RISE NOW INC. is a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization formed to educate and to provide technical assistance and support to low-income individuals, entrepreneurs and small business owners in need of access to affordable capital, culturally-and-linguistically appropriate information, development services, and financial resources in order to navigate and overcome barriers to economic security and success.
Our Vision is to fight for an inclusive financial system with access to financial and economic opportunity that is just, fair, and equitable for all Americans.
The Board of Directors of RISE NOW INC. is composed of community leaders, financial counselors, and retired and active non-profit executives, with over 200 years of collective experience in community development services that assist minority-and-women-owned businesses and first-time homebuyers. RISE NOW INC. builds on the expertise that its Board of Directors acquired following the economic devastation of the COVID19 epidemic, the September 11th attacks, and Hurricane Sandy on the AAPI communities of Chinatown, Sunset Park, and Flushing. The Board Members have also seen the successful completion of housing and community development projects in Harlem, Northern Manhattan, Bronx and Brooklyn. The leadership team has created, capitalized, and guided Community Development Financial Institutions in New York City, institutions that raised and originated more than $50 million in small business loans, and secured over $300 million in affordable mortgage financing for first time homebuyers. In addition, the collective organizational expertise encompasses substantial real estate development experience, including the development of over 2,250 units of affordable and supportive housing in low- and moderate income neighborhoods of New York City, and more than 100,000 square feet of community and commercial space.
Through innovative community outreach and education, we place an emphasis on underserved businesses - including minority-and-women-owned enterprises, and low-income entrepreneurs - that often lack access to the financial services they need to start, build, and grow their businesses. RISE NOW INC.
1) Collaborates with government agencies, family associations, and lenders to conduct culturally-and-linguistically appropriate community outreach, seminars and workshops on how to apply for small business-and-micro-loans as well as how to get certified to qualify to participate in City, State, and Federal's minority-and-women-owned contracting programs;
2) Assists small business owners and entrepreneurs with one-on-one counseling in locating and developing sources of credit, low-interest loans, and financial services offered by banks and other financial institutions;
3) Develops networks, linkages and referrals with other local organizations and institutions such as Veteran's Business Outreach Centers; Women Business Centers; and Community Development Financial Institutions on all issues and matters affecting small businesses and entrepreneurs to improve and advance the interests and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs;
RISE NOW Federal Credit Union ("RISE FCU") will provide residents and small businesses of Flushing, Queens, with much-needed financial literacy, loan products, and services to thrive in a post-COVID environment. Many of Flushing's residents, especially low-income and seniors, have limited English language proficiency and limited access to basic consumer loans and financial services offered by mainstream banks. As a consequence, many Flushing residents pay predatory fees to cash their checks; complete money transfers; and send remittances.
RISE FCU's goal is to encourage savings among its members through its Share Savings Account, individual counseling, and group financial educational workshops. Once chartered, RISE FCU will offer loans to credit union members at a fair and reasonable rate and will also provide access to cashier's checks, money orders, and remittances services for minimum fees and delivered in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the city's poor, minority, and immigrant communities. Many Minority and Woman-owned small businesses- the core of most immigrant communities - are unable to access federal Paycheck Protection Program loans and grants and are closed or closing by the hundreds.
Working with government agencies, corporations, and foundations, RISE NOW INC. plans to launch the Post COVID Small Business Recovery Loan Fund (PCSBR). The PCSBR Loan Fund will offer small business emergency and micro-loans for working capital in conjunction with its development services such as business planning and financial coaching.
The COVID-19 pandemic, like most catastrophes, has revealed the fissures of class and race in America, and in New York City as well. Poor and working families, as well as people of color, have suffered the ravages of the pandemic disproportionately. The immigrant and low-income neighborhoods of the Bronx, northern Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens have the highest rates of infection and death in the country. This is no surprise: residents of these communities live in overcrowded apartments, in buildings with elevators that are slow and cramped; they shop for food in crowded and poorly-stocked stores; they travel to work on public transportation to perform essential labor- grocery worker, delivery person, nurse- that brings them face to face with dozens of people every day.
As New York City enters the third year of the pandemic, the longer term impacts of the pandemic are beginning to reveal themselves also- unfortunately, with a profile that highlights the impact on the city's poor, minority, and immigrant communities. Many immigrants were unable or unwilling to take advantage of government relief programs; these programs, in any case, have dwindled away, and tens of thousands- hundreds of thousands- of New Yorkers are confronting joblessness and the threat or reality of homelessness. Food lines stretch around city blocks; food pantries that were open one day a week are now open five or six days. Minority and Woman-owned small businesses, unable to access federal relief programs, struggle to survive
In 2018, an estimated 25% of Flushing residents lived in poverty, compared to 19% in all of Queens and 20% in all of New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 57% in Flushing, higher than the borough-wide and citywide rates of 53% and 51% respectively.
According to Bankbranchlocator.com, there are 34 different banks with 82 branches operating in Flushing. However, despite being a neighborhood particularly devastated by COVID 19, small businesses in Flushing, out of any neighborhood in the entire city, saw the least success getting Paycheck Protection Program loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Out of Flushing's 2,400 small businesses, only 913, or about 38 percent, actually received a PPP loan, compared to over 70 percent in Greenpoint, Park Slope, and Brooklyn Heights. This seems due to the fact that Flushing has a very high percentage of immigrant-owned businesses, businesses that have traditionally struggled to surmount cultural and linguistic barriers to credit and services and that have long been shut out or poorly served by mainstream banks' traditional loan underwriting criteria and practices.
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