Programs to help entrepreneurs develop new businesses and moderate/low-income people manage their finances are on tap in January from the Center for Community Transformation at Fresno Pacific University.

Launch Central Valley builds new businesses to build the region

Successful small businesses are vital to a flourishing Central Valley in areas from providing jobs to making progress in literacy rates.

Launch Central Valley is helping entrepreneurs start and grow life-giving businesses. This proven 10-week small business start-up boot camp provided direction, instruction and coaching from business experts in marketing, sales, finance and dealing with attorneys, accountants and government officials.

Weekly sessions will be from 6:00-8:30 p.m. Thursdays January 31 through April 4, 2023. Participants will meet online via Zoom, and will have the option of getting individual coaching in person, virtually or over the phone throughout the course. Get more information and register at

Now on its eighth cohort, the LCV has trained 93 entrepreneurs and helped launch or develop more than 52 businesses. Plans are for the program to assist more than 300 area entrepreneurs to get businesses thriving over the next five years, financed by nearly $1 million from the Lilly Endowment.

Scott Johnson appreciated learning about business marketing and legal issues, but the continuing benefit has been networking with experts and like-minded entrepreneurs. “The number of doors they opened for me…they continue to be supportive of me and everyone else in the class,” said Johnson, CEO of Pee Pipe, a portable, disposable urinary device for people with disabilities.

Center for Community Transformation staff members are a continuing resource for LCV alumni. ““That’s something that’s going to continue to pay dividends long after I’ve taken the class. And I’m really grateful for that,” Johnson said. “The class is only $150, and the value is 10 times more than that.”

Faith & Finances seeks volunteers to help the financially vulnerable

People of faith can make a difference in the lives of the vulnerable through the Faith & Finances initiative.

Faith & Finances is a biblically integrated financial education program designed to help low/moderate-income individuals manage money and rediscover their God-given dignity. Church and other leaders will use a six-week, self-paced online curriculum to help others shape a concrete, practical financial education plan tailored for their own needs. Weekly check-ins are included.

Training starts January 25, 2023. Register at

Facts about Faith & Finances:

  • Since 2013, CCT has trained over 225 facilitators and 96 congregations.
  • The need is real: Fresno has 45 concentrated poverty census tracts, according to the Brookings Institute.
  • The initiative is compelled by the payday lender problem in Fresno. More than 60 of these businesses prey on those living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. By comparison, San Jose has more than 1 million residents, and only 30 payday lenders.
  • Payday lenders follow the corridors of poverty, preying on the poor who have fallen on hard times. Learn more at:

F&F was created by the Chalmers Center, which is partnering with CCT to equip institutions in low/moderate-income communities to lead faith-centered financial literacy training. For more information, contact Carlos Huerta at or 559-453-2374, or Jeanette Jaurena at or 559-453-2367. Generous support for Faith & Finances comes from Lilly Foundation, Inc.



Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations