Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott gives $5 million to support ACE’s mission of helping minority, women, and low-to-moderate income small businesses and communities thrive.

Atlanta, GA, December 15, 2020 — Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) announces today it has received a $5 million unrestricted gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This is ACE’s largest contribution received in its 20-year history.

ACE – a Georgia based not-for-profit and mission-driven small business lender – will use the funds to continue helping metro Atlanta and North Georgia underserved small businesses, across 68 counties, rebound from the devastating economic impact of COVID-19. Timely, Scott’s generosity will help to fuel ACE’s vision to create a ripple effect that not only has a positive impact on the individuals ACE serves directly, but also on their families, employees and communities through economic empowerment and equitable wealth creation.

During this pandemic year of 2020 ACE has helped more than 600 hard hit small businesses with $24.5 million in loan capital matched with business counseling (this includes 172 Paycheck Protection Program loans averaging $26,000). Forty-nine percent of the loans went to women, thirty-nine percent to African American business owners and seventeen percent to Hispanics. For perspective, ACE provided 91 loans last year and had 274 loans in its 2019 loan portfolio.

Founder and CEO, Grace Fricks stated “MacKenzie Scott’s inspiring transformative gift comes just in time to enable ACE to continue assisting these 600 businesses and more Georgia businesses with rebuilding in 2021.” When ACE provides a loan that fortifies a business and creates or sustains jobs, Georgia’s economy is strengthened.

Working virtually from their homes ACE staff stepped up to the challenge to stabilize small businesses. New technologies were introduced while all ACE jobs were maintained. Using a proven model that combines capital, coaching and connections to jumpstart small business or support growth, ACE prides itself on helping business owners when others will not or cannot.

Similarly, MacKenzie Scott asserts that nonprofits “help by delivering vital services, and also through the profound encouragement felt each time a person is seen, valued, and trusted by another human being. This kind of encouragement has a special power when it comes from a stranger, and it works its magic on everyone.” In 2020, MacKenzie Scott is ACE’s encouragement, hope and magic. ACE invites you to read her blog, 384 Ways to Help.