Here are some of the programs sponsored by the Ms. Foundation's Collaborative Fund for Women's Economic Development:
In Los Angeles, a program called the Coalition for Women's Economic Development has made 126,000 loans, averaging $1,800 each, to support businesses ranging from janitorial services to catering.
The program has had no defaults. Two women have come off welfare, and the income of all participants has grown by at least 10% to 15% annually, said the fund's executive director, Forescee Hogan Rowles.
* In New York's South Bronx, a program called Cooperative Home Care Associates employs 270 people; all but five are women, most are black or Latino and 70% are part-owners of the company.
The cooperative offers job training for employees, who then become home health aides. The program is also paying for 15 people to attend nursing school.
The project has grown by 50 jobs a year, company president Rick Surpin said. Of those hired, he said, 80% were previously on welfare.
In South Dakota, the Lakota Fund First Circle Banking Project provides loans to members of the Oglala Sioux tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which includes the poorest county in the United States.
The project, which began in 1987 in an area where unemployment is about 85%, makes small-business loans to individuals that average $7,000 each.