WILMINGTON – A charity led by Ashley Biden, the daughter of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, has donated $26,500 toward a fund that will support minority entrepreneurs as they launch or grow small businesses in Wilmington.
[caption id="attachment_214596" align="alignleft" width="240"]Ashley Biden's Livelihood Fund recently donated $26,500 to True Access Capital in Wilmington. | PHOTO COURTESY OF VICE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE/WIKIMEDIA[/caption]
Biden’s Livelihood Fund raises its funds through the sale of a limited collection of organic cotton hoodies, a venture she originally launched with Gilt Group in 2016 that raised $30,000 in its first collection. The fund aims to address economic inequities and increase funding for community development initiatives in both Wilmington and Anacostia, a neighborhood in Washington, D.C.After stepping down from her full-time role leading the Delaware Center for Justice in 2019 ahead of her father’s run for the presidency, the budding fashionista has spent time on the brand that she founded during Joe’s vice presidency.“This is a brand that is all-inclusive, non-partisan, and empowering. The goal is to educate one another about economic inequality in the United States, celebrate extraordinary everyday people, provide funding for economic advancement, restore decision making at the community level, and provide cozy, functional, and sleek hoodies,” she wrote in a note on Livelihood’s website after returning to the effort full-time.Last year, she relaunched the brand, hired a team, and began seeking additional funding to aid the target communities and startup capital for production of a second collection. The nonprofit now donates 10% of every Livelihoodie purchase to a community development financial institutions fund, or CDFI.CDFIs are nonprofit lenders that utilize both U.S. Department of Treasury funds and private sector donations to reach distressed communities at favorable terms. They have been particularly effective in reaching minority communities and undocumented residents amid the pandemic.The first publicly announced CDFI donation went to Wilmington-based True Access Capital, which supports business owners and entrepreneurs in Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania, especially women, minorities and those underserved by traditional lenders, with technical expertise and access to capital.True Access Capital President & CEO Vandell Hampton Jr. thanked Biden for her generosity and said her involvement will “help True Access Capital build the momentum necessary to grow this fund.”“Ashley Biden shares True Access Capital’s vision for a flourishing community of minority and woman-owned small businesses in and around Wilmington. This gift will help set in motion a fund that will empower new and existing entrepreneurs with the technical assistance and capital necessary to build and grow businesses that create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods,” Hampton said in a statement announcing the donation, adding that additional details were expected to be announced at the True Access’ Oct. 28 annual meeting.Biden said that she was excited to donate to True Access because “Wilmington will always be home, which is why I want to see this community grow and flourish.”“I’m especially aware that the success of businesses owned and operated by women and people of color can lift up not just individual business owners, but entire families and neighborhoods, providing jobs and helping build the foundation for the kind of generational wealth that can alter lives,” she said in a statement.