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Catalyzing Finance for Racial Equity 

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Catalyzing Finance for Racial Equity 

Just as the recent murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have awoken larger groups of people to the ongoing systemic racism our country has suffered for centuries, COVID-19 is also underscoring how communities of color disproportionately bear the burden of both economic and health inequities. While the coronavirus pandemic underscores the devastating toll that an acute health crisis has on people of color –with Black patients facing more than double risk of mortality from the virus compared to Whites, for example– it also simply magnifies the long-term, chronic impact already experienced by those same communities. 

NFF and CIP are decades-old Community Development Financial Institutions with a long- standing commitment to supporting low-income communities. In more recent years, both organizations have explicitly recognized the opportunity to expand our impact even more if we address structural racism in our work. The imperative has been embraced as a leading issue by the heads of both organizations and supported by our Boards. We have also engaged staff and partners in the beginning to build the awareness, structures and actions in the area of racial equity.

NFF and CIP have engaged with The Racial Equity Asset Lab (The REAL), an organization working in partnership with Common Future that centers racial equity in impact investing and works to shift capital to close the persistent racial wealth gap.  The REAL will engage with partners, peers, stakeholders, and collaborators, including community-based and grassroots organizations, to build a racial equity-centered process that explicitly identifies the capacity building support and capital products that can advance positive outcomes and move the needle on health and racial inequities in communities of color.  This session will share findings that will include an overarching racial equity framework for partnership between CDFIs and justice-focused organizations, including innovations in  capital, capacity, and investments.

Confirmed Panelists

Olivia M. Rebanal, Capital Impact Partners (Moderator)
Director, Inclusive Food Systems; Equity & Impact Team
orebanal@capitalimpact.org

Olivia M. Rebanal is Director of Inclusive Food Systems at Capital Impact Partners (CIP), a CDFI that has deployed over $2.7 billion to serve 5 million people in our communities’ critical sectors: health care, education, elder communities, healthy food, cooperatives and affordable housing. Olivia manages the strategy, initiatives and partnerships related to CIP’s work in building equitable food systems. Through innovative programs like the Michigan Good Food Fund, CIP coordinates collaboratives to build an ecosystem of support designed to increase access to affordable healthy food and create opportunities within the food economy, especially for those who are historically excluded.  Olivia also oversees the development and implementation of the organization-wide social justice strategy at Capital Impact Partners, working to operationalize racial equity in all facets of its work.  Olivia is a thought leader and advocate in the CDFI industry for strategically embedding inclusion and equity into programming.

Lacy Serros, Nonprofit Finance Fund
Senior Associate, Executive
Project Lead, Social Innovation & Equity Council
lserros@nff.org

Lacy works directly with NFF’s CEO and Senior Leadership Team to advance strategic priorities and support cross-cutting initiatives. Lacy has over 15 years of experience in the social sector, having worked as a grantmaker and policy advocate on issues of racial justice, health access, and economic equity across the country. Lacy holds a Bachelor in Science in Biotechnology from the University of California, Davis and a Master in Public Administration from Baruch College – CUNY. Lacy began her career as a community organizer in California’s Central Valley, and is passionate about building the political power of the Latino electoral base. She also runs LaceSpace, a small-business supporting women, entrepreneurs, and families with personal organizing skills and services.

Sonia Sarkar, Erika Seth Davies, and Sean Campbell are Social Entrepreneurs-in-Residence with Common Future and independent consultants with extensive experience in health equity and financing, racial equity, impact investing, and innovative capital products.

Sonia leads the strategic initiative to define community financing infrastructure for health, including the intersection of economic justice and social determinants conversations. Develop network and toolkit to support communities in partnering with healthcare institutions, foundations, hospitals and payors, and financial institutions to shift capital, address inequities, and democratize both how we deliver and pay for health across the country.

Erika is the founder of The Racial Equity Asset Lab (The REAL), a venture supported by Common Future where she is a Social Entrepreneur in Residence, that centers racial equity in impact investing by leveraging the networks, data, education, and strategies needed to shift capital to close the persistent racial wealth gap.

Sean is the founder of Capital for Communities, LLC, focused on building new financial products, markets & structures that center justice & equity. Major activities include 1) Transaction Advisory: helping communities, and businesses & organizations that represent them, access capital for specific projects; 2) Fund Advisory: advising community-oriented leaders & organizations on developing, structuring & raising capital funds. 3)Markets Advisory: working with organizations, coalitions & campaigns developing & implementing innovative, community & equity-focused capital products and structure; and 4) General capital markets & underwriting services for mission-driven organizations

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