Sam's Club invests big in small business

WASHINGTON — Sam's Club has pledged more than $2 million in donations to nonprofits supporting small business growth. The announcement was made by Sam's Club president and CEO Rosalind Brewer.

"At Sam's Club our small business owners are our partners, and we want to put our money where our mission is - which is to be agents for and support our members and the small business community," said Brewer, addressing guests at the DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year awards luncheon at the Shoreham Hotel.  "I realize that I have an incredible opportunity to lead Sam's Club and to be an advocate for our small business owners in America. You are the heart and soul of our economy, and no one takes more risks and works harder every single day than those of you who are out there following your dreams and running your own businesses."

The luncheon was part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Summit, an annual event that draws small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to discuss common legislative and management concerns. More than 800 small business owners are attending the summit. Sam's Club is a diamond sponsor of the event.

The organizations receiving funds are:

Accion in the U.S.: $520,674

Accion provides loans, business training and other financial services to hard-working men and women who start their own businesses, helping them achieve higher levels of success and stability. Through its grant, Accion aims to increase direct outreach to small business owners via education and loan kit materials. It also will focus on providing loans and financial education via events and online tools.

Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED): $349,545.

CFED helps low income self-employed small business owners access capital and financial services and receive Earned Income and other tax credits. The grant will enable CFED to work with the field of tax preparation providers, including IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, microenterprise programs and credit unions to build their capacity to serve these business owners through training and technical assistance in program design, delivery and evaluation. The grant will also support CFED's work with local partners to identify and implement program improvements informed by behavioral economics. Finally, CFED will reach hundreds of thousands of people through a media campaign to highlight entrepreneurship and small business development by hard-working lower income people as important engines of job creation and economic growth throughout the United States.

Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence: $750,000.

Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence is a leading national not-for-profit provider of resources, business education and community support for women entrepreneurs. The donation from Sam's Club supports the launch of the Urban Rebound initiative in Los Angeles, Detroit and Charlotte to support 100 women-owned businesses in each market grow their annual revenues to $250,000 in 12 to 18 months. According to Count Me In, the success of this program has the potential to create $75 million in new economic activity and 600 to 900 new jobs.

National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders: $250,000

Through the Sam's Club grant, NALCAB will invest in the expansion and coordination of small business assistance programs in Latino communities across the country. Through grant-making, technical assistance and a national training opportunity, NALCAB will support the expansion of existing small business development programs in seven markets.

Step Up for Small Business Challenge: $200,000.

Local Sam's Club Managers from throughout the country are encouraged to volunteer their time in May by working for Business Members and local businesses in their communities. The top 10 Sam's Clubs with the most volunteer hours will each win a$20,000 grant to support local small business mentoring and skills-based training programs for their local area.

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