In August, our President and CEO Ellis Carr participated in “Catalyze,” a podcast of the Greater Washington Partnership. “Catalyze” brings together leaders from Baltimore to Richmond who are working to make this the most inclusive growth region in the country. It features leaders from across the Capital Region in conversation about how business is taking a stand to catalyze solutions to close the racial equity gap.
In February, our President and CEO Ellis Carr sat down with the Greater Washington Partnership’s CEO J.B. Holston for a conversation about economic power and inclusive growth in disinvested communities, and the role that Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) play in transforming communities nationwide into places of opportunity, including in the Washington Metro area.
CDFIs have long operated hand-in-hand with our neighbors, living and working in close proximity to the communities in which we invest; community investment is at the center of our work. Working shoulder-to-shoulder with communities, we help foster the future they see for themselves, using inherent community assets to build an equitable and prosperous future. That community-centric approach helps us create tools and solutions that both work for communities and foster transformative change.
Since COVID-19 began, times have been incredibly trying for many across the country. Schools and teachers have been particularly hard-hit, having to figure out what education looks like in this new reality. It has been grueling, the hours have been long, and all of this has taken place as teachers and school staff fear for the health and safety of their students, loved ones, and themselves.
By Mary Donnell, Program Manager, Michigan Good Food Fund
The grocery business is more competitive than ever. Even in normal times, much of the market share is taken up by the big-box players. But in the face of an unprecedented pandemic, local, independent grocers are focusing more deliberately on serving their communities, going out of their way to provide the goods that customers that they often know by name need. These grocers continue to fill an important niche in the landscape, often serving communities that do not see much investment from national chains with top-notch customer service and a focus on community development and local food.
By Alison Powers, Cooperative & Community Initiatives Manager
In early 2020, Capital Impact Partners, in partnership with the National Cooperative Bank, awarded a total of $100,000 to three awardees, – ChiFresh Kitchen, The Guild, and the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative – through its Co-op Innovative Award. Capital Impact’s Co-op Innovative Award aims to increase co-op development in communities with low incomes and/or communities of color. This year, the Co-op Innovation Award focused on organizations educating new audiences on the impact and potential of the cooperative model to disrupt income inequality, steward community ownership, and create strong vibrant places of opportunity.
For generations, systemic racism has kept many people of color from achieving even a basic standard of living, which includes social services that help communities thrive.
As we wrote in the first of our series looking at the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color, the disproportionate impacts on communities of color have made these deep inequalities undeniable nationwide.
Editor’s note: This conversation took place virtually to protect all participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. There may be sound issues, as this was a live webinar.
As COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact communities of color, it is important that supporting developers of color does not stop. As not only business owners, but community builders, developers of color come from, live within, and understand the investments that often disinvested communities want for themselves and future generations. However, because of systemic disinvestment, developers of color have far fewer opportunities to engage in their chosen profession or create the lived environments that would support communities of color.
“Structural racism has always been a pre-existing condition for communities of color.” -Race Forward
People in disinvested communities, often communities of color, understand this statement too well. It has rung true for generations. Structural racism affects more than just health; systemic discrimination has negatively impacted every aspect of life for communities of color, from accessing quality health care and education to qualifying for housing to procuring healthy food within their neighborhood.
By Ellis Carr, President & CEO, and Daniel Varner, Board Chair
Over the past several weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the world for all of us. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been—and will continue to be—affected by this devastating event.
We want to express our deepest gratitude to those who are serving on the front lines during this crisis: doctors, nurses and other health care workers, pharmacists and grocery store employees, restaurant owners and delivery crews and everyone who has sewn masks and donated food and supplies to those in need. We are truly indebted to them for their sacrifice and hard work.