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Guide to the Coalition for Women's Economic Development Collection, 1980-1999
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Historical Note:
  • Access Terms
  • Administrative Information
  • Arrangement of Materials:
  • Scope and Contents

  • Overview of the Collection

    Collection Title: Coalition for Women's Economic Development Collection
    Dates: 1980-1999
    Bulk Dates: 1986-1999
    Identification: URB/CWED
    Creator: Coalition for Women's Economic Development
    Physical Description: 17.96 linear feet
    Alternate Extent Statement: 8.53 GB of electronic records
    Language of Materials:


    Spanish; Castilian

    Repository: Urban Archives
    Abstract: The Coalition for Women's Economic Development was the first microenterprise development organization in Los Angeles and an early leader in the field of microenterprise development within the United States. The group's training and lending services initially focused on helping impoverished women become self-sufficient business owners and expanded over time to include men and low-to-moderate-income entrepreneurs. The Coalition for Women's Economic Development Collection dates from 1980-1999 and documents the group's activities and partnerships. The collection consists primarily of manuscript materials and includes some photographs, news clippings, and video recordings.

    Historical Note:

    The Coalition for Women's Economic Development (CWED) was conceived in early 1987 by a steering committee of women activists who were investigating ways to provide business development support for women. Beginning as a project of the Southern California Center for Nonprofit Management in January 1988, CWED was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in October of that same year with the mission "to help low-income women achieve self-sufficiency through self-employment." With a focus on small-business owners, CWED was the first microenterprise development organization in Los Angeles and one of the first in the United States.
    Utilizing funding from grants and donations, CWED offered Micro-Business Training Programs beginning in 1989 and started issuing small loans through its Solidarity Circle Lending Program in 1990. Using workbooks and class materials developed by staff, CWED's training curriculum expanded over the years and covered topics such as bookkeeping, business start-up and management, market research, and loan management. Beyond educating and providing access to capital, the group aimed to empower and improve the self-confidence of their participants.
    The coalition also contributed to policy development surrounding street vending and home-based business ordinances, assisted communities in forming their own microloan programs, and set up relief funds for women-owned businesses that were affected by L.A.'s civil unrest in 1992. Together with other organizations, CWED helped to establish the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) in 1991, the California Association for Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO) in 1992, and the Self-Employment Learning Project (SELP) in 1992 which developed evaluation methods for monitoring the progress of microenterprise programs across the United States.
    In December 1995, CWED's Board of Directors voted to close its programming operations. The management of their microloan portfolio continued through 1996 and in 1998, after 10 years of incorporation, the Coalition for Women’s Economic Development dissolved. The group reported that while in operation more than 7,000 women and men in the Los Angeles area had attended CWED's Business Orientation Workshop and more than 2,000 individuals had successfully completed one of the training or lending series. Between 1990 and 1995 the Coalition for Women's Economic Development disbursed more than $600,000 in loans to microentrepreneurs across Los Angeles.

    Access Terms

    This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

    Genre/Form of Material:

    Paper records
    Photographic material
    Video recordings

    Administrative Information

    Processing Information:

    Christine Hertzel and Inderdeep Kaur, 2015

    Conditions Governing Use:

    Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    The collection is open for research use.

    Preferred Citation:

    For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

    Arrangement of Materials:

    Series I: Administrative Files, 1986-1999
        Subseries A: Office of the Executive Director, 1989-1997
        Subseries B: Meetings and Events, 1989-1996
        Subseries C: General Administrative Files, 1988-1999
        Subseries D: Affiliated Organizations, 1986-1996
    Series II: Programming Materials, 1980-1996
        Subseries A: Program Development, 1980-1996
        Subseries B: Workshop Materials, 1989-1996
        Subseries C: Student Materials, 1989-1996
        Subseries D: Statistics, Reports, and Evaluations, 1989-1996
    Series III: Press and Promotional Materials, 1989-1998

    Scope and Contents

    The Coalition for Women's Economic Development Collection documents the activities, programs, services, and policies of the first microenterprise development organization in Los Angeles, California. The collection also reveals early collaborative efforts within the field of microenterprise development during its inception in the United States. The collection dates from 1980-1999, with the bulk of materials dating from 1986-1999. It consists of three series: Administrative Files (1986-1999), Programming Materials(1980-1996), and Press and Promotional Materials (1989-1998).
    Series I, Administrative Files, is further divided into four subseries. Subseries A, Office of the Executive Director (1989-1997), contains correspondence, memos, and announcements for board and staff meetings. It covers the tenure of some, but not all who held the role of Executive Director during CWED's operating years. Subseries B, Meetings and Events (1989-1996), contains agendas and minutes from board and staff meetings, retreats, and various luncheons as well as some planning notes, photographs, and event programs. Duplicative items may exist within the Board of Directors files. Subseries C, General Administrative Files (1988-1999), consists of housekeeping records such as employee forms, sample proposals, policies and procedures, as well as some financial documents, licenses, and contracts. Fundraising resources, proposals, correspondence, and reports are also included. Subseries D, Affiliated Organizations (1986-1996), contains materials related to many of the organizations with whom CWED cooperated. The nature of affiliation varies and may include programming collaboration, contracted services, and/or funding solicitation. The files consist of contracts, correspondence, financials, some meeting agendas and minutes, notes, proposals, and reports depending on the organization and the nature of affiliation. Publications such as brochures, newsletters, and annual reports are also included. All subseries within Series I are arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically within.
    Series II, Programming Materials, is further divided into four subseries which follow the planning, delivery, and outcome of CWED's training and lending services. Subseries A, Program Development (1980-1996), consists of publications such as articles, brochures, pamphlets, reports, workbooks, and videos which likely served as resources for CWED curriculum planning and policy collaborations. Related committee agendas, notes, and proposals are also included. Subseries B, Workshop Materials (1989-1996), consists primarily of workbooks, forms, and handouts used in CWED's training and lending programs. A small number of staff forms and policies are also included, as well as outside resources for students and graduates. Subseries C, Student Materials (1989-1996), contains completed workshop assignments, a portfolio of Solidarity Circle participants, photographs of students at workshops and events, and a notebook which documents the status of students' loan applications. Subseries D, Statistics, Reports, and Evaluations (1989-1996), is made up of various reports and surveys documenting the demographics of CWED's students and borrowers; some of this information is seen in larger reports and proposals to affiliated organizations. Also included are focus group notes and evaluations intended to gauge and improve CWED's services. All subseries within Series II are arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically within.
    Series III, Press and Promotional Materials, primarily consists of newspaper clippings and videos featuring CWED, its students, or related microenterprise efforts. The series also includes awards and recognition presented to CWED along with the coalition's official publications, such as its newsletter, press kit, promotional brochures. Series III is arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically within.