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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.