At Momentus Capital, we believe that residents from all walks of life should have equitable access to the things that contribute to their health and wealth. This is especially vital for underestimated communities that often have a harder time accessing resources like good jobs, affordable housing, accessible health care, and more. When these things are present in communities, local and global economies become more prosperous and resilient.
Our CEO Ellis Carr recently spoke about building community resilience at the Yale School of Management (SOM)’s Economic Development Symposium. This annual student-run conference brings together senior thought leaders, practitioners, and investors from academia, government, NGOs, and the private sector to discuss the latest issues in economic development.
His speech tackled a few areas:
The history of law and policies that have deliberately excluded communities of color;
Where we stand today in terms of health and wealth disparities, despite signs of progress; and
A vision for the future including things that the public sector, private sector, and individuals can do together to support the growth of healthy, inclusive, equitable, and resilient communities.
It’s Black History Month! This month, we will celebrate by illuminating the social and economic experiences that shape the lives of African American communities. We also wanted to take a moment to share the history of Black History Month and the theme for this year.
Did you know that Black History is a tradition that started in the Jim Crow era and was officially recognized in 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebrations? It aims to honor the contributions that African Americans have made and to acknowledge their sacrifices. Each year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) chooses a different theme, with this year’s theme focusing on “Black Resistance.”
2022 is a special year for us at Capital Impact Partners as it marks our 40th anniversary. Four decades of leaning into helping people build communities of opportunity and developing pathways to success.
And while this is an exciting time for us as we embark on a new strategy under Momentus Capital, it is equally important to remember our roots as a champion for the cooperative movement.
During the 1963 March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs, attendees peacefully and constructively protested for the end of systemic barriers and racial segregation. These barriers kept members of disinvested communities from good-paying jobs or from owning businesses wherever they chose, which would allow them to share in the prosperity that others experienced.
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.
There was considerable evidence, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, that the United States was marking levels of income and wealth inequality unseen for a century, all during the longest economic expansion in modern history. The stark economic inequalities that individuals and families in our nation are experiencing have been exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic.
The persistence and depth of income and wealth inequality have prompted serious national reflection on the fairness and sustainability of our current policies and systems.
The last 18 months, lived in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, have opened eyes across our country to the inherent inequities that communities of color and communities living with low incomes experience in all aspects of life. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) have a particular mandate to address these inequities and implement practices that help communities thrive. What has the racial reckoning of the past several months meant for CDFIs?
Oakland, Ca. is a vibrant place, a reflection of the multicultural communities within its borders. However, Oakland also experiences poverty, limited social services, and crime, which hold its communities back – particularly communities of color – from achieving their full potential.
Over the past several years, Oakland has seen an influx of residents as the demand for housing in the San Francisco Bay area has driven many people there, on top of the residents who already called the city home.
By Ellis Carr, President and CEO of Capital Impact Partners and CDC Small Business Finance
Last year I opened up my Annual Report letter with a reference to COVID-19. While we were still grasping the seriousness of the situation, we could never have realized the extent to which the pandemic would dominate almost every facet of our lives. Now, as vaccines continue to roll out and many begin to “return to normal”, what we feared then has become reality. Communities of color will be grappling with the long-term impacts for months, if not years to come.
Capital Impact Partners and Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) are decades-old Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) with long-standing commitments to supporting disinvested communities. In recent years, both organizations have explicitly recognized the opportunity to expand their impact by addressing structural racism, both internally and externally, as they deliver products and services to their communities.
Capital Impact and NFF have come together to form Catalyzing Finance for Racial Equity (CFRE), a collaborative that will engage staff, community-centered organizations, and CDFIs in identifying new ways that CDFIs can advance health justice and better support communities by refining or developing new lending products and processes.