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The History of Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help (C.A.S.H.)
Washington C.A.S.H. began in 1995 after founder Peter Rose traveled to Bangladesh and observed Grameen Bank providing small loans to groups of poor women. Peter was intrigued, and was sure that a similar peer lending based microfinance model could work in the U.S. When he studied the more complex U.S. business environment, however, he added something new: in-depth business training.
Like the Grameen Bank, we believe in the inherent strength, determination and intelligence of low-income entrepreneurs, and we help people to develop themselves by developing their businesses. By providing business development training, one-on-one coaching, collateral-free microloans, peer support, mentorship, Individual Development Accounts and computer lab access, Washington C.A.S.H. helps hundreds of individuals build businesses, income and self-confidence each year.
In fiscal year 2012, Washington C.A.S.H. provided extensive microenterprise development services to 747 clients. Since inception, over 1,600 businesses have been started or expanded and more than $880,000 in microloans have been made by our program.
In addition, C.A.S.H. has provided over 180 IDAs and participants have invested at least $130,000 in their businesses. The IDA program is an innovative savings account program in which dollars are matched two to one to encourage saving habits, create capital to expand small businesses, and build lasting assets.
Our clients live in King, Snohomish, Kitsap, San Juan, and Pierce counties and possess the determination necessary to start their own businesses. Characteristics of Washington C.A.S.H. clients include:
- 70% are women
- An average client supports a family of 2.8 and has an annual household income of $22,267 when they enter our program
- 98% are considered ‘low income according to HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development)
- 73% are living under 150% of poverty ($21,855 for a family of two)
- 57% of Washington CASH clients are people of color
- 14% of female clients are single with children
Washington C.A.S.H. is a certified Community Development Financial Institution, a Community Development Entity, and we are a Small Business Administration Microloan Program Intermediary lender.
Organization and individual staff awards include:
- 2010 Home-Based Business Champion of the Year
- 2009 Aubrey Davis Award for Progressive Leadership
- 2005 Women’s Business Exchange Networker of the Year Award
- Small Business Administration Home-based Advocate of the Year
- 2002 Deutsche Bank Microenterprise Excellence in Training
- SBA Vision 2000 Models of Excellence and the Victory Against Hunger Award