PeopleFund held their annual East Night Gala festival in their new location, 2921 E 17th St. The colorful pageantry featured a menagerie of human-powered animals, gravity-defying jugglers, and spectacular performances inspired by The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album.
The crowd celebrated the organization’s success since 1994, as PeopleFund has assisted their client’s in reaching economic success and creating opportunity for prosperity for all members of the community through investment, training and leadership.
Ringmaster Steven Tomlinson led the audience in several toasts to PeopleFund’s magnificent clients and their accomplishments. The crowd toasted to PeopleFund and entrepreneurship, “imagination, effort and heart that build business that build our community.” The evenings festivities also included a special tribute to Margo Weisz, PeopleFund’s departing Executive Director. Staff and board members shared fond memories and achievements from the 15 years of outstanding leadership of Ms Weisz. City of Austin proclaimed it Margo Weisz Day. “PeopleFund has been able to provide this through funding,” attributed Weisz to the topic of PeopleFund helping their clients achieve liberty, justice for all.
Irma Sifuentes, owner of Sunshine Learning Center, was awarded Outstanding Entrepreneur award of the year. Sifuentes was able to expand her business after receiving funds from PeopleFund, where it was difficult to receive loans from other lenders.
To date PeopleFund total loans are $22,965,264 with 369 loans to 210 businesses. This has helped create a total of 2023 jobs. PeopleFund creates economic opportunity by helping people through Programs and resources which include their Small Business Loan Fund, Shared Equity Housing, and Entrepreneurial Development. Benefits from PeopleFund loan products are low down payment or equity contribution, flexible underwriting, no pre-payment penalties, and supportive staff that assist clients with guidance and training. Entrepreneur Development through this organization consist of assisting with all small business needs by helping build healthy small businesses, purchase safe and affordable homes, and achieve financial security and independence. Other resources achieved with PeopleFund are in-house accounting and budgeting, marketing and legal referral services, and outreach/research. PeopleFund prides itself on being a hub for information and ideas on community development in underserved communities by hosting events like the Conference on Economic Opportunity (formerly the East Austin Economic Summit) and the PeopleTalk Speaker Series).
For more information on PeopleFund visit http://www.peoplefund.org/ or call (512) 472-8087
By Monica Pena
Austin Times Staff