Our Loan Client Angela Garcia received special mention in El Hispanic News in “Escuela Viva prepares students to learn through building positive attitudes” By Richard Jones. Excerpted here. See full article here
Sitting at a work table, the director/owner of Escuela Viva explained what made her school different. A quiet hum of children talking to teachers filled the room.
From out of nowhere, a 4-year-old girl with a wide smile ran up and laid a huge bear hug on Angela García — or Angie, as most of the staff at Escuela Viva call her.
Just as quickly as she arrived, the 4-year old was off to resume her current project. García didn’t react as if that display of affection was anything unusual.
A glance at García’s business card explained the flash encounter. “Healthy Spirits, Open Hearts & Active Minds” the card promised.
The basic premise of Escuela Viva sounds simple — but totally logical. “Happy children are ready to learn,” García observes. “It’s important to have a nice, first educational experience to make them love learning.”…
Financing an expansion
Success has it price: too many students, not enough room. Last spring, the school was operating simultaneously at three locations. Even so, “It was getting pretty cramped for space,” García notes.
Thus a search ensued for larger quarters in which she could combine all Escuela Viva’s operations. After some searching, García located a site with 12,000 square feet of space.
Setting up a new center — and moving equipment — demanded some quick capital. Fortunately, García found Mercy Corps NW (MCNW) and Albina Opportunities Corporation (AOC), both of which provided her with the funding she needed after traditional lending resources proved nonexistent. In this case AOC contributed the majority of the loan proceeds and MCNW took a smaller share and agreed to service the loan.
Both MCNW and AOC actively look for chances to help well-run minority businesses to expand. They have teamed up on several other projects in Portland. For details about of this program, call Terry Brandt at 503-288-7292.
Brandt, executive director of Albina Opportunities Corporation, takes pride in helping such a forward-looking school. “Not only does it provide children with a unique educational opportunity, but it has created and will sustain living wage rate jobs in our community,” Brandt observes.
By Susan Rich
Fiona McLaughlin and Aisha Madrone had a dream: provide affordable, high-quality, alternative healthcare to the Portland community…at a price that everyone can afford. Like most dreams-come-true, this one had a few twists and turns along the way.
Three years ago McLaughlin and Madrone launched Seven Star Acupuncture and Apothecary, a clinic focused on the benefits of Chinese herbal medicine. Their services include private and group acupuncture treatments as well as licensed massage therapy, chiropractic care and an onsite herbal dispensary.
“We wanted to provide acupuncture that literally everyone can afford,” said McLaughlin. “People need regular health care to prevent future illness.”
The partners signed a lease on a 2,000-square-foot space at 436 SE 12th Ave. Construction began, then stalled for lack of money. “The renovation cost more than we expected,” McLaughlin said. Banks, sliding into deep freeze mode, refused to loan money.
Then a friend suggested Mercy Corps Northwest. McLaughlin and Madrone applied for, and received, a $13,000 loan.