Donor Spotlight: Hear from the Gardners on Staying the Course

Angela and Cedric Gardner pose on a BCIF background

Angela and Cedric Gardner believe in staying the course in life as well as in business. Based in the Inland Empire, the Gardners have been married for 34 years and counting. For over 7 years, they have been devoted members of the Black Cooperative Impact Fund’s donor community.  

The success stories from BCIF loan recipients remain a chief motivator for the Gardner’s continued support. Angela beamed, “It shows us that BCIF remains focused on its mission and vision. We are excited to see the growth and success of black-owned businesses in our communities.”

Through a professional association with BCIF President Robert Lewis, the Gardners became aware of BCIF while it was still in its nascent stages.  The zero-interest microloan program was particularly salient to Angela, who has a significant background in workforce solutions.  She stated, “We want[ed] to be part of empowering black folks to succeed in business, closing the racial wealth gap and fostering income mobility within black communities.” 

No strangers to business ownership, the Gardners formerly owned and operated a specialty foods franchise business that employed a staff of 14. However, in 2008 that all changed. The Gardners, like many Americans, buckled in the face of the recession and were unfortunately forced to close their business. They believe that a microloan program such as BCIF might not have only diminished their initial startup woes but quite possibly helped to change the trajectory of their business.  

Today, the Gardners, like BCIF, choose to take pride in how far they’ve come. When asked how they felt about the nonprofit’s work now versus those early days, the Gardners shared that they were especially happy to see that the loan range had increased to a maximum of $50,000.  

If they won the lottery, the happy couple would definitely travel more. They would also encourage and support their 6 children to start the business venture of their dreams. And of course, as they believe in staying the course, they would continue to support BCIF and their faith community.  

Make your donation to the Black Cooperative Impact Fund today and help fuel a perpetual source of capital for Southern California’s African American business community.