Left: Mark Masterson of the NSCDF recieves a check from The United States Small Business Administration (Photo/Kelsey Shea)
The Northside Community Development Fund hosted its fourth annual luncheon last Thursday at the Lexus Club in PNC Park with Sen. Bob Casey D-Pa. as the keynote speaker.
The luncheon recognized members of the community and partnerships that helped the fund gain 2.460 million dollars in additional loan capital to invest into Northside neighborhood businesses this year.
A total of over 3 million dollars in additional funds were presented to NSCDF at the luncheon by several banks, Rivers Casino, the US Small Business Administration and the federally run Community Development Financial Institution Fund. The money will be used to distribute loans and financial services to local businesses to promote community development.
In the past year, NSCDF, which is a subsidiary of the Northside Leadership Conference, gave 20 loans to local businesses including, Deli on North, Bistro to Go and ImbuTec, which provides energy-efficient lighting solutions.
Among other achievements, Executive Director Mark Masterson noted he was especially proud of the fund’s track record in giving loans to minority and women business owners. Thirty two percent of the Fund’s loans are held by minority-owned businesses, and 29 percent are held by businesses owned by women.
About 200 bankers, local business owners, sponsors, community leaders and the fund’s board of directors attended the luncheon.
Masterson addressed the business owners in attendance who had received loans from the fund by saying “I want to thank you for choosing the Northside as your home.”
“We do all this to create a better and more sustainable Northside,” he said.
The keynote speaker, Casey, was originally scheduled to speak in person, but needed to remain in Washington to work on the national budget. The senator instead, video conferenced in from D.C. to discuss the support small businesses in Pittsburgh were receiving from the federal government.
“Having this opportunity to speak to you is very valuable to me,” said Casey, whose live feed was projected onto a large screen at the front of the room and on several TVs around the hall.
Masterson introduced Casey by noting his unrelenting support of the Northside Community Development Fund and similar community organizations.
“We know one of the best ways to support small businesses is to support community development funds like this one,” said Casey
In his speech, he largely focused on the importance creating jobs to stimulate both local and national economies.
“The impact of creating a job in the Northside will have a critical impact on the city and community as a whole.”