Who We Are

Blueprint Investment Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)(3), US Treasury Department certified Community Development Financial Institution with a mission to alleviate poverty, chronic unemployment, and economic inequality in Louisiana's urban and rural centers. We encourage entrepreneurship by providing micro financing to disadvantaged small businesses located in areas in need of revitalization or that are committed to hire low to moderate income residents. Blueprint helps small businesses get started, grow and create jobs in their community and empowers entrepreneurs across the state of Louisiana.

Corporate Documentation

Articles of Incorporation 
IRS Determination Letter 
Board Bylaws

Board of Directors' Biographies

Lawrence Williams, President 

Lawrence Williams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University New Orleans in 2000. After graduation, he served as an Executive Fellow in the Office of Governor Gray Davis, State of California. Following this one-year appointment, he returned to New Orleans to serve as a political appointee to New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin's administration. As Program Manager for the New Orleans Brownfields Program he oversaw the city's efforts to rehabilitate multiple contaminated commercial real estate projects in the New Orleans metro area. In 2010, Lawrence joined Blueprint Investment Fund's board of directors and currently serves as the organization's Board President and Chief Executive Officer. He is responsible for over-seeing and advancing Blueprint's vision, ensuring that its programs are professionally designed, adequately resourced, and achieve the desired results. Lawrence is responsible for the administration of the micro loan and development program, fundraising and overall operations for the organization.  

Isaac Williams, Vice-President 

Isaac Williams earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in computer science from Southern University New Orleans. His education gives him a firm foundation in technical analysis and computer applications and he uses those skills to help our clients use technology to improve their processes. Additionally, Isaac’s work history includes project management for a general contractor. In this role, he fully managed the light construction projects from the initial bidding process to completion. His project management experience helped him refine his time management skills because he was responsible for preparing the bids, cost analysis, and each step of the process from start to finish.  Isaac’s educational background and work experience is a strong asset to our clients.
 
For 15 years Isaac has gained invaluable experience as a telecommunication technician with extensive project management, service/installation and computer networking. The telecommunication industry is highly competitive and it requires its technicians to have a strong grasp for details and good listening skills. Isaac’s philosophy is that in any industry, customers tend to tell you what they need but in an indirect way. He helps train our clients to anticipate their customers’ needs and match them with services that accomplish their goals.

Lauren E. White, Secretary

Lauren E. White earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Communications from Loyola University New Orleans in 2002. She has a plethora of experiences and qualities that she is able to share with Blueprint’s clients; some of the services, advice, and recommendations she offers to Blueprint's clients include Marketing, Public Relations, and Social Networking. She also has experience in graphic design, photo editing, and layout and design. Lauren also provides in-class instruction on relevant and/or requested topics.  Lauren has the ability to take on many projects (and types of projects) at once and shares her impeccable planning, execution, and multitasking abilities with our client base. In past years, she has been hired to plan and execute projects, market a restaurant, design advertising campaigns and brand companies, present at conventions and conferences, and much more. Lauren has a proven track record of creating new professional contacts and links for business through marketing and social networking.

LeKesiah Washington, Tresurer

LeKesiah has over 20 years of experience providing tax and accounting services to businesses and individuals. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Southern University New Orleans.  In 2008, she founded her private accounting practice after a number of years in the industry. She is an experienced expert in personal and business taxation and in representing taxpayers before the IRS and state tax authorities. She provides our clients with professional auditing services.

Michelle Burton Oatis

Michele is the co-owner of CupCake Fairies LLC and New Orleans Video Voices. As a lifelong resident of New Orleans, she received a B.A. from Dillard University. She has over 17 years of experience as a public school teacher and is the Co-Founder of two businesses, the New Orleans Video Voice and CupCake Fairies.

Benardett Jno-Finn

Benardett earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Syracuse University in 2006.  Upon graduation, she traveled to Austria to conduct electrochemical research for the National Science Foundation.  In early 2007, Benardett worked on Capitol Hill conducting research for healthcare legislation.  In late 2007, Benardett worked for the New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Health Policy & AIDS Funding and she is the founder, CEO of Senica Naturals, a New Orleans based body products company.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                        
General Contact 
info@blueprintfund.org
(504) 407-5804 (New Orleans Metro Area)
(888) 559-0995 (Outside GNO Metro Area)
 


What's Our Purpose

Blueprint Investment Fund's mission is to alleviate poverty, chronic unemployment, and economic inequality among residents living in areas of Louisiana in need of revitalization and/or small businesses that are committed to hire low to moderate income residents. We restrict our lending to Louisiana populations in severe, personal economic distress.

Our economic development activities focus on...
• Low-income, disadvantaged, minority and women entrepreneurs who otherwise might not have access to resources and technical support to launch their businesses
• The unemployed and underemployed by launching and nurturing businesses in niche commercial markets holding growth potential by creating jobs and creating the means to access such jobs
• Louisiana residents to be served who live in neighborhoods and areas confronting conditions of deterioration, and/or in need of recovery or revitalization by generating capital investment and income growth through the creation of businesses that otherwise will not exist and/or be sustainable enterprises.
 


Whom We Serve

Micro Lending Program

Blueprint Investment Fund, Inc is a nonprofit economic development corporation. We provide micro loans of up to $35,000 to entrepreneurs, which can be used for working capital and acquisition of materials, supplies, furniture, fixtures and equipment. Our micro loan repayment terms are set between a 5-8% interest rate. Blueprint originates, underwrites, processes, closes and services interest-free micro loans to low-income and disadvantaged micro enterprises. Blueprint considers new or existing Louisiana businesses physically located in a US Housing & Urban Development (HUD) designated Empowerment Zone/Renewal Community a priority for the micro loan program. HUD defines a Empowerment Zones and Renewal Communities as highly distressed urban and rural communities that may be eligible for a combination of grants, tax credits for businesses, bonding authority and other benefits. Highly distressed refers to communities who have experienced poverty and/or unemployment based upon definitions in the law.

Private Equity Program

Blueprint is a non-profit economic development corporation that leverages private, state and federal economic development resources that bring businesses, technologies and jobs to communities under served by traditional venture capital. Blueprint’s typical initial investment ranges from $100,000 to $500,000.





Group Presentations
Blueprint Investment Fund staff members are available to speak to groups. Blueprint provides presentations to community groups about our micro lending and private equity programs. Blueprint’s team of management consultants are very familiar with the challenges associated with growing a company and would be pleased to present details of our services to your organization. Click here to schedule a speaker for your event.



Media Relations
Media inquiries should be directed to Blueprint’s media relations representative via email. Click here to contact Blueprint media relations specialist.





 
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