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News September 24, 2020

Reinvestment News Fall 2020: Justice, Kauffman Knowledge Challenge and more

Topic General

Dear Friends,

We at Reinvestment Fund mourn the death of the indomitable Justice of the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who made it her life’s work to dismantle and eradicate the practice of systematic discrimination against women, Black and brown people, and LGBTQ people. Her passing threatens many hard-won civil liberties, for which we all must persevere to fully secure. The ‘Notorious RBG’ stood her ground. Like her, we must not weaken in our resolve to achieve racial, gender, and economic justice for all Americans. Read our full statement.

With elections just weeks away, we are also carefully monitoring the policy landscape and its impacts on communities and the pursuit of equity for all. In many Black communities, a legacy of systemic racism persists, making it too hard for people to own a home, start a business, and build long-term wealth. Moreover, the current pandemic has shown all too clearly the life and death consequences of this historical disparity, with Black and Latinx communities suffering the biggest share of COVID-19 cases and deaths, as well as wage reductions and job losses.

CDFIs like us have a role play in confronting this legacy that continues to stifle many communities today. To get this right, we urge the federal government to scale up partnerships with CDFIs to invest in historically underserved communities. Congress should also increase funding to the CDFI Fund and strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Only then can we begin to make headway in making sure all communities can thrive.

Be sure your voice is heard this November: Vote.

Don Hinkle-Brown
President & CEO

Kauffman Knowledge Challenge

Reinvestment Fund has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Knowledge Challenge grant by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The award is one of 13 announced last week and will support work in partnership with the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) of Saint Paul, Minnesota and researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.

NDC and Reinvestment Fund will study the impact that small, diverse businesses, started principally by local immigrant and minority entrepreneurs, have on community social wellbeing.

The foundation of this research project will come from Reinvestment Fund’s Market Value Analysis (MVA) and data on business starts / job creation from NDC’s Build from Within Alliance (BfW Alliance) members. Reinvestment Fund will collaborate with researchers from the University of Pennsylvania to create indices of social wellbeing for each community. These will help understand the many and different ways—beyond the purely economic—that BfW Alliance entrepreneurs add social value to the communities within which they work. Read more about the award.

Joy Through Play Amid the Pandemic

When Covid-19 struck Philadelphia more than 800 families found themselves in emergency or transitional housing as they were unable to secure permanent shelter. Pennsylvania’s statewide “stay at home” order was challenging for almost everyone. For the 350+ children ages birth to five in shelters, this type of isolation could have lasting negative developmental impacts. Observing these consequences of quarantine, People’s Emergency Center mobilized its team to design custom, age-appropriate kits to help meet the social and emotional needs of children and their families quarantining in shelters. Reinvestment Fund provided emergency funding for the effort through its Philadelphia Emergency Fund for Stabilization of Early Education program, and the first 385 kits arrived in Philadelphia in July, bringing joy and excitement to children waiting out the pandemic. Read more.

News & Resources

Resource: Are you feeding your community & need support to scale up? Are you a budding entrepreneur with a fresh idea? If you make, grow, cook or sell food, we want to hear from you! Apply for the Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative.

News: Two Reinvestment Fund-financed projects are awarded Preservation Maryland’s Best of Maryland honor: CASA De Maryland at the Historic Belnord Theater & the Center for Health Care and Healthy Living at the Hebrew Orphans Asylum.

News: How do CDFIs incorporate an explicit racial equity perspective into their lending? Khaliff Davis and Molly Melloh of Reinvestment Fund join peers from partner CDFIs to explore this & more on this Opportunity Finance Network blog post.

News: Article from the Ohio Poverty Law Center cites Reinvestment Fund estimates that if current employment trends hold and no new rental assistance is provided, Ohio could see $96 million in unpaid rent every month. Over time this could translate into thousands of evictions.

News: CDFIs have been working in the early care & education sector for several years and will continue to do so during and after the pandemic. This Minneapolis Federal Reserve article highlights how CDFIs tackle the early learning market challenges to identify what works.

Publication: Our Annual Report is available now! Read about our partners: the nonprofits, community organizations, & small businesses working together for equitable solutions.

News: Reinvestment Fund announces inaugural Nowak Fellow. The Nowak Fellowship is one of three new initiatives Reinvestment Fund launched in memory of its founding Executive Director, Jeremy Nowak.

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