We Are BCL:
Community Loan Center of Austin
30 for 30: Featuring the Community Loan Center of Austin

As we celebrating 30 years of Building Strong Communities in Texas, we're showcasing our customers, staff, and supporters who have made our work possible and who make up the faces of BCL's work.

This week, we're highlighting our Community Loan Center program. Rondella Hawkins, Officer of Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs at the City of Austin said, "There is a need for access to capital and the financial coaching that comes along with it, so that employees can learn more about money management." 

Over 10% of the City's 14,000 employees took part in the program in its first year, each saving hundreds of dollars in fees and interest and reducing their chances of becoming stuck in a cycle of debt. 

Now more than ever, it's important to help consumers avoid predatory loan programs. That's why we love offering the Community Loan Center program in Austin and Dallas.

Employers can add this program to their HR benefits package at no cost to help ensure their employees have access to financial stability tools.

Thank you to the City of Austin and all of our partners and funders who make BCL who we are today. Stay tuned as we continue to debut more of our 30 for 30 video series. 

Announcing Our New Board Members!

BCL's 2020 Board of Directors represents a diverse group of professionals in economic and community development. Our Board of Directors are located across all corners the state of Texas, with experience in the fields of community development, banking, lending, asset building, and rural development.

Dora Zapata, VP of Philanthropy, Wells Fargo 

Dora Zapata smiling with arms folded posing for a photoDora Zapata is responsible for Wells Fargo reinvestment efforts in North Texas, which includes community, economic development, philanthropy, community involvement, and local partnerships. She has worked with BCL of Texas for several major programs, including Dallas NeighborhoodLIFT down payment assistance and Univison’s PoSIBLE Entrepreneur Summit.  

Ms. Zapata said, “The pandemic has brought to light even more the plight of entrepreneurs of color. There are so many resources, particularly federal resources, that our minority-owned businesses weren’t able to access for a variety of reasons. BCL of Texas stands in a position to help mitigate some of these challenges and get people some of the resources they really need to survive."

Melissa Chamrad, Director of Accounting, Pearl Brewery

Melissa Chamrad posing and smiling for a photoMelissa Chamrad brings a wealth of experience in real estate and thoughtful community development, with a combined 24 years of experience in the construction and real estate industry, including both commercial real estate and multi-family projects. She a member of the Urban Land Institute, CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women), and the San Antonio Real Estate Council.

Ms. Chamrad said, “The focus of BCL of Texas to provide community impact through various financial and civic programs in order to strengthen communities aligns with my core business values and made my consideration in becoming a board member to serve BCL of Texas an easy decision.”

Larry Davolina, City Administrator, Cotulla, Texas

Larry Davolina sitting at his desk with hands folded Larry Davolina brings a deep understanding of the needs of rural communities and will help to grow BCL’s work in both South Texas, as well as rural areas across the state.
Mr. Davolina currently serves as City Administrator for Cotulla, a persistent poverty town less than 50 miles from Laredo. During his tenure as City Administrator, Mr. Davolina has seen the population and property tax revenue triple due to the Eagle Ford Shale. Prior to his term in Cotulla, he served as City Manager of Laredo, Texas.
"Of all the areas in the state of Texas that I’ve lived or worked, I think rural South Texas is the area that has the most needs of the entire state,” he said. “I realize that other areas also have needs, but the area where I think things are totally lacking is in rural South Texas. I see an opportunity for us to be able to reach out and grow BCL’s presence to help the community by bringing much-needed programs to support homeownership, wealth building, and small businesses.”

BCL of Texas Awarded $550,000 Grant to Support Small Business Lending in Rural Texas
We were founded by volunteers in rural Texas as a response to a recession 30 years ago. Our  BCL Promise is to build strong communities across all of Texas and we're still here today, strengthening businesses through this recession. 

We know that rural areas were some of the hardest hit in the coronavirus pandemic, with fewer resources for relief programs and some areas experiencing complete shutdowns and redevelopments that they were not prepared for. 

We want to thank the Economic Development Administration for recognizing the challenges rural communities face, and awarding BCL of Texas with a $550,000 grant to provide loans to coronavirus-impacted businesses specifically in hard-hit rural counties across the state, including:
  • Burleson
  • Caldwell 
  • Colorado
  • Fayette
  • Gonzales
  • Lampasas
  • Lavaca
  • Lee
  • Matagorda 
  • Waller
  • Wharton
BCL Helps Launch the Dallas BUILD Ecosystem!

a logo with green and blue people and buildingsWe know that we're stronger when we work together, so over the last several months, BCL has been working with the City of Dallas and other small business partners to launch B.U.I.L.D, Dallas' first small business ecosystem. 

Powered by AI, the B.U.I.L.D. program website will provide a centralized resource to help small businesses understand the abundance of resources available to them and help identify those that fit their unique needs. The ecosystem organizations are also working together to promote seamlessness and continuity of resources as businesses’ needs evolve and grow.

Brian K. Marshall, BCL Director of Entrepreneurship, said, "Being a part of a new ecosystem like BUILD will further improve efforts to drive more diversity and inclusiveness for our minority and women owned firms during these tough economic times." 

Online Business, HomeOwnership, Mortgage, and Budgeting Classes are Here!
BCL of Texas is partnering with BBVA to offer a variety of free workshops to help you with your everyday finances and long-term financial goals.

Join us for a free workshop this month: 

 Sept 1 | 12:00pm: Obtaining Credit for a Thriving Business
 Sept 2 | 6:30pm: Considering HomeOwnership
 Sept 3 | 1:00pm: Considering HomeOwnership
 Sept 4 | 12:00pm: Business Plans for Sustainable Growth
 Sept 15 | 12:00pm: Business Credit
 Sept 17 | 1:00pm: Credit Scores & Reports
 Sept 18 | 12:00pm: Business Financial Statements 
See All Classes
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