LEDC Creates New Department Dedicated to Providing Direct Financial Assistance to Underserved Communities

News / Press Releases

Immediate Release: October 08, 2020

LEDC Creates New Department Dedicated to Providing Direct Financial Assistance to Underserved Communities

WASHINGTON, DC  - Today, LEDC Executive Director & CEO Marla Bilonick announced the launch of the Direct Community Investments Department. With support from government and philanthropic entities, the new department will deploy capital in underinvested communities in order to meet immediate and pressing needs brought on by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Department is headed by Emi Reyes, Chief of Operations, Risk, and Investments.

“Just as our constituents are being asked to pivot their operations and lives to meet this unique moment; LEDC has created a new department to address the immediate needs of government and private clients that seek to quickly deploy capital in the underinvested communities we serve. By bringing our infrastructure and innovation and matching that with government or private capital; we are able to rapidly deploy funds into the hands of our constituents. We have already been asked to implement this programming in almost every jurisdiction we serve and we are at the ready to do so for additional funders that are seeking to do good on a large scale and in a fast manner. We are so committed to this work that we launched a new department with dedicated staff to implement this work under the umbrella of ‘Direct Community Investments.’” - LEDC Executive Director and CEO, Marla Bilonick.

LEDC is well-equipped to deploy grants to vulnerable households, businesses, and nonprofits in all our markets: DC, MD, VA, and Puerto Rico. To date, LEDC has deployed over $5.5 Million to small businesses and families struggling financially because of the pandemic. These grants have reached communities throughout the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area.

To accelerate the grant deployment process, LEDC has invested in custom software that enables our staff to expedite award notifications and disbursements. It also automates reporting to funders that can be provided at a moment’s notice and is continually updated in real-time. Applicants are able to check their application status and can engage in live online communication with staff. The investment is part of LEDC’s commitment to helping local governments and philanthropic entities deploy funds as quickly as possible to the communities we serve.

LEDC launched the Department to meet immediate and pressing needs brought on by the COVID-19 Pandemic that are most effectively rectified with rapid financial assistance. Since the start of the pandemic, LEDC shifted its work to help working families and small businesses remain as stable as possible, whether through cash assistance or loans. The new department is just one of the many ways that LEDC adapted its operations to ensure the needs of minority and low- to moderate-income communities, that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, are met during this challenging time and beyond. 

Government and philanthropic entities interested in learning more about this new initiative can contact LEDC’s Chief of Development and Strategy, Marjorie Nemes, at [email protected]. Individuals interested in learning about existing grant opportunities can contact Laura Bentley, Direct Community Investments Program Manager, at [email protected].


About The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC)

Working families deserve to live in affordable homes and own successful small businesses, but too many are unable to turn those dreams into a reality. The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) equips Latinos and other underserved communities in DC, MD, VA, and Puerto Rico with the skills and financial tools to create a better future for their families and communities. Participants in our programs learn how to buy and stay in their homes, join with their neighbors to keep their rental housing affordable, and start or expand small businesses.