By Ellis Carr, President and CEO
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.
Our President and CEO Ellis Carr joined with other leaders to contribute a chapter to “The Future of Building Wealth: Brief Essays on the Best Ideas to Build Wealth—for Everyone,” a new and important book discussing promising and best practices for addressing the widening wealth gaps in our society and building power for underestimated communities.
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.
You can also find this content on the Nonprofit Finance Fund website.
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.
This blog also appears on the Nonprofit Finance Fund website. You can read it here.
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) were founded as part of the civil rights movement, to make access to capital more equitable for communities living with low incomes, often communities of color. However, despite the work of this part of the financial services industry, disinvested communities still suffer from unequitable capital access and thereby fewer opportunities for wealth building and shared prosperity. New models are needed to re-envision how transformation of community development can work for disinvested communities and develop local solutions to persistent issues.
By Ellis Carr, President and CEO, Capital Impact Partners, and CEO, CDC Small Business Finance
On Wednesday, I woke up still processing the range of emotions I have felt since watching the jury deliver its verdict in the murder of George Floyd.