woman showing phoenix fund to returning citizens, Introducing the Phoenix Fund: Empowering Returning Citizens in Entrepreneurship, GNEC

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Phoenix Fund, a business capital program dedicated to supporting returning citizens who have either started their own business or aspire to do so. As the Founding Funder of the Phoenix Fund, Union County Savings Bank is “proud to partner with Greater Newark Enterprise Corporation (GNEC) as part of our ongoing commitment to community investment.” 

The Phoenix Fund aims to provide crucial financial resources and support to individuals looking to rebuild their lives through entrepreneurship. The Fund will offer 5-year term loans at a competitive interest rate of 3.5% to qualifying clients referred by our partner organizations. With careful consideration, we have decided to allocate loans to 10 clients, providing each with $3,000 in capital. This approach allows us to serve more individuals while also mitigating risk effectively.

Our loan underwriting process will be ‘light touch,’ relying heavily on the expertise and guidance of our referral organizations. We are committed to selecting clients located within northern NJ to ensure efficient support and assistance throughout the loan term.

At the core of the Phoenix Fund is the belief that everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed, regardless of their past circumstances. We are proud to partner with esteemed organizations such as ReEntry Ventures, which will serve as referral sources for individuals interested in participating in the program.

In addition to financial assistance, the Phoenix Fund will provide each loan client access to our BackStop Technical Assistance program. This program offers bookkeeping and web development services at a highly reduced rate for a year’s worth of programming. By offering these essential resources, we aim to equip our clients with the tools they need to thrive in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

The launch of the Phoenix Fund represents a significant milestone in our collective efforts to promote economic empowerment and opportunity for returning citizens. “Thanks to GNEC, I believe we can create a model program that can be replicated nationally, helping thousands of returning citizen entrepreneurs each year,” said CJ Meenan, Reentry Ventures.

“By funding this initiative, we aim to break down barriers for returning citizens, offering them a chance to not only rebuild their lives but also contribute meaningfully to our local communities. The Phoenix Fund aligns with our belief in providing equal opportunities for all, and we are excited to be a catalyst for positive change and inclusive economic growth in New Jersey,” said Lucy Amicucci, Chief Community Investment Officer at Union County Savings Bank Charitable Foundation

We invite you to join us on this transformative journey as we empower returning citizens and ignite the entrepreneurial spirit within individuals and communities, creating a brighter future for all.

For more information about the Phoenix Fund or to inquire about participating in the program, please visit www.gnec.org/business-loan-services/gnec-phoenix-fund.

Funded by:

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