In 2006, Sue Wieland and her husband John made a $1 million gift to The Atlanta Women’s Foundation. That generosity continues to be honored with the annual Sue Wieland Embracing Possibility Award. The award is a special grant of $20,000 given annually to one of our grantee partner organizations. The selected organization demonstrates outstanding ability to make significant change in the lives of women and girls through their ongoing work and by using an example of one individual that the organization sees as a shining example of their program.
"What you keep you lose and only what you give remains your own."
2019 Sue Wieland Embracing Possibility Award
Honoree Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs &
Shining Example Juanisa Kimbrough
Started in 1999, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) is a nonprofit community lender that specializes in small-business loans coupled with business advisory services. They assist tiny start-ups and large, existing businesses – modest momand-pop enterprises as well as veteran, seasoned C.E.O.s – by making loans with generous repayment terms and affordable interest rates. For small companies in a vulnerable stage of growth, an ACE loan can mean the difference between success and failure, and for larger companies, their assistance can enhance competitiveness and sustainability. Since 2000, ACE has made more than $69 million in loans and created or retained more than 8,200 jobs. ACE is a partner in AWF’s Women’s Pathway to Success Program.
by Juanisa Kimbrough
We moved my father in law in with us and I had [to] quit my job to help take care of him. We later found out that he was suffering from dementia. He passed away from lung cancer soon afterwards. Shortly after my father in law passed away my husband lost his job and he fell into depression because neither one of us was working and we were afraid of losing everything. I went into the back room of my house to pray. A couple of days later, God put the word daycare into my spirit I felt like I was led to drive around the neighborhood to get an idea of what the other daycare facilities/in home daycares looked like. I asked the Lord what I should name my daycare. Ms. Niecy’s Home Away from Home... dropped out of the sky. “WOW” I said, because I wanted our children to feel like they were at home away from home. I wanted our children to feel safe and loved where a kid could feel like a kid. I signed up for classes to be able to open an in-home daycare.
Our financial situation prior to contacting ACE was hard. My husband and I struggled to make ends meet. We started small but grew quickly and got great ratings. A few years later we wanted to expand and go into a facility, but getting a loan proved challenging. Banks didn’t want to lend to us. No one wanted to take a chance with us. We wanted a better life for ourselves and our children, as well as our daycare children but were hit with closed doors.
After we worked to clean up our credit and began to look at taking out a loan we ran into dead ends. No one, not even our own bank, would give us a loan. We were frustrated that no one would want to invest in us or even trust us. But thank God we found ACE. We saw a brochure for ACE and contacted them. They were the only ones who trusted in us enough to invest in us and gave us a break. We were able to get funding, not only for our initial facility but for two other expansions. We are finally able to live the dream I wanted for our children as well as for our family.
My personal experience with ACE has been unbelievable. They came in out of nowhere and didn’t know us at all. When everyone else said no they said yes. I’m so grateful to ACE. We wouldn’t be where we are now in our lives without first, God, then ACE!
*Edited for length