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April 26, 2022   •   News  

SAFE Nominees Win Sacramento SBA Business of the Year Awards

Folsom, Calif.  (April 25, 2022) – Two SAFE Credit Union-nominated businesses will be recognized by the Sacramento District office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) during National Small Business Week (May 2-5).

Arthur Murray Dance Studio  of Folsom won the Sacramento District's "Business of the Year" award. Roseville-based Wellness Together  earned the district's "Minority-Owned Business of the Year" award. SAFE commercial loan officers nominated each award recipient.

SBA Busines awrds recipientsLeft:Arthur Murray Dance Studio of Folsom franchisee and owner Kate Gonzalez. Right: Marlon Morgan, founder and executive director of Wellness Together.

“The nominations and subsequent awards demonstrate our commitment to celebrating and supporting businesses throughout the Sacramento region,” says SAFE Credit Union Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending Ken Getz.

With the help of an SBA 504 loan administered through SAFE, Arthur Murray franchisee and owner Kate Gonzalez is set to open a second ballroom dance studio in Rocklin this May.

“There are so many small businesses that are working so hard in our communities, and for SAFE to recognize us makes me very grateful and honored,” says Gonzalez.

Gonzalez has operated her Folsom location for seven years and became a business member of SAFE last year.

"Assisting Kate to expand her business has been very rewarding", says SAFE Credit Union Senior Business Development Officer Carmine DeCicco. “We are so happy she is receiving this award and getting the recognition she deserves for operating – soon to be – two thriving businesses in our communities.”

Arthur Murray Dance Center Arthur Murray of Folsom franchisee and owner Kate Gonzalez dances with her husband Roberto Gonzalez at her dance studio being recognized in May by the Sacramento District of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Gonzalez’ dance studio teaches individuals and couples of all ages a variety of dance lessons including ballroom, country western, Latin, swing and salsa. "Our award also draws attention to the importance of supporting dance and all performing arts as a valued part of the community." Gonzalez says.

SAFE Business Development Officer Eric Grabin nominated Wellness Together after being impressed with the nonprofit’s efforts and recent growth throughout California. “I hope the SBA accolades help them share with more people in the community about what they do, and they gain more local support for their mission,” Grabin says.

A loan from SAFE assisted the nonprofit’s executives to purchase an office suite in Roseville – enabling them to consolidate three existing offices. Wellness Together joined SAFE in 2016 after first incorporating as a nonprofit.

“Receiving this award is really validating for our mission, which is to increase mental health care access to students and families who would not normally get this support,” says Wellness Together Founder and Executive Director Marlon Morgan. “We really appreciate the support from the SBA Sacramento District, and SAFE for nominating us.”

Wellness Together offers mental health services to area school districts on-campus and online. The non-profit’s therapists use an integrated approach and become part of each school site and its culture, while also offering cognitive behavior therapy. Thus far, Wellness Together has partnered with school districts to provide access to mental health services and support to 116,000 K-12 students, 20,300 college students, and 33,000 educators throughout California and New York City.

Receiving the minority-owned business award also helps “emphasize Wellness Together's continual commitment to providing mental health awareness, access, and advocacy for communities of color,” says Wellness Together Director of Operations Jacob Vallejo. “Equitable mental health services across all communities are what we strive to achieve each day."

Jacob Vallejo Jacob Vallejo, Wellness Together director of operations.

The two enterprises are a testament to SAFE’s commitment to re-energize and supporting businesses and nonprofits operating in a variety of markets, says Getz. “Helping businesses with loans is one thing,” Getz says, “but we are also here to support our area businesses as well as our communities.”

“We have an excellent relationship with SAFE,” Vallejo adds. “Eric Grabin has always been a reliable and great source of knowledge for us, navigating us through loan applications and with any follow up. I know I can give him a call anytime about any sort of issue or with any banking questions.”

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The National 2022 Small Business Awards showcase businesses and nonprofits, calling attention to their successes while inspiring others to pursue dreams of entrepreneurship. The awards also coincide with Capital Region Small Business Week (May 2-7) events taking place throughout the Sacramento area. Gonzalez and Morgan are expected to receive the awards during special individual SBA Sacramento District presentations that same week.


About SAFE

SAFE Credit Union has made members an integral part of its vision since 1940. Over the years the credit union has kept the focus on what really matters, putting members first, a formula that has seen SAFE grow into a leading financial institution in Northern California with $4.5 billion in assets and about 242,000 members. SAFE crafts every cutting-edge product and sterling service with members’ needs foremost in mind. In addition to banking services conveniently available through online, chat, mobile, or phone options, SAFE offers in-person services for members and small businesses at service centers across the Greater Sacramento region. SAFE is a not-for-profit, state-chartered credit union with membership open to businesses and individuals living or working in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Sutter, Butte, Nevada, Solano, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Yuba, Amador, and Alameda counties. Insured by NCUA.

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