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Since 1989 the Loan Fund has supported small businesses and community-based organizations throughout New Mexico - all of which have provided benefits to lower income people. Here are a few of their stories.

Unique Cakes by Karyn

When customers walk into Karyn Castillo's bakery in Albuquerque's low-income South Valley area, they are immediately impressed by the samples of her unique creations on the display shelves. Elegant, elaborate wedding confections and unusual specialty cakes, such as an authentic looking fisherman's creel basket and a traditional southwestern pueblo, evoke "oohs" and "ahs."

Unique Cakes by Karyn

Ms. Castillo is a Navajo woman who spent two decades perfecting her baking skills, starting her business in her home in 1997. Two loans from the New Mexico Community Development Loan Fund provided her business with an important boost. Our first loan helped Ms. Castillo purchase a freezer and two display cases so that she could move her business into a commercial space. The second loan provided funding for a booth at a local bridal fair, where she made two critical connections. Today the wedding business comprises half of her income.

Zuni Entrepreneurial Enterprises

Zuni Entrepreneurial Enterprises is a non profit agency providing significant skills training and employment opportunities for disabled persons living on and near the Pueblo of Zuni in northwestern New Mexico. Among the enterprises it operates are an award-winning recycling program, currently employing 15 people with developmental disabilities; two concession stands and a grocery store which serve community residents; a janitorial service; and a Pueblo public transportation system that provides over 17,000 trips for over 100,000 passengers each year. The agency, known as ZEE, provides 24-hour a day support to people in the Zuni community through supported and assisted living programs. The Loan Fund extended a loan to the agency in 1997 to remodel and renovate housing which in turn will help people with developmental disabilities live more productive lives.

Hanks House

Hanks House is a door and cabinetry firm in the low-income North Fourth Street area of Albuquerque. The business is owned by brothers Chris and Ron Hanks. The company fulfills a market demand for high end custom millwork. Since the beginning of 1997, Hanks House has provided seven new jobs. Three of these employees started with Hanks House as sweepers, and have since received on-the-job training on all aspects of wood working. "It is important to us to give our employees advancement opportunities," says Ron Hanks.

Hanks House

With its continuous expansion, the firm moved to larger locations three times since 1994. "The beginning of our fourth year showed us the need for more capitalization to keep up with our orders and expand," Hanks said. "We were unable to get what we required through the banks. The banks were not ready to take a risk on us, especially in this part of town - and the Loan Fund was."

YouthBuild New Mexico Coalition

YouthBuild is a nonprofit organization that provides employment, training, education, leadership skills, and life skills for poor and disadvantaged youth. The organization trains youth in construction and design through hands-on projects while simultaneously assisting them to complete academic work to earn their G.E.D. YouthBuild is currently collaborating with the City of Albuquerque on an affordable housing project. The organization is committed to having youth serve as members of the Board of Directors. Our Business Consultants have worked with the organization on nonprofit management issues including board training and workshops.

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Last modified: September 2023