October 12, 2015

JPMorgan Chase, Detroit Development Fund and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Announce $6.5 Million Loan Fund for Detroit’s Minority-Owned Small Businesses

Entrepreneurs of Color Fund will provide greater economic opportunity for small businesses that lack access to credit and primarily serve Detroit’s neighborhoods.

September 15, 2015 (Detroit) – The Detroit Development Fund (DDF), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) today announced a new $6.5 million lending program for Detroit businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color and businesses that primarily hire people of color. The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund will boost economic opportunity for minority-owned businesses in Detroit by providing them with greater access to capital and business assistance, allowing them to grow, hire local and further contribute to the city’s recovery.

Facilitated by DDF, a Michigan 501(c)3 Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), the Fund will seek to provide financing for general contractors, small retailers and other neighborhood service businesses along with many other types of businesses. The Fund will help businesses that traditionally have lower credit quality, lack access to capital and staffing and primarily serve Detroit’s neighborhoods.

Small businesses have historically been at the heart of economic growth in Detroit, and they have the potential to reduce unemployment and expand opportunity for Detroiters. There are approximately 32,000 minority-owned small businesses in Detroit, according the U.S. Census. This ranks Detroit as the fourth largest U.S. city for the number of minority-owned businesses. Yet, despite their importance to the economy, recent research by Michael S. Barr, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, says minority-owned businesses rely significantly more on investments of personal or family wealth than on outside debt or equity.

"For Detroit's comeback to be a true success, there must be opportunity for the Detroiters who have stayed,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “This new program fits perfectly with what our administration is doing, through Motor City Match and other efforts, to make sure Detroit residents who want to start a business in their city have access to the capital and support they need to be successful."

“The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund is very exciting for us and the Detroit small businesses it will support,” said Ray Waters, President, DDF. “The unique structure of the Fund allows DDF to provide a variety of lines of credit and loans to accommodate the needs of entrepreneurs of color. “We are pleased to facilitate the pilot program and are grateful for the support of JPMorgan Chase and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. We look forward to growing our lending in minority communities.”

Through a $3.5 million grant provided by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, as part of its $100 million commitment to the Detroit’s economic recovery, and $3 million in program-related investments from the Kellogg Foundation, the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund will provide short and long-term loans. Loan sizes will vary, but the average loan will range from $50,000 to $150,000. The Kellogg Foundation developed and initiated the Fund because of its long-standing commitment to equity and to Detroit.

Businesses receiving financing will be able to use the capital to expand, finance equipment, address short-term cash flow needs and provide contractor lines of credit. The Fund will also provide small business loan recipients with technical assistance such as networking, marketing, business plan development and cash flow management. Eligible small businesses must be majority owned by people of color or have more than half their workforce made up of people of color. During implementation of this initiative, DDF will also work with Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation’s Detroit entrepreneurship programming efforts.

“Neighborhood businesses are critical to Detroit's comeback, but many need access to the right capital to grow and thrive,” said Janis Bowdler, Head of Community Development for Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund is a unique approach that combines flexible financing and services to strengthen continued business growth in Detroit’s neighborhoods.”

“The Kellogg Foundation is not new to the idea of creating access to capital for people of color,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, WKKF’s President and CEO. “We know that investment in people of color is essential for equitable and effective urban development and this nation's sustained economic dominance. We are proud partners with Detroit Development Fund, JPMorgan Chase and others who will join us to improve the economic opportunities for entrepreneurs, who are also parents, to better support their families and ensure success for Detroit’s kids.”

Funding will allow the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund to provide loans and technical assistance and establish a loan loss reserve. The reserve will allow DDF to expand its lending criteria and help Detroit small businesses that traditionally did not qualify for a loan.

“Detroit’s strength has always come from entrepreneurs who have a great idea and can build that into a business that thrives and creates jobs,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. “This new public-private partnership will help business owners succeed and grow, creating jobs and opportunity across the region.”

Michael Barr’s recent research, Minority and Women Entrepreneurs: Building Capital, Network, and Skills, published by the Hamilton Project of the Brookings Institution, calls for greater support for minority-owned and female-owned small businesses.

“Minority-owned businesses, including those in Detroit, often lack access to credit, to essential skills needed to survive and grow, and to business networks for mentoring and new business opportunities,” said Michael S. Barr, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. “Increasing business formation by minority and female entrepreneurs is critical to improving the rate of entrepreneurship for the country as a whole, and generating new growth and jobs.”

Interested Detroit small businesses can learn more about eligibility by contacting the Detroit Development Fund at (313) 784-9547 or vholsey@detroitdevelopmentfund.com.

About the Detroit Development Fund

DDF was established in 1996 with a mission to “improve the quality of life for residents in underserved Detroit neighborhoods.” A 501(c)(3) and certified as a CDFI, DDF provides term loans and lines of credit to small businesses, small contractors, and for-profit and nonprofit affordable housing developers. DDF currently manages $23 million in loan capital. Since lending activities began in 2002, DDF has closed over $36 million in loans to businesses in Detroit, which helped to retain approximately 1,200 jobs and created approximately 1,800 new jobs. Approximately 72 percent of DDF’s small business loans have been made to minority owned companies, and over 1,400 housing units were rehabbed as a result of DDF’s loans. DDF lending activities have leveraged over $200 million in public/private investments with more than $7 million in projects under management.

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. To learn more, visit www.wkkf.org or follow WKKF on Twitter at @wk_kellogg_fdn.

Media Contacts:

Detroit Development Fund: Ray Waters, President of Detroit Development Fund, 313.784.9547.

JPMorgan Chase: Steve O’Halloran, steve.ohalloran@chase.com, 302.282.5699

W.K. Kellogg Foundation: Dana Linnane, dana.linnane@wkkf.org, 269.969.2301

September 3, 2019

Capitalism and Racism: Conjoined Twins

By Marjona Jones, Co-Chair of Funders for a Just Economy and Senior Program Officer at Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

Marjona Jones speaking at a podium.

A few weeks ago, Democracy Now! aired a segment with Ibram X. Kendi, author and founding director of the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University, where he discussed white supremacy, anti-racism, and the increase in mass shootings. What struck me about the segment was his illuminating statement about the origins of capitalism. Kendi views capitalism and racism as "conjoined twins" and that “…the origins of racism cannot be separated from the origins of capitalism… the life of capitalism cannot be separated from the life of racism.”

Kendi continued by discussing how the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade allowed for the massive accumulation of wealth in Europe and the Americas. Centuries of wage theft, trading in human bondage, insurance claims on "lost" cargo, and reparations for slave owners after emancipation entrenched this capitalist system with inequities based on race built into it. Slave owners protected their concentrated wealth by shaping our socio-economic and legal systems to benefit themselves and the industry of slavery, as well as limit democracy.

As I celebrate the worker movement’s victories on Labor Day this year, this segment and past conversations with grantees has triggered an important question for me: What does the notion that capitalism and racism are inextricably linked mean for our work as funders of racial and economic justice? Our grantee partners tell us how workers are implicated in the entangled web of these “conjoined twins” of racism and capitalism. Many worker-based organizations state that the best vehicle this country has in pursuit of economic justice is through organizing workers, but traditional labor hasn’t always been the best vehicle for racial justice. As Bill Fletcher Jr. and Fernando Gapasin discuss in Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice, while many unions integrated in the 1920s, some unionists decided to resist integration to ensure wins and job quality for white workers. These traditionalists understood the idea of “conjoined twins.”

Racial and economic justice movements have exposed exploitative and extractive practices within capitalism, making it less secure to accumulate wealth through those means. However, as Michelle Alexander points out in her book, The New Jim Crow, exposing capitalism for what it is forces it to transform and evolve. For example, following the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, agriculture was still the main economic engine, and free exploited labor was needed for this industry to survive. Capitalism evolved while maintaining its racist and exploitative roots through policymakers passing the Black Codes of 1865 and 1866, making it easier to imprison recently freed slaves to continue that supply of free labor.

We are catching up to the fact that capitalism was never meant to work for everyone. What will the next evolution in capitalism bring as our movements fight even harder for racial and economic justice in the face of harm to workers and marginalized communities?

Funders for a Just Economy (FJE) has created an intentional space to begin discussing what these questions mean for our work and the grantees we support. Capitalism’s origin story is a critical part of analyzing how this system operates. By acknowledging the “conjoined twins,” we acknowledge the role of race and the legacy of slavery. FJE believes that there is a renewed opportunity to support a working-class movement that builds the power of all workers, especially Black, Trans and LGBQ workers, women, and immigrants—and lift their role as the main strategists to change the system. If we believe another world is possible, then so is another system that bakes in justice, equity, and respect.


  

Join FJE for these conversations and more at the upcoming Racial Capitalism, Power and Resistance event on October 17 & 18 in Brooklyn, NY. More information and registration link here.

Stay tuned for an upcoming Power Building Study Group for Neighborhood Funders Group members, and the Disrupt the System: How Labor and Philanthropy can Build Worker Power in a New Era event co-convened by the AFL-CIO, the LIFT Fund, and FJE on December 11 in Washington, DC. More information coming soon!

 
August 15, 2019

Beyond Outrage: A Clarity of Purpose

Dimple Abichandani, Executive Director of the General Service Foundation, urges grantmakers and the philanthropic sector to take concrete actions to defend democracy and speak out against racist attacks on people of color. This post was originally published here on the foundation's website.

Dimple was part of the first Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change Fellowship cohort, a joint initiative of Neighborhood Funders Group and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. General Service Foundation, which partners with grassroots organizations to bring about a more just and sustainable world, is a member of NFG.


  

Dimple AbichandaniWe live in dangerous times, and every passing news cycle contains another outrage, another violation of norms, another threat to our democracy, another threat to our planet.  

In the face of escalating racial attacks, (be it imprisonment of kids on the border or the racist rhetoric being tweeted from the white house) many have noted, rightly, that philanthropy as a sector has been too cautious and too quiet.  The Communications Network, in it’s recent piece, Silence Speaks Volumes, calls on foundations to use their voices in this moment.

Yes, it’s meaningful for people from all sectors of our society to condemn the Administration’s attacks on people of color.  And, for those of us working in the philanthropic sector, these times call on us to use all of our tools in defense of our inclusive, multi-racial democracy.  We are more than commentators or observers– as funders, our role is to resource a more just and equitable future. What we do in this moment will be far more important than what we say.  

As painful as this moment is, it is also a time in which the work to be done has become more clear. The vulnerability of our democracy has become more clear.  Racial anxiety and social divisions are being stoked in order to prop up a reckless system that benefits only the wealthiest. As we condemn the most recent of a long list of outrages, can we also use this moment to deepen our own clarity of purpose, and ensure that our funding will bring about a more just future? 

As funders, we can not only speak out but also take action to bolster our inclusive democracy.

  1. Support those most directly impacted by injustice. Instead of wielding of our own voice and power as a foundation, we can support those most directly impacted by injustice to build their voice, power, and leadership. They must lead the way to a more just world; it is our job to uplift and resource their visions and voices. National organizations such as Color of Change, New American Leaders, and National Domestic Workers Alliance, regional and state-based organizations such as Western States Center, Black Voters Matter and Workers Defense Project and so many others are seeding a future in which racial, gender and economic justice will be the norm.
  2. Invest in the creation and dissemination of narratives that reshape cultural attitudes around belonging in our country.  The recent escalation in the use of racist and sexist rhetoric is not happening in a vacuum– rather it builds on broader public narratives shaped by white supremacy and male dominance.  We need to normalize new narratives that humanize all of us, that value all of us. Organizations such as the Pop Culture CollaborativeReFrame, and the Culture Change Fund, for example, build capacity for narrative equity and culture shift.
  3. Question the default funding habits and practices that limit us from making a bigger impact in this moment. As funders, we sometimes have a blind spot for how our internal practices create unnecessary burdens and barriers for organizations that do the important work we support. This moment calls on us to question our practices, shift to ways of working that account for the gravity of the problems we face, and center the people who are leading the social change efforts we support. Could your foundation increase its payout, provide more general operating support, increase the length of grants, and minimize busywork for grantees? Could you shift your grant strategy to more boldly meet the moment or more directly address the imbalances of power in our society? The Trust Based Philanthropy Network has tools and stories of inspiration from foundations who have increased their impact by changing their practices.

So many of us in philanthropy are eager to do something meaningful in this tumultuous time.  Let’s challenge ourselves to use this moment to put our institutional values into practice. Let’s walk the walk as boldly as we talk the talk.