Letter From Our Executive Director

Intentional Growth Requires Inclusive Action.

Dear Friends, 

As I pause to reflect on our inaugural year, I am struck by the profound journey we have embarked upon—a journey marked by an unwavering commitment to intentionality and collaboration. Our journey, anchored by our strategic priorities, has been a testament to the power of unity and the spirit of progress that defines Growth Partners Arizona. In seeking intentional growth, we have not merely expanded; we have evolved. Through each partnership and collaboration, we have woven a stronger fabric for our community—one that supports and elevates the diverse voices of our vibrant society. The alliances we’ve fostered extend beyond transactional relationships; they are the lifeline of our collective success, pulsating with the shared goal of community empowerment.

Expanding our loan products will allow us to reach deeper within communities and expand access to capital opportunities for the most underserved. Our growth lending model is a hallmark of our adaptability and a cornerstone of our vision for equitable economic development. By championing accessible and fair financing, we have lit the torch for small businesses and nonprofits, guiding them toward growth and prosperity. Our pursuit to improve outcomes and amplify our impact is more than a commitment—it is a creed.

We have not only aimed for success; we have redefined it, ensuring that our measures of success ripple outwards, fostering a more prosperous, resilient, and inclusive Arizona. Our dedication to creating measurable and lasting change is as steadfast as our community’s trust.

This reflection is not merely a recollection of past achievements. It is a reaffirmation of our mission and a reinvigoration of our collective purpose. It is a mosaic of stories, a narrative of resilience, and a blueprint for the future we are building together. As we share this journey, let it be a source of inspiration, a call to action, and a reminder of the empowerment within our grasp. Let it serve as a beacon of inspiration, engaging our spirit of enterprise and empowering us to set our sights even higher in the coming years.

Together, we stand at the threshold of untold possibilities, and with a spirit of enterprise and unity, we look forward to scaling new heights in the years ahead.

With heartfelt gratitude and renewed resolve,

Update On Our Progress

Strategic Priorities

Earlier this year, we announced our strategic priorities for 18 months. We are excited to share our progress and provide an update on what we have been up to for the last 12 months. 

As we chart our course toward a future filled with opportunity and collaboration, this report illuminates the strides we have made toward our three strategic priorities:

  • Grow Intentionally through Partnerships & Collaboration
  • Launch Growth Lending Model
  • Strengthen Outcomes & Amplify Impact

Emboldened by our shared vision, this narrative is not merely an account of progress; it is an anthem of our unwavering commitment to empower and uplift the vibrant community of Arizona, driving change that echoes beyond figures and into futures.

PRIORITY ONE

Grow Intentionally Through Partnerships and Collaboration

In our steadfast journey to champion nonprofits and small businesses, we commit to creating a landscape where advocacy, access to capital, and technical assistance converge to empower local enterprises. Our recent endeavors underscore our profound commitment to advocating for legislative changes, enhancing financial opportunities for those impacted by the justice system, and tackling predatory lending practices. Central to our mission is expanding access to capital and offering robust technical assistance, ensuring that small businesses and nonprofits are well-equipped to thrive. Moreover, our strategic expansion across Arizona reflects our goal of broadening our impact and reach. These initiatives underscore our dedication to nurturing the economic vitality and resilience of our local nonprofits and small businesses.

Our Accomplishments

We Formalized Our Ecosystem

Forming a structured ecosystem, such as the Growth Alliance, is pivotal in propelling our key commitments forward. This alliance will act as a catalyst in our quest to advocate for small businesses, ensuring that our efforts in legislative reform, expanding access to capital, and providing comprehensive technical assistance are more effective and far-reaching. By fostering a cohesive network, the Growth Alliance enables us to streamline our initiatives, facilitating deeper collaboration and resource sharing. This unified approach amplifies our voice in championing small businesses’ needs and enhances our ability to make a tangible impact across the state. This alliance will create a more supportive and prosperous environment for small businesses, reflecting our unwavering dedication to their growth and success.

Our Progress on Our Key Committments

In recent months, we’ve deepened our advocacy for small businesses and underserved communities by forming partnerships that bolster legislative initiatives, enhancing financial opportunities for those impacted by the justice system. Focusing on technical assistance, we’ve held over 20 workshops, offering 100+ hours of support and aiding over 150 small business owners and nonprofit leaders in securing capital. Our expansion across Arizona, including Flagstaff, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Globe/Miami, and Phoenix-Metro areas, has amplified our impact while maintaining a solid commitment to Southern Arizona. Critical initiatives like investing in the BIPOC Loan Fund, expanding the Kiva Tucson Hub, and establishing new partnerships underscore our dedication to nurturing local small businesses and fostering community growth.

PRIORITY TWO

Launch Growth Lending Model

In launching our growth lending model, we focused intentionally on three key commitments: building organizational capacity, expanding our loan programs, and enhancing the customer experience. This focus guided our efforts in creating more inclusive, effective, and responsive financial solutions for the communities we serve. Our journey has led to significant improvement in our internal capabilities, ensuring that we are well-equipped to meet the diverse needs of our customers. Expanding our loan programs will enable us to extend our reach and provide vital support to more communities. At the heart of all our initiatives has been our unwavering commitment to improving the customer experience, making every interaction with us streamlined, accessible, and impactful. This update reflects our progress in each of these areas, showcasing our dedication to community empowerment and economic growth.

Our Accomplishments

We Operationalized Our Business Model

EmpowerEdge will assist in catalyzing financial empowerment and foster community impact. At its core, EmpowerEdge is a service offering and a transformative initiative dedicated to equipping small businesses and nonprofits with the tools and resources they need to succeed while making a lasting difference. This program will be essential in bridging gaps in financial literacy, access to capital, and workforce development, thereby creating a supportive ecosystem that nurtures growth and amplifies impact. By focusing on these critical areas, we will play a vital role in uplifting communities, enabling entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders to not only realize their potential but also contribute significantly to the socio-economic fabric of our society.

Our Progress on Our Key Committments

Our team has significantly enhanced organizational capacity, expanded loan programs, and improved customer experiences to strengthen community engagement and economic development. Through participating in Equitable Underwriting Training and sessions with the Opportunity Finance Network, we’ve gained valuable insights and tools for effective community support. Our collaborative expansion with CIC Tucson, Startup Tucson, and Local First Arizona has marked a notable advancement in our microlending reach across Arizona. Embracing technology, we’ve transformed our loan application process with a digital platform, leading to an impressive influx of over $5 million in funding requests from small businesses and nonprofits. This progress signifies our commitment to fostering financial empowerment and accessibility throughout the state, with ongoing efforts to meet the increasing demand through strategic partnerships and referrals.

PRIORITY THREE

Strengthen Outcomes & Amplify Impact

In the heart of every community are nonprofit leaders and small business owners, the unsung heroes whose resilience and innovation drive transformative growth. At the core of our mission lies a commitment to elevate these powerful voices, turning every statistic into a testament to their journeys. Our refined approach to data collection isn’t just about numbers; it’s about capturing the rich tapestry of challenges and triumphs that define our local communities. We emphasize collective storytelling, spotlighting these remarkable individuals, magnifying their impact, and celebrating their stories.

By sharing these narratives, we do more than highlight individual achievements; we weave a larger story of community resilience and collective success. We’re not just sharing progress; we’re honoring the heartbeat of our communities — the nonprofit leaders and small business owners whose dreams and efforts enrich us all. Their stories are our mission, and their successes are our greatest achievement. This approach isn’t merely a strategy; it’s a celebration of the human spirit and determination that propels financial empowerment across the state.

Our Accomplishments

Moments of Impact

Earlier this year, we launched our “Moments of Impact” program. The “Moments of Impact” program represents a deep commitment to community empowerment and transformative growth. This initiative shines a spotlight on the true pillars of our communities: the nonprofit leaders and small business owners whose visions and efforts elevate us all. By harnessing the power of storytelling and meticulous data interpretation, this program will bring to life these local changemakers’ inspiring journeys and significant achievements. Beyond aiding in business growth, this program fosters a shared sense of progress and unity across the state.

Our Progress on Our Key Committments

The digitization of our lending software was a crucial step in establishing a solid foundation. It has not only streamlined our processes but also enhanced the accuracy and efficiency of our data collection. This digital leap means we can now gather comprehensive insights with greater speed and precision, ensuring that our decisions are data-driven and aligned with the needs of our community.

This advancement in our data-gathering capabilities is more than just a technological upgrade; it represents our commitment to staying ahead of the curve in serving our community effectively. By harnessing the power of digital tools, we’re better equipped to understand and meet the evolving needs of those we serve. It’s a significant milestone in our journey to empower and uplift the communities around us, and we’re just getting started.

Community Impact By The Numbers

$ 0
Transactions Closed
$ 0 +
In Grants & Sponsorships Provided to the Community
0
Clients Funded
0 %
In Underserved Communities
0 %
Underserved Founders
0 %
Women-Owned Businesses

Small Business Loans

$642,000

This year, we partnered with organizations both locally and regionally to assist small businesses in securing the capital they need to grow their business. More than just financial support, these loans represent a tangible commitment to nurturing the local business landscape. By facilitating this growth, we have helped individual businesses thrive and contributed to Arizona’s broader economic fabric, strengthening its position as a vibrant hub for small business success and innovation.

Berni Reyna with son Aaron Reyna, Founders of Colados, Coffee in Phoenix, AZ

Nonprofit & Community Lending Programs

$200,000

In Nonprofit Loans

$307,000

Deployed through Community Lending Programs

Reflecting on our work to deliver impactful programs to our community, we are excited to share that we have successfully deployed $507,000 in loans to local nonprofits and small businesses. Understanding how critical nonprofits’ are to our community, our dedicated loan program ensures they have access to responsible capital, enabling them to continue delivering essential services. Additionally, our community lending programs, including Kiva and the BIPOC Loan Fund, are pivotal in fostering economic inclusivity. These programs provide unique opportunities for local entrepreneurs, particularly those unable to meet traditional lending criteria, helping them expand and thrive. This accomplishment is more than a financial triumph; it symbolizes the strength of collective effort and our commitment to fostering a prosperous, equitable future for everyone.

Highlights of The Year

Empowering Communities and Transforming Lives