For Immediate Release: October 20, 2020
Contact: [email protected]
President Bill Clinton announces new commitments to advance economic growth and address racial disparities amid COVID-19
Commitments include financing for solar energy to drive economic revitalization; advising services for small businesses owned by women, immigrants, Black people, Indigenous people, Latinos, and other underserved communities; and support for Black-owned businesses through products, services, and technology.
New York, NY - Today, President Bill Clinton kicked off “Building an Inclusive Recovery,” a Clinton Foundation series to address racial, ethnic, tribal, economic, and health disparities in wake of COVID-19. Featured participants included Ajay Banga, chief executive officer of Mastercard; Mayor Randall Woodfin, Birmingham; Wole C. Coaxum, founder and chief executive officer, MoCaFi (Mobility Capital Finance); and Andrea Jung, president and chief executive officer, Grameen America.
The virtual conference included announcements of new commitments from a variety of philanthropic and private sector organizations designed to support small businesses, invest in digital technology, spur economic development, and improve financial systems in underserved communities.
These include commitments by Inclusiv, to create accessible training programs and shared capitalization platforms to enable community finance institutions to offer solar finance in low-income communities and communities of color; Pacific Community Ventures to support the economic resiliency of 3,000 small businesses owned by women, immigrants, Black people, Latino people, Indigenous people, and other underserved communities through PCV's pro bono BusinessAdvising.org platform; and, as an extension of their commitment to provide $500 million in support of Black communities through products, services, technology, and financial support, Mastercard, in partnership with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), will support the economic resilience of 300 Black-owned small businesses in St. Louis through the development and deployment of “virtual Chief Financial Officer (CFO)” technology.
Full commitment descriptions below:
- Inclusiv, in partnership with the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy Center for Impact Finance, commits to create accessible training programs and shared capitalization platforms that enable community-based financial institutions to offer solar finance in low-income communities and communities of color. Solar energy is a powerful tool to drive economic revitalization by building energy affordability and reliability. For small businesses, solar energy provides a unique business opportunity to invest in a proven technology with decreasing costs and improving project economics in most markets. Despite widespread growth in the renewable energy sector, many individuals and small businesses in low-income communities and communities of color have not been able to equally access solar energy investments and capitalize on the opportunities. To address this issue, Inclusiv will provide solar lending and program development training and support to 120 lending professionals in 30 community-based financial institutions. These institutions will deploy at least 180 solar loans in their communities, and at least one-third of these loans will reach low-income communities and communities of color.
- Pacific Community Ventures (PCV), in partnership with Appalachia Community Capital, Hope Credit Union, LISC, and dozens of other CDFIs and community-based organizations, commits to supporting the economic resiliency of 3,000 small businesses owned by women, immigrants, Black people, Latino people, Indigenous people, and other underserved communities through PCV's pro bono BusinessAdvising.org platform, over the next three years. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners who had an advisor were twice as likely as business owners who lacked advisors to survive at least five years. Now, during these unprecedented economic challenges, small business owners need expert advice more than ever to refinance, pivot online, and reopen safely for workers and customers. But these underserved business owners are less likely than their white, male counterparts to have access to affordable advising services. With this announcement, PCV is expanding on their 2019 commitment, which scaled their platform nationally to reach 1,500 small business owners. By closing the advice gap for small businesses led by underserved communities, PCV aims to help small businesses to survive this crisis and build back better.
- In its sustained efforts to build a more inclusive global digital economy, Mastercard has committed $500 million in support of Black communities over the next five years. This commitment includes products, services, technology, and financial support, as well as concentrated investments that will focus on providing Black-owned businesses and Black people access to affordable financial tools and capital. As an extension of this commitment, Mastercard, in partnership with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) will support the economic resilience of 300 Black-owned small businesses in St. Louis through the development and deployment of “virtual Chief Financial Officer (CFO)” technology designed to address gaps in cash flow and liquidity and equip Black-owned small businesses with the digital tools to efficiently absorb and deploy the capital they receive. By piloting this technology platform with Black-owned small businesses in St. Louis, Mastercard and partners will utilize their extensive existing network in the city and develop a technology scalable to Black communities and other communities of color throughout the country.
The virtual series will continue with two additional convenings:
November 19: Affordable Housing and (Re)building the American Dream - a panel discussion with President Bill Clinton, CEO of Caliber Home Loans Sanjiv Das, and others
Homeownership is one of the most effective and proven solutions to building wealth and financial stability in America. However, the economic fallout from COVID-19 and a scarcity of affordable options are exacerbating America’s housing crisis, particularly in urban settings where cities are already grappling with the increased challenges of navigating the pandemic in densely populated areas. For Black Americans, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, homeownership rates were at an all-time low: just 40.6 percent of Black Americans owned a home in 2019, compared with 76 percent of white Americans. Latino homeownership in the United States is the fastest-growing in the nation, but still significantly lags behind white homeownership by more than 24 percent, underscoring many of the broader challenges the United States faces as it seeks to close economic disparities. At the same time according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the United States is short more than seven million homes for extremely low-income renters.
Please join President Bill Clinton, CEO of Caliber Home Loans Sanjiv Das, and a panel of affordable housing champions for a solutions-focused conversation on affordable housing and urban revitalization efforts in the United States. By investing in more affordable housing units, offering innovative financial products, and reimagining city landscapes, there is the potential to unlock affordable housing options while helping to close the economic wealth gap.
December, TBD: Supporting CDFIs for Inclusive Economic Prosperity
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) often serve as a bridge between low-income communities and economic resources and access to capital. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, CDFIs are more important than ever in offering a lifeline to underserved communities and Black- Latino- and other minority-owned businesses in these challenging economic times. As Americans have spent the year not only navigating economic turmoil but also confronting a history of racial injustice, there is a unique opportunity now to support CDFIs as they continue to innovate their work to provide the resources, expertise, and local knowledge to advance a more inclusive economic recovery.
In this virtual event, leaders will outline opportunities to engage with CDFIs in creating more inclusive economic opportunities for Americans. Building on the domestic economic work of the Clinton Administration, including the establishment of the CDFI Fund and the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, this event will bring together a diverse group of leaders from the public sector, private sector, and civil society. It will also expand on the Clinton Foundation’s “Economic Inclusion and Growth: The Way Forward” conference on domestic economic policy held in 2019 in Little Rock, which examined the evolution and successes of CDFIs and other proven approaches for urban and rural economic revitalization and discussed how to apply these lessons to help address systemic economic inequality today.
About the Clinton Foundation
Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation on the simple belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. For nearly two decades, those values have energized the work of the Foundation in overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world.
As an operating foundation, we work on issues directly or with strategic partners from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. Our programs are designed to make a real difference today while serving as proven models for tomorrow. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster – at the lowest possible cost.
We firmly believe that when diverse groups of people bring resources together in the spirit of true cooperation, transformative ideas will emerge to drive life-changing action.