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Achieving Dreams - Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

The Fund for the Common Good Allows the Board of Directors to respond to urgent needs...

The two-story brick building at Stanislaus Avenue and Fulton Street in Fresno is a business hub that nurtures the aspirations of budding entrepreneurs – and the Fresno Regional Foundation helped make it happen.  By seeing an opportunity and acting on it, the FRF Board helped the Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber build a way for people to achieve their dreams of business ownership and financial independence.  What better way to transcend boundaries?

The Downtown Business Hub is the brainchild of the Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  The Hub's aim is to act as an incubator for people who want to establish or expand a business.  According to Dora Westerlund, President and CEO of the Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber, “it's the first time that a Chamber has established a business incubator in California and one of the first in the entire nation.”

The Chamber, formed in 2001, acquired the two-story brick building in 2007 with a $1.7 million federal grant.  The project, however, hit a snag. The grant required matching funds, which involved an updated appraisal of the building - all of this during an economic downturn.  

Chamber representatives worked diligently to resolve the complications only to encounter additional payment requirements as the project timeline extended.  One of FRF’s Board members learned of the dilemma and brought it to the attention of the entire FRF Board.

The FRF Board voted to make a grant to the Chamber from Board for the Common Good. This $24,000 grant, along with other money raised by the Chamber, helped cover the Chamber’s expenses for six months.

Westerlund said that the Chamber and its Board of Directors are deeply grateful for the Fresno Regional Foundation's support.  “They not only helped the Chamber, but our entire community.”

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