Op-Ed: Battling Inequity in Food Systems with Entrepreneurship
Communities of color have fewer opportunities in the food economy than whites, resulting in a variety of detrimental impacts, including illness and exacerbation of the racial wealth gap. In this Op-Ed, Capital Impact’s Olivia Rebenal explores how historical inequities have created this situation. She also illustrates a variety of promising initiatives that are being employed to unleash the power of minority entrepreneurs.
The Making of an Equitable Community Development Loan Product
Over our years of working in Detroit, we have provided more than $200 million in financing to support projects that deliver social impact. However, we also learned that a majority of that financing went to white developers despite the city’s population being 79 percent black. This article describes how Capital Impact, with a grant from the CDFI Fund, is working to create a new loan product that will support a more equitable distribution of its financing efforts.
Why this Nonprofit Lender is Shifting its Focus to Detroit’s Neighborhoods
When Capital Impact began working in Detroit in the early 2010s, its focus was to grow density in the urban core of the city with a focus on supporting communities of color. While that work continues, this article explores our strategy to move out into the surrounding neighborhoods to help stabilize and grow those communities.
Through its Michigan Good Food Fund, Capital Impact invests in high-impact food projects and provides technical assistance across the state. As Olivia Rebanal, Capital Impact’s Director of Inclusive Food Systems, notes in the article, “we prioritize our work with food cooperatives because we feel the model allows for the creation of quality jobs.” One such investment includes support for the Detroit People’s Food Co-op, an African-American business cooperative.
NMTC Giving Meals on Wheels San Francisco Room to Grow
New Markets Tax Credit, a program of the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund, is designed to help attract private capital to support community development efforts. This article illustrates how Capital Impact used NMTCs to facilitate the financing of a Meals on Wheels kitchen in San Francisco—even though it is one of the most expensive U.S. cities in which to build. This support will help the program provide more than two million meals to needy residents.
CDFIs are Filling Lending Gaps in Local Financial and Community Development Systems
From automobile lending to small-business support to large-scale projects, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are having a range of impact across Michigan. In this educational piece about the sector, Capital Impact’s work is recognized for helping to create density and promote economic viability in Detroit as well as other communities, including Flint.
Creating communities of opportunity is our commitment to individuals and families nationwide. That means amplifying assets – both financial and community-based – that help individuals and families thrive. Throughout 2018, from criminal justice to education and housing to impact investing, we have striven to foster justice and empowerment to dismantle structural disinvestment and move communities toward shared prosperity. In this newsletter, our 2018 Annual Report shows our impact in our communities throughout last year and our resolve to help communities succeed.
Our 2018 Annual Report: Amplifying Assets
Our efforts to address the root causes of poverty and invest in community success have led us to amazing people across the country. Throughout our Annual Report, you will read stories about some of those people: people with whom we have the privilege to work to transform communities into places full of opportunity and who are able to access opportunity in a way that they had not been able to do before.
Supporting Financial Inclusion for Returning Citizens
After his release from prison, Juan Reid was filled with optimism for how to build a new life. However, like many returning citizens, he faced obstacles that held him back from achieve his goals. With the right support, Juan ultimately founded his own business, demonstrating how equitable and inclusive approaches can support financial inclusion and stability for individuals with criminal records.
When Lixi’s struggles with math began impacting her self-esteem, Montessori For All provided an intentionally diverse and comprehensive alternative to her traditional education. NASCO Properties, Inc., offers Hannah and her fellow residents an innovative solution to the affordable housing dilemma through an alternative to the traditional cooperative model. Across Texas, Capital Impact is supporting several organizations that are improving access to a range of quality services – and increasing quality of life in the process.
Providing Comprehensive—and Convenient—Care for Aging Adults
As Marcelina got older, she struggled to keep her diabetes under control. After being hospitalized for diabetic complications, she was referred to Urban Health Plan’s Center for Advanced Aging conveniently located in her neighborhood. The Center is part of an innovative health movement that delivers comprehensive care to aging populations while allowing them to continue living and remain active in their communities.
“When I tried to say I only wanted to do social investing, and not any conventional investing, they told me I’d starve. I said ‘No, I won’t.’” Years later, with clients in 25 states, financial advisor Andy Loving has shown that you can earn financial returns, as well as social returns, on your investments. In this video, Andy talks about his work and explains why Capital Impact’s Investment Note is part of his portfolio recommendations.
Capital Impact Expands Capacity Building for Real Estate Developers of Color to Washington, D.C.
Development around the Washington Metropolitan area is booming, yet with so much opportunity, the pool of real estate developers still does not reflect the region’s diversity. To increase opportunities for minority real estate developers in Washington, D.C. to participate in the region’s booming development landscape, we are launching our Equitable Development Initiative in the Washington Metropolitan area. EDI targets flexible capital and capacity building tools to minority developers to reduce barriers to entry and strengthen their business enterprises while promoting equitable community development, particularly affordable housing for communities of color.
We are accepting applications for the Equitable Development Initiativenow through July 31st.
Capital Impact and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Celebrate Affordable Housing Milestone
We are excited to celebrate a new milestone as fund manager of the Affordable Housing Preservation Fund, in partnership with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development: protecting more than 600 affordable housing units for individuals and families across the District. With these housing units preserved in our first two deals under the Fund, we have pushed the total number of affordable units preserved under the Fund to more than 1,150.
“It’s so important that, as things change, they are enhanced for the people that live there,” said Mayor Bowser at an event last week to celebrate the protection of affordable housing units at Worthington Woods in Congress Heights. “That is the story of housing preservation. Looking at the good housing stock we have in the District and committing to saving it, and making sure it is there for our residents and future generations. That is why we established the Housing Preservation Fund.”
Immigrant and Workers’ Rights Are Common Thread in 2019 Co-op Innovation Award
Cooperatives have real power to transform structurally disinvested communities into strong vibrant places of opportunity. That is why we partnered with The Workers Lab on our fifth annual Co-op Innovation Award competition. We put out a call to cooperative development organizations that are creating tangible, transformative impact for communities nationwide. More than 100 organizations from all across the country applied.
We are thrilled announce the following three winners of the Co-op Innovation Award, all of which are empowering workers’ and immigrant rights through the cooperative model:
Heat up your summer and career by joining our mission-driven team! Capital Impact offers a mission-driven experience and a suite of benefits. Our openings include a Senior Director, Strategic Lending Initiatives; Structured Finance Manager; and Loan Officer. We look forward to hearing from all interested candidates.
Breaking down historical and structural barriers to success for communities takes innovative partnerships and investments built to afford every individual the ability to prosper. Capital Impact continues to work hand-in-hand with partners to create the change and opportunity that communities see for themselves. Given reminders of injustices both old and new, the need to increase social and economic equity nationwide drives our work every day.
Addressing the National Housing Crisis through Partnerships
Augmenting Affordable Housing for Bay Area Communities
Across the country, communities are experiencing an affordable housing crisis; the San Francisco Bay Area is no exception. We are bringing our experience in expanding inclusive communities by joining the new $500 million Partnership for the Bay’s Future to address this issue. Through this effort, we are working to expand and protect up to 175,000 homes over the next five years and preserve and produce more than 8,000 homes over the next five to 10 years across the region.
Strengthening Underinvested Communities in Washington, D.C.
Housing is a fundamental right, laying the groundwork for all other critical social services. To ensure that more families have access to affordable housing, Annaly Capital Management and Capital Impact launched a new $25 million joint venture committed to supporting affordable housing and other community development projects in Washington, D.C.
Engaging investors big and small to invest in our mission has helped us create social impact in our communities while offering investors the opportunity to “do good” while getting a financial return on their investment. That is why we are excited to have reached a milestone with our investors, selling more than $100 million of our S&P-rated Investment Notes through Incapital LLC’s Legacy platform. In addition, we are proud to be named to ImpactAssets’ 2019 impact investing showcase, our second year in a row.
Broadening Opportunities in Black Entrepreneurshipe
Expanding Economic Opportunity for Entrepreneurs of Color
The opportunity to drive economic growth by investing in Black businesses is real. However, economic opportunity is out of reach for many Black entrepreneurs. Building off of our experience through the Equitable Development Initiative, we are fostering opportunity for minority entrepreneurs in Washington, D.C. through the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund. Started by JPMorgan Chase, the Fund will support local minority entrepreneurs through access to capital and technical assistance.
Empowering Developers of Color to Support Detroit’s Revitalization
Continuing our focus on expanding opportunity for minority real estate developers, the second round of our Equitable Development Initiative is now underway. Launched in 2018 to create new pathways for developers of color to shape Detroit’s future, we have now supported 47 minority developers in the city with the education, mentorship, and resources necessary to enable their participation in the city’s revitalization.
Immigrant rights have been a topic of national conversation of late, creating questions for racial equity and economic opportunity. Centering the needs of underinvested communities is at the core of our work, and in the second half of 2018, we provided mission-driven capital to projects across the country to achieve this goal. We invested in Tacoma Community House in Washington State, Make the Road in New York, and Casa Familiar in California to give voice to the right that the immigrant community has to thrive.
Understanding Inequities Faced by Communities of Color
How the Civil Rights Movement Gave Rise to Community Health Centers
During the civil rights movement, communities of color, particularly those in the South, were not granted equitable access to health care at hospitals. Dr. Jack Geiger changed that by proposing the idea of community health centers to address the needs of underserved communities.
Examining Financial Vulnerability for Black Families
Financial vulnerability is a reality for many people, especially Black Americans. Black households experience more financial vulnerability than all other households, fallings behind in savings, credit, employment, and homeownership. Our latest blog examines the economic outlook for Black Americans.
This spring, join our mission-driven team! Capital Impact offers a mission-driven experience and a suite of benefits. Our openings include a Director of Lending Operations; Real Estate Program Specialist; Manager, Loan Servicing and Loan Accounting, Grants & Contracts Specialist, and several internships. We look forward to hearing from all interested candidates.
As 2018 winds down, we at Capital Impact also reflect on the 50th anniversary of 1968, a pivotal year in identifying the injustices experienced by communities of color. While gains have been made, it is important to ask how far we truly have come and how much harder we must work to create a future in which all people are valued equally. Our mission-driven focus compels us to use those insights – still relevant today – to spread economic, social, and racial justice in our communities nationwide.
Reflections on Equity, Justice, and Innovation
1968: 50 Years Later, How Far Have We Come?
Structural discrimination and ensuing wealth inequality have burdened low-income communities, particularly communities of color, for generations. In 1968, the Kerner Commission reviewed the circumstances that led to race riots across the country, identifying institutional racism and the resultant lack of investment in communities of color as causes central to the violence that boiled over. In 2018, the findings of the Kerner Report still feel fresh, given headlines that we read every day. In our most recent blog, our President and CEO Ellis Carr examines how far we have come since 1968 and what questions need to be answered in order to deliver equity and justice for our most vulnerable communities.
Given continued disinvestment in communities of color, mission-driven organizations have to find strategies for empowering individuals to overcome barriers to success. One of our greatest tools in addressing issues of systemic discrimination and wealth inequity is innovation. Going beyond familiar places and products helps expand our reach to new customers and markets with products and investments that meet contextual needs. Innovation takes time, resources, and most importantly, commitment. We rely on each of our core values to incorporate innovation into our everyday work. Learn more about how innovation is integrated within our organizational culture.
Convening Communities to Promote Inclusive Work and Food Systems
Building Wealth and Preserving Businesses through Worker Ownership
Every year, Baby Boomers reach retirement age, but many Boomer business owners do not have succession plans. As these small businesses close, they leave holes in the local economies that they have anchored for years, and leave millions without jobs. In partnership with The ICA Group and funded by Citi Community Development, Capital Impact released “Co-op Conversions at Scale: A Market Assessment for Expanding Worker Co-op Conversions in Key Regions & Sectors,” a new report that identifies the worker cooperative model as a means to support vibrant community businesses that maintain economic viability and job retention in underinvested communities. We also held a convening to discuss the findings and bring together stakeholders, including keynote speaker Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), who championed the Main Street Employee Ownership Act.
Creating Vibrant Communities through Inclusive Food Systems
Equitable food systems create vibrant, healthy economies. However, many low-income communities, particularly communities of color, have unequal access to healthy food and opportunities within the local food economy. Next month, Capital Impact will bring together local leaders and stakeholders for “Community and Capital: Expanding Equity through Inclusive Food Systems,” a convening exploring how local food systems can be better supported in the District of Columbia. For more information about this event, please reach out to Olivia Rebanal at email@example.com.
Innovating at the Intersection of Financial Inclusion and Mass Incarceration
Each year, Capital Impact joins other organizations and stakeholders at SOCAP to discuss ways to create social impact for underserved communities. This year, we took part in several events, including a “fireside” chat (pictured above) between our President and CEO Ellis Carr and Mission: Launch co-founder Teresa Hodge about the potential for financial opportunity and economic mobility, particularly through entrepreneurship, for returning citizens.
Empowering Minority Developers to Transform Communities
Creating a space at the table for underinvested individuals takes intention. In Detroit, minority real estate developers were underrepresented in development projects across the city. A year into our Equitable Development Initiative – designed to create an entry point for minority real estate developers in Detroit to participate in the city’s revitalization – our first class of participants has received training and mentorship to better help them compete and bring lasting change to the communities that they know so well. Given their progress, we are excited that a second round of the initiative will start training a new cohort of developers in 2019.
In partnership with The ICA Group and funded by Citi Community Development, Capital Impact released a new report that identifies the worker cooperative model as a means to support vibrant community businesses that maintain economic viability & job retention in underinvested communities, explored in this Next City article. We also held a convening to discuss the findings and bring together stakeholders, including keynote speaker Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), shown in photo above.
Capital Impact President and CEO Ellis Carr talked to the Washington Business Journal about settings goals, addressing wealth disparities, and DJing as relaxation (yes, you read that right).
In the latest “Five Minutes With…” blog post by the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND), Capital Impact Chief Lending Officer Diane Borradaile discussed the importance of affordable housing and how, through the D.C. Affordable Housing Preservation Fund, Capital Impact aims to keep low-income District residents in their homes.
Candace Robinson, Capital Impact’s healthy aging lead, was quoted in the Houston Chronicle about the role that older adults are playing in home health care, filling the gap for home health care workers as the number of older adults increases.
Capital Impact’s Equitable Development Initiative was listed in a Model D article as one of several programs helping minority developers to transform their communities.
With your support this year, we witnessed firsthand what is possible when communities are empowered to take advantage of opportunities and reach for a better life.
Whether through affordable housing, cooperative development, or financial inclusion for returning citizens, you have been with us every step of the way as the Capital Impact team worked to break down barriers to success for communities nationwide.
As we continue to address the structural racism and discrimination that hold so many of our communities back, your partnership and dedication gives us the drive to continue this work into 2019 and beyond.
Thank you for your tireless efforts throughout 2018, and we look forward to exciting and transformational initiatives that will create more empowered communities of opportunity nationwide.
We also want to thank our dedicated team, which makes this commitment to our communities possible. Watch our video and see how our values guide the investments that we make every day.
As we close the second quarter of 2019, we are amplifying assets–both financial and community-based–to foster communities of opportunity that create equity for all Detroiters. Read our latest stories to see how we have and how we continue to work toward inclusive, mixed-income neighborhoods in partnership with communities and organizations.
Amplifying Assets: Our 2018 Annual Report
Looking back at our journey through 2018, both as an organization and as a country, it is no surprise to us that Merriam-Webster’s “word of the year” was justice. The meaning and implications of justice were central to important conversations taking place in communities across the United States.
While we are pleased to see attention brought to this critical topic, justice – or the lack thereof – is an issue that we have wrestled with for decades. That is why justice – racial, social, economic – is core to our own mission and is a critical conversation that we seek to drive every day through our work.
In our 2018 Annual Report, read our stories and watch new videos featuring individuals and families who have been empowered to succeed. Also, see highlights of our continued impact as we seek equity, justice, and opportunity for all.
Lessons in Community Development: Woodward Corridor Investment Fund
During Detroit’s economic decline in the early 2000s, the city lost more than a third of its residents. Capital Impact launched the $30-million multi-investor Woodward Corridor Investment Fund (WCIF) in 2013 to increase density in Downtown and Midtown Detroit and begin to revitalize the city.
Through investments in key projects along the Woodward Corridor, we saw signs of progress. Our research also showed, however, that inclusive, equitable community development takes years and a variety of approaches to bring cities back.
Our latest blog shows how far critical investments have brought Detroit from where it was, and how much still remains to be done to revive the Motor City.
Advancing Equity and Opportunity: Equitable Development Initiative
The second cohort of our Equitable Development Initiative came to an exciting end as teams used lessons learned to present sample projects for how they would develop vacant parcels in Detroit’s Islandview neighborhood to an expert jury. While there were many inspirational ideas, we want to congratulate the winners:
Winning team: “SPIRIT” – developed by Ashley McLead, Duane Washington, and John Davis
Runner-up: “RETY” – developed by Essence Hiskman, John Truong, Ronald Weaver and Tracey Yurko
Many thanks to the program resource team, program advisors and jury, including:
EDI aims to build wealth in communities of color in Detroit by providing training, technical assistance mentorship, and project financing to real estate developers of color who are committed to Detroit’s revitalization. To date, Capital Impact has trained 47 individuals through the program and provided predevelopment financing to two projects in Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion and Virginia Park neighborhoods. Stay for updates on new sessions of the EDI program.
Bringing Mixed-Income Housing to the Kercheval Corridor
In May, we provided a $2.93 million construction loan as part of our Detroit Neighborhoods Fund (DNF) for the renovation and construction of the “Kercheval East,” a 16,000-square-foot mixed-use development. Kercheval East will deliver 15 new apartment units and approximately 3,300 sq. ft. of new commercial space along the Kercheval corridor in the Islandview/Villages neighborhoods, just east of several other Capital Impact investments.
Of the 10 one-bedroom units and 5 two-bedroom units, 20 percent will be affordable to households earning less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income. The new apartment units will bring increased density to the Kercheval corridor in alignment with the City of Detroit’s neighborhood strategy. Detroit Body Garage, a community gym, has already signed a lease within the building.
Fostering Inclusive Food Systems: Michigan Good Food Fund
Across the state, the Michigan Good Food Fund (MGFF) is empowering good food entrepreneurs to provide greater healthy food options for communities experiencing economic hardship. Through flexible capital and technical assistance, MGFF helps not only to expand healthy food options to communities, but invests in racial equity for small business owners and communities of color. Watch MGFF’s latest videos featuring Torti Taco and Zilke Vegetable Farm to see the impact that our investments are having for Michigan residents.
Connie joins Capital Impact with more than 20 years’ experience in commercial loan analysis, risk management and relationship management. She served as a small business lender and relationship manager for BB&T in Raleigh, NC for six years, before becoming a portfolio manager in the Special Assets division of Fifth Third Bank in Detroit, MI for the past nine years.
Connie will be responsible for managing Capital Impact’s ongoing loan relationships in the Detroit area. This includes managing day-to-day contact with borrowers, making sure that each relationship’s financial analysis and risk assessments are up to date. Connie has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of Vermont.
Did you know?: Connie has two rescue dogs that she adores from the Michigan Humane Society.
Favorite thing to do/See in Detroit: Connie and her husband regularly take their friends on biking tours of downtown Detroit called “Tour de Shaub.” The most recent one took them from the east side canals to the West Riverfront Park to Lumen restaurant in Beacon Park and to the new rooftop bar The Monarch Club.
Reg Ellis, Origination Loan Associate
Reg comes to Capital Impact with a background in the banking sector, including serving as a personal banker and portfolio banker, as well as a commercial analyst at a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). His former employer was part of the Detroit CDFI Coalition, which is where he learned about Capital Impact’s mission and great work in the area.
Reg is on track to become a loan officer. In his current role, he is on the frontier of new investment and revitalization for Detroit. Reg has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Oakland University and an MBA in Finance and Management from Wayne State University.
Did you know?: Reg is technically a biologist! Consider him your personal liaison to the World of Biology!
Favorite thing to do/see in Detroit: Reg’s favorite Detroit “thing” to do is visit Eastern Market to buy fresh fruit and lamb chops that are destined to be grilled.