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Mayor & First Lady Berry Support Entrepreneurs and Job Growth

Check from 2015 Charity Gala presented to Accion New Mexico, a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs start up and maintain their businesses.

Albuquerque – Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry and First Lady Maria Berry visited Accion New Mexico to present the nonprofit with its share of the proceeds from the 2015 Mayor & First Lady's Charity Gala. The 2015 Gala raised a total of $239,942 for Accion New Mexico, PB&J, Fathers Building Futures, Albuquerque Community Foundation: The Bright Futures Fund, and Homework Diner: ABC Community School Partnership. Of the total, Accion of New Mexico received $60,000, which will support local entrepreneurs.

With the support of the 2015 Mayor and First Lady's Charity Gala, Accion will directly fund Presto loans—loans up to $12,000, which are largely uncollateralized and offer entrepreneurs very quick turnaround times. With an average Albuquerque Presto loan size of $3,000 in 2014, the contribution from the Mayor and First Lady's Gala will capitalize some 20 business development loans to Albuquerque entrepreneurs whose businesses will support 50 jobs in the community. Once the 20 loans have been repaid, the money will flow out to support other entrepreneurs, thereby creating a perpetual source of entrepreneurial support and economic opportunity. In addition, the requested funding will also aid Accion in lending $3.8 million to Albuquerque entrepreneurs whose businesses are projected to create and/or sustain 767 jobs (based on its experience in 2012, Accion anticipates 2.5 jobs per business).

Mayor: 'It's an amazing testament'

The success of the Gala is evidenced by the fact that proceeds raised were able to meet the financial requests of each nonprofit beneficiary of the event, for the sixth year in a row. Over the six years that the First Lady and Mayor have been hosting the gala, they've raised more than $1.1 million net for local nonprofits, helping tens of thousands of people in need.

"We're ever so grateful to our community for their continuous generosity and support of this event and our worthy, local charities," said First Lady Maria Berry. "Our gala board is honored to play a part in helping these inspirational nonprofits continue their meaningful work."

Mayor Berry reiterated his appreciation to supporters of the event.

"I am proud to be the mayor of a city that gives so selflessly," he said. "It's an amazing testament to Albuquerque and the dozens of nonprofit recipients who have used the funds to provide much needed services to thousands of individuals right here at home.

More about Accion New Mexico

Based in Albuquerque, Accion New Mexico (Accion) is an award-winning nonprofit organization that increases access to business credit, makes loans and provides training to enable entrepreneurs to realize their dreams and be catalysts for positive economic and social change.

The organization offers business loans up to $1 million, along with training and other support services to those who want to start or expand a small business. Since 1994, Accion has financed the start-up, operation or growth of some 5,600 businesses and has grown to serve five states. A recognized innovator in the U.S. microenterprise development field, Accion is certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution and has been rated as a four-star organization by Charity Navigator with a top score in accountability.

Accion's clients represent the foundation of the American economy — individuals who reach deep within themselves to overcome obstacles and realize a dream of economic independence. During 2014, 93 percent of the New Mexico business loans provided by Accion went to women, minority, and/or low-income entrepreneurs. In addition to making a vital difference for individual entrepreneurs and their families, Accion's work creates a larger, regional economic impact, with an estimated 6,030 jobs created or sustained by the organization's New Mexico client businesses.