Model

There are three parts to the Becky Nelson New Beginnings program model: Application, Loan Recipient, and Advocacy.

Application

The application process generally begins with a referral from a Community Partner, although candidates for loans may also apply directly through the online application form. Once the BNNB board has screened the application and determined that the applicant seems a viable candidate for the program (click here to learn more about candidate guidelines), a BNNB representative contacts the applicant to schedule a sit down interview with one or two  board members. During this interview, the board members have an opportunity to get acquainted with the candidate and learn more about the candidate’s history, current circumstances, and future goals. Additionally, the candidate and board members go over the loan amount proposal, and the board members provide council on payment budgeting, loan terms, and general fiscal responsibility.

Loan Recipient

If the board members determine that a candidate is a good fit for the BNNB program and the candidate agrees to the loan repayment terms, that candidate becomes a Loan Recipient. They then receive a zero interest loan for the goal(s) outlined in their application. Although loan repayment terms may vary from Candidate to Candidate depending on the circumstances, repayment terms and schedules are agreed upon and put into contract before loan payments are disbursed. Loans are paid directly to the establishments providing the goods or services the Loan Recipients are in need of. For example, BNNB loan moneys may be paid to colleges, workforce training institutions, technology and/or business product retailers, real estate agents, etc.

Mentoring is an integral part of the BNNB program model. As part of the program contract, Loan Recipients agree to actively engage in a mentoring relationship with the referring Community Partner or a BNNB board or staff member. Mentors are paired with Loan Recipients in accordance with mutual experiences, interests, goals, and personal characteristics that are indicative of compatibility. For example, if the Loan Recipient’s zero interest loan is used toward the goal of establishing a new business, then that individual will be paired with a mentor who has experience starting and running a business; BNNB Loan Recipients who are single parents might be paired with mentors who have lived through the same experience. The mentoring aspect of the BNNB program cultivates the greatest chances of success for each BNNB Candidate, on an individualized basis.

BNNB Loan Recipients are privy to a wide range of self empowerment resources. In addition to ready access to the guidance and expertise of BNNB board and staff members, Loan Recipients are connected with community resources provided by Community Partners (referring agencies), as appropriate. As such, BNNB Loan Recipients are immediately linked in to a network of community support services that they may not have even known existed before connecting with BNNB.

Advocacy

Loan Recipients who successfully graduate from the BNNB program (i.e. maintain relationships with their BNNB mentors, repay—or, pay forward—their loans, and achieve the goal(s) outlined in their applications) become Advocates. These individuals are encouraged to continually draw from BNNB resources (mentoring, support, etc.) for their advanced/sustained self sufficiency, as well as serve as community stewards for the BNNB mission by sharing their testimonials through various media channels.

Advocates are also presented with opportunities to mentor new BNNB Partners, when appropriate, and invest their talents into the BNNB program. For example, former Loan Recipients have been contracted to write grant proposals, perform accounting tasks, and head communications for BNNB. In this way, the BNNB program model is a cycle that continuously enriches not only the participants, but also the community around them.