BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Hancock Whitney has partnered with Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas to help local Hispanic communities struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both banks contributed to FHLB’s Partnership Grant Program, which matches contributions from participating partners at a five-to-one ratio, according to Hancock Whitney spokesperson Ashley Aubrey Harrison.
“Through the Partnership Grant Program, FHLB matched Hancock Whitney’s $59,000 contribution to fund 13 grants to community-based organizations, totaling $244,245,” Harrison wrote. “Two of those grant recipients, El Centro and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana Foundation (HCCL), are stepping in to support local Hispanic communities through the COVID-19 crisis.”
El Centro Executive director Lindsey Navarro founded the organization when she realized that “there wasn’t anyone talking about lending, accessing capital, or entrepreneurship in Spanish,” according to Harrison.
Its budget has doubled since receiving a $30,000 grant from the Partnership Grant Program, allowing Navarro to pay a full-time employee for 25 hours of work per week, as well as expand programs related to business start-ups, credit management and first-time home buyer information, according to Harrison.
“We’re on the financial frontline, connecting businesses to the capital they need and helping people access the funding they need to stay afloat,” Navarro said.
El Centro uses workshops, a business boot camp and personal consultations to fill gaps in the following areas: Spanish language financial literacy programming, tax preparation assistance, business coaching and entrepreneurial training.
The HCCL Foundation received a $15,000 grant, which will support free employment and training services to people in Hispanic communities, according to Harrison. The company will also be able to hire another employee because of the grant.
HCCL Foundation President and CEO Mayra Pineda said HCCL’a staff is bilingual and assists people with resumes and job placement. Its educational efforts focus on financial literacy, computer literacy and empowerment for small business owners, according to Harrison.