The Fund Will Increase the Pipeline of Funding for Black-owned Small Businesses
The Expanding Black Business Credit network (EBBC) officially announced today the final close of its Black Vision Fund. The fund will lend long-term funds to six successful Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) with long histories of inclusive investing in order to expand their lending activity to small businesses in underserved communities. A primary goal is to reduce the racial wealth gap that plagues the Black community.
“The Black Vision Fund is the result of a network of Black-led/focused loan fund CEOs collaborating to create a fund that will demonstrate that there is a large market opportunity that has been neglected, which is the growing number of successful Black-owned small businesses in the country,” says Gary Cunningham, President and CEO of Prosperity Now. Black Vision Fund’s CDFI network servicing a variety of markets across the country includes MEDA, Community First Fund, City First Broadway Bank, Black Business Investment Fund, Hope Enterprise Corporation/Credit Union, and National Community Investment Fund.
EBBC members are experienced Community Development Financial Institutions with more than $1.5 billion in combined total assets who currently help support entrepreneurs and small businesses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and California.
The fund will be managed by LISC New Markets Support Company (NMSC), an affiliate of Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and benefits from an anchor contribution from EBBC made possible by a significant grant from Wells Fargo. Additional funding partners include Amalgamated Bank, Ceniarth, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). All of these funders have contributed long-term, low-interest loan capital to the Black Vision Fund which will be on-lent to participating CDFIs. The CDFIs, in turn, will provide financing to eligible small businesses operating in or benefiting disadvantaged communities, including Black-owned small businesses.
According to the U.S Federal Reserve, while Black-owned businesses were more likely to apply for bank financing, less than 47% of their applications were fully funded. The data found that Black-owned businesses were two times as likely to be turned down for loans as white business owners. Building on EBBC’s commitment to create thriving business ecosystems that strengthen Black-owned small businesses, Black-led nonprofits, and the Black-focused/led CDFIs that help them to succeed, the Black Vision Fund invests in CDFIs serving as a lending intermediary between funders and disadvantaged small businesses throughout the country.
“Black-led and Black-focused financial institutions locate and invest in Black communities at much higher rates than white-owned financial institutions,” says Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Credit Union in Jackson, Mississippi. “The CDFIs supported by the Black Vision Fund will provide vital capital that will accelerate the growth of Black-owned small businesses.”
Greater investment in Black-led or Black-focused financial institutions and businesses would have an historic impact on the racial wealth gap and expanding access to credit for Black business owners. Financing Black businesses increases the net worth of families of owners, creates local jobs, provides needed local goods and services, and ultimately contributes to supporting economic growth in Black communities.
To learn more about EBBC and Black Vision Fund, please visit ebbcfund.org About EBBC
Expanding Black Business Credit (EBBC) was formed in 2016 as a CEO Peer Learning Network by leaders of Black-led/focused Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to share best practices in lending to Black businesses and prove that there is an attractive market of Black-owned businesses that can be financed by the financial services industry and thereby reduce persistent inequalities of wealth, income and opportunity in Black communities.
The Black Vision Fund (BVF) approves and invests loans in EBBC member Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that will then provide financing specifically to Black-owned small businesses. It is a vehicle that helps corporate and philanthropic investors put their capital to work to address racial and socio-economic disparities, fueling CDFIs with long histories of inclusive investing and deep connections to the communities they serve.
San Antonio Airport Ranked #2 in U.S. by The Wall Street Journal
San Antonio International Airport (SAT) is ranked #2 on The Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) list of Best Midsize Airports for 2023. SAT jumped up two spots from last year’s #4 ranking and only missed the number one spot by less than a point.
The newspaper’s annual U.S. Airport Rankings rate the 50 busiest airports based on reliability, value and convenience. SAT’s overall score is 70.4, behind San José Mineta International Airport in California, which scored 71.2.
“This is spectacular news about SAT being ranked #2,” said Jesus Saenz, Director of Airports, San Antonio Airport System. “We are always aiming to be the #1 airport. We are so close! Being ranked second best airport shows we are doing a stellar job serving our travelers. We are so proud of our entire team. Their passion for helping people and our strong partnerships with our airlines help us stand out. We’ve had a phenomenal year. We’re up to 45 nonstop destinations – including our first flights to Europe that start in May 2024.”
The WSJ evaluates each airport on 30 factors. Information is gathered from government data and traveler surveys to account for the entire process – from buying a ticket to arriving at a destination. The rankings highlight which airports have the most on-time flights, short waits throughout a traveler’s trip and their favorite amenities.
According to the WSJ, the San Antonio airport ranked:
- #1 for fast security clearance
- #2 for taxi/rideshare
- #6 for flight cancellation
For more information about the rankings, please visit WSJ’s website.
To learn more about San Antonio airport, visit the airport’s website.
San Antonio’s Plan to Use Solar to Help the Environment
The San Antonio City Council recently approved the largest on-site solar project by a local Texas government. The $30 million project will install rooftop, parking, and park canopy solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at 42 city facilities.
The City’s newly approved services agreement with local developer Big Sun Solar will also make progress toward San Antonio’s 2040 goal of zero net energy for all municipal buildings.
San Antonio’s innovative multi-site deal will result in energy and cost savings, shade and weather protection and local jobs.
- Energy and Cost Savings: The projected electricity generated annually from the 42 sites is expected to offset an estimated 11% of the City’s electricity consumption from its buildings.
- Shade and Weather Protection: 23 of the installations will be parking canopies that will power on-site municipal operations and provide shade and hail protection to people and vehicles.
- Local Jobs: Big Sun Solar estimates this will create more than 15 full-time jobs. The company’s collaboration with the St. Phillip’s College Solar Apprenticeship Program (part of the Alamo Area District of Community Colleges) will train students in solar energy.
“This will be the largest local government on-site solar project in Texas and the second-largest in the nation,” City Manager Erik Walsh said. “The City of San Antonio is setting a new standard in Texas of what is possible to reduce carbon emissions, adapt to climate change, and ensure San Antonio remains a healthy, vibrant City for generations to come.”
The project will use new Inflation Reduction Act incentives, the State Energy Conservation Office LoanStar low-interest loan and local tax dollars.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, “Today’s vote was a big win for San Antonio. The project will reduce the amount of electricity that the city takes from the grid and sets a national example for innovative approaches to reducing carbon emissions and ensuring a healthier future for our community.”
Solar installations will begin in Spring 2024, with an anticipated completion in Fall 2026.
Most Employees From Racial and Ethnic Groups Have Experienced Workplace Racism
As companies worldwide face opposition to their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, two-thirds (66%) of employees from marginalized racial and ethnic groups in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States have experienced racism at work during their career, according to a new global report from Catalyst. Half (52%) have experienced racism in their current job.
The report, How Racism Shows Up at Work—And the Antiracist Actions Your Organization Can Take, surveyed over 5,000 women, men, transgender, and nonbinary employees and revealed the pervasive and insidious ways racism exists in the workplace. Catalyst is a global nonprofit supported by many of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women.
The most common expressions of racism are workplace harassment (48%)—such as racist jokes, slurs, and other derogatory comments—and employment and professional inequities (32%), where respondents experienced pay gaps, were passed over for promotion, or were assigned more or less work than their colleagues based on race.
Participants also report experiencing racism through racial stereotypes and degrading commentary about their bodies or cultures. Stereotypes include assumptions about a person’s intelligence, cleanliness, or language abilities and blame for Covid-19. Women (51%) and men (50%) experienced racism in the workplace to the same degree. Trans and nonbinary employees experienced more racism than others (69%).
Respondents most often named leaders (41%) as the instigators of racism, but co-workers (36%) and customers/clients (23%) also engaged in racist acts. White people initiate four out of five acts of racism, and one out of five are instigated by another non-white person.
Studies show that “Whiteness” is at the center of work contexts. It is used as a lens through which employees, organizational policies, and business strategies are judged, assessed, and valued. This can result in, for example, dress codes that don’t work for natural Black hair or performance assessment criteria that value white modes of leadership over others.
Catalyst offers actionable solutions for leaders to make systemic changes to their organizations: leaders must commit to addressing racism and recognizing how Whiteness is centered in work contexts. Organizations need to enact policies that eliminate racial workplace inequities, such as implementing systems to end bias in hiring, development, and promotion processes and training managers to notice and act when employees experience racism from teammates, customers, or managers. Key steps also include fostering a climate of mutual respect in the workplace, instituting codes of conduct for clients and customers, and understanding emotional tax.
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