumental at helping small businesses survive, she noted that many immigrant- and minority-owned businesses faced additional barriers when applying, including preparing their application and gathering the necessary documents that are required.  

Addressing the fact that they are already vulnerable, Marla expressed concern over many small businesses not being able to reopen their doors, whether that's because they can't pay rent, keep their employees on payroll, or in some cases juggle their business while also caring for their children. 

While it may seem that many businesses are changing their business models to adapt to the times, Marla emphasized that for many small businesses, the option to "pivot" does not necessarily align with their product/service, operational capacity, or market demand. Even the most innovative business would face significant challenges to staying open when facing such significant losses in revenue month over month. The notion that all businesses will find opportunities to grow during the pandemic is simply false.  

We are grateful to be given the opportunity to advocate for the communities we serve and hope future COVID-19 financial assistance takes into account the needs of minority- and immigrant-owned small businesses.  

To watch the full hearing, click here.
Follow along to get the latest news and opportunities in Puerto Rico!

This summer, we launched Facebook and Twitter accounts for our Puerto Rico market. Through this effort, we have been able to connect with residents to provide the latest information about our small business lending services. 

Follow along and support our efforts by "liking" and "following" us on the platforms. 
Do not forget to follow our broader-market accounts for all LEDC news. We are on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  
Key promotions in 2020

LEDC's strength lies in our tremendous talent. We are committed to developing and supporting our staff. This year we announced several key staff promotions.  

Notably, LEDC named Emi Reyes as Chief of the newly launched Direct Community Investments department--charged with partnering with government and philanthropic entities to provide direct financial assistance to underserved communities. In October, Emi added the oversight of this new department to her role as Chief of Risk and Operations.  

The new department also brought on Laura Bentley, who transitioned from her role as Small Business Coach & Liaison to Manager of LEDC's new Direct Community Investments department. In this new role, Laura coordinates various privately and publicly funded grant initiatives, helping to design and manage processes and the disbursement of grants.

Another step forward in our commitment to staff development was the promotion of Omar Velasco, who was named Director of LEDC's Small Business department. In June, Omar transitioned from his role as Small Business Development Program Manager to Director of LEDC's Small Business department. In this new role, Omar oversees LEDC's Lending, Small Business Development, Resilient Business Corridors, and Empowered Women International programs.   

Karla Posada was promoted to Program Manager of LEDC's Small Business Development program. She transitioned from her role as a Small Business Coach to this new position in late June. In her current role, she leads a team of coaches in planning and implementing technical assistance program activities in DC, Arlington, VA, and Baltimore, MD.

Daniel Friedman's promotion to Program Manager of LEDC's Lending program marks yet another notable responsibility growth. Daniel was previously one of LEDC's senior loan officers. Now, he supervises loan officers, implements underwriting policies, and develops new loan products. 

These promotions will help ensure our staff achieve their potential while building our organization's capability. 

Muchas Felicidades, Emi, Laura, Omar, Karla, y Daniel!
Thank you for your financial support this year

Over the past couple of months, we have received a high number of individual donations and want to say THANK YOU! Your contributions have helped sustain our work to promote stable housing, thriving businesses, and strong communities.

Since the pandemic disrupted our lives, we shifted our work to help underserved communities survive and emerge stronger and more secure. We believe that vulnerable families and small businesses, more than anything, need financial support during this time and will do what we can to get this to them as quickly as possible. 

Once again, Thank You! We're grateful to have the support of individuals like you. If you haven't already done so, we encourage you to donate TODAY by clicking here.

Do you shop on time, 
try Amazon Smile instead and select the 
Latino Economic Development Center 
as your charity of choice! 

Working families deserve to live in affordable homes and own successful small businesses, but too many are unable to turn those dreams into a reality. The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) equips Latinos and other underserved communities in DC, MD, VA, and Puerto Rico with the skills and financial tools to create a better future for their families and communities. Participants in our programs learn how to buy and stay in their homes, join with their neighbors to keep their rental housing affordable, and start or expand small businesses. Learn more at our website.

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