We’re excited to announce that long-time partners Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) and Empowered Women International (EWI) are merging. With complementary target populations, programs, and services, LEDC and EWI have identified an opportunity to build upon respective successes by joining forces to serve more clients with a broader range of programs and support. Following the merger, EWI will become a program under the LEDC umbrella, maintaining its name and high caliber of client service.

Since 1991, LEDC has offered small business development, microlending, homeownership, and affordable housing preservation programs for low to moderate income Latinos and other underserved communities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Since 2002, EWI has provided entrepreneurial training, mentoring, and ongoing coaching in the Washington DC area, helping immigrant, refugee and socially and economically challenged women turn their creative or cultural assets, artistic abilities, and skills into successful businesses.

What are the benefits of the merger?

The primary beneficiaries of the merger are the clients that EWI and LEDC serve. They will gain a wider array of services and resources as they work to launch or grow small businesses in the communities we support.

When announcing the merger at EWI’s 15th Anniversary celebration last month, LEDC Executive Director Marla Bilonick shared how LEDC’s mission of helping individuals build and preserve assets is key to building family wealth and economic stability. EWI’s Executive Director, Sarah Bodley added that by combining EWI’s entrepreneurial training with LEDC’s program pillars, we will have a powerhouse of services to offer residents across the DMV area.

LEDC will gain EWI’s unique program that is a woman-focused suite of rooted in entrepreneurial training called Entrepreneur Pathways for Women.  The development of business skills amongst a cohort of women also builds support networks that strengthen the community.  Existing EWI workshops and classes will augment LEDC’s current entrepreneurial coaching, training, and lending offerings.

EWI’s present clients will be able to seamlessly access LEDC’s bilingual one-on-one business coaching and micro-loan financing of up to $50,000 for their business ventures.  As well, EWI will be able to provide their intensive and multi-session training services to LEDC’s present customers.

Through this merger, entrepreneurs in the DC Metro region will have access to LEDC and EWI services via physical locations in Washington, D.C.; Montgomery County, Baltimore City, Fairfax County, and Arlington County. By combining forces our physical footprint and community reach expands significantly.

When will the merger happen?

We are proceeding with the legal and organizational restructuring necessary to effectuate the merger by September 30th, 2017.  During the time leading up to the merger, LEDC and EWI will continue normal programs and services without interruption. We look forward to continuing to deliver even more value to our clients following the merger.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, or for more information, please contact:

 

Marla Bilonick

Executive Director of LEDC
641 S St. NW, Washington DC 20001

202 588 5102, mbilonick@ledcmetro.org

 

Sarah Bodley

Executive Director of EWI

320 S. Henry St, Alexandria VA 22314

571 312 4781, sarah@ewint.org

 

About LEDC:

The mission of LEDC is to drive the economic and social advancement of low- to moderate- income Latinos and other underserved communities in the D.C. and Baltimore Metropolitan Areas by equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve financial independence and become leaders in their communities. With almost 40 bilingual staff working out of three locations, the organization serves more than 4,000 clients in the DC and Baltimore City metropolitan areas each year with small business coaching, microlending, homeownership counseling, and affordable housing preservation services. LEDC has invested over $11 million into community business ventures as well as has provided over 20,000 hours of counseling to our clients since its founding in 1991.

About EWI:

The mission of EWI is to empower women —including immigrants, refugees, and American-born women— in the Greater DC Metro area facing economic and social challenges to become economically mobile, financially stable and socially engaged. Serving over 350+ women each year, EWI has helped launch 400+ businesses; 90% of the women who started their business with EWI are still operating 1-3 years later.

Press release: LEDC & EWI, a Strategic Alliance
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