The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) has been awarded more than $1 million from the federal government as the southeast Queens neighborhood’s business community works to bounce back following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The White House and the U.S. Treasury Department announced that GJDC secured new funding through the COVID-19 Rapid Response Program, which was created to give Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) the resources they need to help communities that have historically had a hard time obtaining loans, and now many of their economies were hit hardest by the pandemic.
This additional funding will allow the organization to support even more businesses during the COVID recovery, according to Greater Jamaica Development Corporation President and CEO Hope Knight.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, this awards will enable GJDC to expand the number of businesses we are able to support through our revolving loan fund and continue to make downtown Jamaica, and all of Southeast Queens, a place where businesses can survive, be sustainable and ultimately thrive,” Knight said.
Founded in 1967, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation is one of the nation’s first community development corporations.
With this increase in funding to the organization’s revolving loan fund, it will allow even more loans to be distributed than in previous years to businesses that traditional banks would not even consider, For instance, GJDC has had success lending money to daycare centers in Southeast Queens that had not opened yet, but when they did, were successful and critical in supporting families, increasing the quality of life in their community.
“With over 50 years serving this community, we know that we will be able to make sure that the loans we oversee are invested the right way, creating jobs and opportunities for those who need them,” Knight explained. “I would like to thank all of our friends in government for making this announcement possible.”
In order to receive this award, GJDC had to demonstrate sound financial footing and that it had a history of supporting minority and women small businesses. In 2020, GJDC secured more than $7 million in loans, each of which averaged a little over $50,000 and 95 percent of them went to Minority or Women Business Enterprises (MWBE), which saved 1,146 jobs. On top of that, the organization provided 26,000 pieces of Personal Protection Equipment that kept 1,700 employees safe.