By Samantha Gonzales, Development & Communications Intern
PeopleFund’s East Night Celebration is quickly approaching (October 23, 2014!) and on top of a great event for our clients, this East Night will also mark our 20th year serving communities across Texas. Over the last 20 years, we’ve lent $32 million, created 3,000 jobs, and provided 35,000 hours of business and financial education. A 20th anniversary marks a perfect time to look back on the yearly accomplishments and new clients of PeopleFund, starting in 2003 when East Night featured Senator Kirk Watson and was put on by the Austin Community Development Corporation. East Night was joined by the East Austin Economic Summit, where entrepreneurs and friends came together to develop economic changes for the East Austin area.
The Austin CDC became PeopleFund in 2004, the East Austin Economic Summit continued, over 2,000 hours of business training was provided to entrepreneurs, and PeopleFund’s clients now included CGE Incorporated who, with help from PeopleFund, was able to take on a stream of projects that provided construction employment for residents of Central Texas.
In 2005, PeopleFund continued to work for a more economically vigorous Austin area by launching the first Community Land Trust in Texas in order to provide safe and affordable homes. The CLT added on to PeopleFund’s existing Speaker Series and East Austin Economic Summit. Corina and Jorge Morales of Tool & Instrument Makers joined PeopleFund’s growing client list.
In 2007, PeopleFund had invested almost $17 million in underserved areas of Central Texas and was planning the development of their current home in East Austin’s Chestnut Neighborhood called the Center for Economic Opportunity. While planning for their new location, PeopleFund continued to help their clients, including Austin’s first recycling center – Ecology Action of Texas. gb2008 brought national and regional leaders to our community to share their expertise and perspectives on the most challenging issue through PeopleTalk, while PeopleTrust used the CLT model to preserve affordable housing for working families and the community.
PeopleFund expanded its Small Business Lending Program throughout the state of Texas in 2011, helping clients from Brownsville to Fort Worth. Programs kept the community impact of PeopleFund at a high level through East Night, PeopleTalk, and the Junior Entrepreneurship Track. PeopleFund hit the road in 2012 and headed to Dallas and Houston! On top of adding more locations, PeopleFund also added new programs to better serve their clients including PeopleStart, PeopleVet, and PeopleSpark. The East Night Summit and Celebration of 2012 focused on the economic impact of the arts and translating this artistic talent into a small business. New clients to join PeopleFund included Austin Promotional Solutions, Inc. and Biao Skincare.
PeopleFund hosted it’s first Casino style East Night celebration in 2013 at the PeopleFund headquarters in Austin. The theme was a smash hit, and will be continued for East Night 2014.