The civil rights movement sought to end legalized racial discrimination against Black-American individuals and communities. For generations, Black Americans were systematically denied opportunities that their White counterparts experienced, from the ability to buy homes to accessing quality education to equal treatment by the criminal justice system.
By Ellis Carr, President and CEO and Scott Sporte, Chief Lending Officer
Note: This Op-Ed originally appeared in the publication Capital Weekly.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s report The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2015, nearly eight million people in California were living in poverty in 2015. The report indicated that the state’s poverty rate was 20.6 percent—well above the national rate of 15.1 percent—and surpassed the rates of every other state in the nation.
As a mission-driven lender, Capital Impact Partners collaborates with a wide range of public, private and philanthropic organizations that invest in our efforts to transform underserved communities into vibrant places of opportunity. These partners—and the financial support they provide—are indispensable. Quite simply, our work would not be possible without them.
The lack of capital for real estate projects, community facilities, and small businesses in low-income communities is a problem that spawns a host of other problems. When there is limited access to capital, there are fewer businesses and jobs, fewer sources of affordable housing, and fewer chances for these communities and their residents to enter the economic mainstream of American life. In short, the lack of capital perpetuates the lack of opportunity.
There is no doubt that improving access to fresh, nutritious foods in low-income communities can help people improve eating habits and prevent diet-related diseases, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
But the impacts for people and communities are even greater than that.