Community Development Loans

Investing in the social infrastructure of the community

Rafaela GuzmanRafaela Guzman needed a change. She knew her health could be better, her stress level could be lower, and she would benefit from a little time for herself. She had many friends and co-workers who felt the same way.

Rafaela thought aerobics might help her feel better and she approached ACLF with a small request: she needed some lumber to build steps for step aerobics. She needed a long-term fitness program for herself and other women like her.

“ACLF motivated me to take charge of this idea,” she recalls. So she learned how teach aerobics, gathered ten other women to participate, took a business class from ACLF, and applied for a forgivable ACLF Community Development Loan to get started.

In March 2006 Mujeres Determinadas por su Salud was born. Today, the program has blossomed from the core aerobics classes to include nutrition classes, a weight loss program, make-overs, and yoga classes.

For Latino women, whose core responsibility is to care for their husbands, children, and homes, having an organization of their own is an empowering experience.

Rafaela sums up her accomplishment this way: “These classes are how we women can feel healthy and be healthy. The dishes can wait. This is the time that we women need. This organization is for all women in our community.”


Support for neighborhood and youth groups

Community Development Loans support neighborhood and youth groups in their efforts to address community problems or develop self-help projects. So far, these loans have seeded a self-help women’s aerobic program, several youth projects, and various community college clubs that are involved in the community.

Groups can apply for up to $1,000.

What types of problems are there in the colonias?

Colonias are geographically isolated communities that lack basic services, including fire and police protection, social services, recreational programs, parks, supermarkets, and schools. This means that the members of colonia communities have to address issues affecting their community. In many cases, the community lacks the support and resources to address these complicated social needs and is thus, unable to thrive. Too often, this results in stagnation or further deterioration of these communities.