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Charter Fund Invests $1M in Ohio Small Business Lender

Charter Communications said its Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund has made a $1 million investment in the Economic and Community Development Institute, an Ohio community development lender aimed at helping small businesses.

In addition, Charter said Jeff Buller, the Charter executive overseeing the Spectrum Loan Fund, has been named to ECDI’s board of directors.

“Charter is investing in the communities in which our customers and employees live and work, and we are excited to be partnering with ECDI in Ohio,” Buller said in a press release. “In order to provide a complete funding package to ECDI, Charter is investing capital that will become small business loans, as well as providing grants that will be used to provide assistance to and training for small business owners. I look forward to serving on the ECDI Board and being part of the great work it is doing to support small businesses in Ohio.”

Charter launched the Spectrum Loan Fund in February, pledging to invest $10 million in capital by the end of 2021 by making loans of up to $1 million to community development investment funds (CDFIs) in its footprint.

“We are grateful for our partnership with Charter and its investment in Ohio’s small businesses,” said Inna Kinney, ECDI founder and CEO in a press release. “It will enable us to provide much-needed capital, incubation services and technical assistance to the businesses that need it most, as they deal with an altered environment in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Charter’s investment helps us sustain underserved communities’ access to jobs and demonstrates both ECDI’s and Charter Communications’ commitment to supporting local economies.”

This is the third investment the Spectrum Loan Fund has made in the past three months.

Charter previously announced $1 million investments in Pursuit Community Finance in New York and PeopleFund in Texas. Over the next year, the Spectrum Loan Fund expects to invest an additional $4 million across CDFIs in California, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Charter has said it hopes its $10 million commitment will serve as an anchor investment that will lead to additional third party commitments for the small business community. The company said its investments in New York, Texas and Ohio are expected to be combined with an additional $12 million in total capital from other sources and to lead to the creation of hundreds of new jobs in underserved communities throughout those states.