Union Bank today announced a two-year grant to the Women’s Social Entrepreneurship Center (WSEC). Under the MUFG Union Bank Foundation’s Technical Resource and Assistance Center program (TRAC), the $200,000 grant will enable the organization to grow and expand its program serving women facing the greatest barriers to entrepreneurship.
[Left to right: Keli “Angel” Burns, WSEC participant and new business owner; Darcelle Lahr, Executive Director, L.C. and Lillie Cox Haven of Hope;Trina Villanueva, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, MUFG Union Bank; Mercedes Gibson, Economic Equity Strategist, The Greenlining Institute; Kimari Williams, Program Manager, WSEC; Marisa Raya, Urban Economic Analyst/Special Projects, City of Oakland]
WSEC is a program of L.C. and Lillie Cox Haven of Hope, which strives to help all individuals enjoy equitable opportunity and support to flourish to their fullest potential. Located on the corner of International and Seminary Avenues in East Oakland, WSEC will serve the community and provide a space for formerly incarcerated women and immigrant women seeking self-sufficiency and economic mobility through business ownership.
The Union Bank grant will help support WSEC’s entrepreneur program, which provides educational workshops, one-on-one counseling sessions, and training. These activities are structured in three phases:
Launching the Social Entrepreneurial Journey: Preparing participants to start their entrepreneurial journeys through exploration of financial literacy, emotional and mental well-being, self and community care, and social entrepreneurship.
Social Impact Accelerator: Introducing business development topics culminating in the completion of a business plan.
Social Impact Consulting: Providing one-on-one advising sessions to guide participants to launch their businesses and prepare for startup capital.
Union Bank is able to drive meaningful change in local communities because of its strength in forming strategic collaborations that bring together all sectors to accelerate the potential for lasting change. Support of WSEC is a manifestation of successful cross collaboration with multiple partners, including the City of Oakland’s Economic & Workforce Development Department and the Greenlining Institute. This investment aligns with the city’s economic development strategy and advances Greenlining’s goals to increase small business development and close the racial wealth gap in Oakland.
“As a financial institution, our success depends, in part, on the success of our local communities,” said Julius Robinson, MUFG Union Bank Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. “We are very proud to support the Women’s Social Entrepreneurship Center because its mission and singular focus aligns with our vision to strengthen economic opportunities for underserved communities. I am especially pleased to know that women in Oakland who aspire to launch their own business will be the beneficiaries of our support.”
“Our goal is to create an environment in which the women we work with feel supported in navigating the institutional and structural barriers intersecting with race, immigration status, gender, and sexuality,” said Darcelle Lahr, Founder and Executive Director of L.S. and Lillie Cox Haven of Hope. “Our belief is that by embarking on the path of social entrepreneurship, these women will gain the knowledge, hope, and self-determination that they need to thrive in the economy and beyond.”
“We are excited for the opportunity to partner with the MUFG Union Bank Foundation,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “We share the bank’s vision of empowering disenfranchised women in our community to seek new opportunities that will help them and their families to prosper. This grant will help propel women to get one step closer to achieving their dreams. We are equally proud to have the Greenlining Institute involved with the efforts. This is a manifestation of the expression, ‘It takes a village,’ and I couldn’t be more proud of our collective efforts.”
About Union Bank
Union Bank is a full-service bank with a rich history of investing in our clients, communities and employees throughout the West Coast for more than 150 years. Union Bank provides a wide range of personal and business banking products as well as wealth management services. With more than 350 branches in California, Oregon and Washington, Union Bank remains committed to serving the needs of its local communities. As a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), one of the world’s largest financial institutions, Union Bank holds our clients’ best interests to heart and remains committed to investing in their success.
About MUFG Union Bank, N.A.
As of September 30, 2019, MUFG Union Bank, N.A. operated 350 branches, consisting primarily of retail banking branches in the West Coast states, along with commercial branches in Texas, Illinois, New York, and Georgia. We provide a wide spectrum of corporate, commercial, and retail banking and wealth management solutions to meet the needs of our clients. We also offer an extensive portfolio of value-added solutions for clients, including investment banking, personal and corporate trust, global custody, transaction banking, capital markets, and other services. With assets of $134.7 billion, as of September 30, 2019, MUFG Union Bank has strong capital reserves, credit ratings and capital ratios relative to peer banks. MUFG Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (NYSE: MUFG), one of the world’s largest financial organizations with total assets of approximately ¥314.5 trillion (JPY) or $2.9 trillion (USD)¹, as of September 30, 2019. The corporate headquarters (principal executive office) for MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation, which is the financial holding company, and MUFG Union Bank, is in New York City. The main banking office of MUFG Union Bank is in San Francisco, California.