NEW YORK (May 7, 2013) – The National Urban League, the nation's largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization, today announced the launch of its first subsidiary in its 103-year history, the Urban Empowerment Fund (UEF) – a new Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and small business loan fund. UEF was created to fill a credit gap which has widened in recent years as a result of the continual fallout from the Great Recession, disproportionately impacting many minority-owned small businesses and those operating in underserved communities.
UEF will provide financing and technical assistance to help small business owners create sustainable companies and vibrant communities nationwide across the markets it serves. Donald Bowen, the National Urban League’s Chief Program Officer since 2006, has been appointed as President and CEO of the UEF, effective May 2.
“The creation of the Urban Empowerment Fund is historic for the National Urban League as it allows us to deepen our community impact by directly supporting small businesses – the drivers of our economy – through financing and other resources they need to thrive long-term,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “Don Bowen has been a transformational leader within the National Urban League, and I am confident that he has the vision, commitment and drive necessary to ensure the success and growth of the UEF.”
Bowen served as the President and CEO of the Urban League of Broward County from 1991 to 2006 and helped build the affiliate into one of the strongest and most impactful Urban League organizations in the country.
“The advent of the Urban Empowerment Fund allows the National Urban League to build upon its legacy role as a social service intermediary to become a financial intermediary,” said Bowen. “Thus, we have a new and powerful set of tools to impact local communities and advance the mission of promoting economic parity.”