Justice Climate Fund Aims to Activate Existing Community Development Networks to Provide Capital and Resources to Organizations Fighting for Green Solutions
Orlando, FL – Today, The Community Builders of Color Coalition, led by the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, announced the launch of the Justice Climate Fund, a new initiative that will maximize the dual priorities of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which are to rapidly reduce greenhouse gasses, and produce lasting health and economic benefits for low-income and disadvantaged communities throughout the country. The announcement was made at the 2023 Inclusiv Conference in Memphis, Tennessee, the largest annual gathering of credit unions with the goal of financial inclusion in the U.S.
The Justice Climate Fund will aim to direct funding from the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to community-based lenders, including CDFI credit unions and loan funds and MDI credit unions, to ensure people and communities of color who have been historically excluded from mainstream climate finance can successfully implement proven green solutions and technologies. With its coalition of diverse community development financial institutions, the Fund offers a unique deployment strategy that can equip community-based organizations and financial institutions serving disenfranchised populations with the capital and resources to acquire zero emission technologies and support environmental justice activities that lower energy prices, cut pollution and create good paying jobs.
“The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund provides our nation with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stand in solidarity with historically marginalized groups on the frontlines of climate change,” said Lenwood V. Long, Sr., President & CEO of The Alliance. “Through the Justice Climate Fund, we’ll be able to quickly distribute as much capital as possible to institutions and organizations deeply ingrained in the work necessary to keep the most vulnerable among us safe.”
“For years, people of color, including Latinos, have shouldered much of the burdens that come with our ongoing climate emergency,” said Marla Bilonick, President & CEO of NALCAB, the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders. “Tapping into community-based organizations whose missions are to serve and empower those around them must be our first line of defense in this battle for the future of our neighborhoods and the planet.”
The Community Builders of Color Coalition, which represents a national network of 16 financial institutions and advocacy organizations with leaders of color at the helm, is driven by a unifying mission to ensure that historically disadvantaged communities across the United States can equitably benefit from the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and help eradicate the disproportionate impact of climate change in low-income communities.
To date, The Coalition is comprised of 16 organizations including: African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, African-American Credit Union Coalition, The Chisholm Legacy Project, Community Development Bankers Association, Hip Hop Caucus, Inclusiv, National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, National Urban League, National Bankers Association, Native CDFI Network, National CAPACD, Prosperity Now, Oweesta Corporation, Opportunity Finance Network, US Black Chamber, and Urban Strategies, Inc.
“We are excited to have the Coalition announce the launch of the Justice Climate Fund at the 2023 Inclusiv Conference,” said Cathie Mahon, President and CEO of Inclusiv. “Every day, community-focused financial institutions like CDFI and MDI credit unions serve millions of low-income people in every corner of the country, including cities, rural areas and reservations. Our long-standing commitment to and understanding of these communities mean we’re ready to help them confront climate change and win.”
To learn more about The Coalition and the Justice Climate Fund, please visit https://aaacdfi.org/justice-climate-fund/.
About The African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs
The African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs (The Alliance) is a coalition of more than 75 CEOs of Black-led Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), comprising loan funds, credit unions, venture capital firms, and non-profit developers. Since 2018, The Alliance’s network collectively services all 50 states and the District of Columbia. As a result, members are uniquely positioned to address issues related to housing and access to capital for African American populations and communities. Learn more about The Alliance and its programs at http://www.aaacdfi.org.
Founded in 1974, Inclusiv empowers its member credit unions to advance financial inclusion for everyone through advocacy, education, technology, and investment initiatives designed to create wealth-building opportunities in communities excluded from the financial mainstream.
Inclusiv was instrumental in establishing the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund in 1994 and is a certified CDFI intermediary.
The National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) is the hub of a national network of 200+ member organizations that are anchor institutions in geographically and ethnically diverse Latino communities in 46 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico. NALCAB supports its member institutions through funding, training, research and advocacy, enabling them to invest in their communities by building affordable housing, ensuring equitable neighborhood development, supporting small business growth, and providing financial counseling on issues including credit building and homeownership. As a grant maker and US Treasury certified CDFI lender with offices in San Antonio and Washington DC, the NALCAB Network serves hundreds of thousands of low- to moderate-income people, advancing economic equity and inclusivity in the communities we serve.
Alisha Brown – The African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs
Kyia Ruiz – Inclusiv
(212) 809-1850 x210