Supreme Court Upholds CFPB: A Landmark Victory for Racial and Economic Equity

Today’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) marks a crucial milestone for racial and economic equity in the United States. The CFPB’s fundamental mission is to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive financial practices, and today’s decision ensures the agency can continue this essential work unimpeded.

This ruling is particularly significant for communities of color, which have historically borne the brunt of systemic financial discrimination and exploitation. From redlining to predatory lending, Black and Brown communities have been disproportionately affected by inequitable financial practices. The CFPB has been vital in addressing these injustices, advocating for fair treatment, and ensuring that financial institutions are held accountable.

The CFPB’s role extends beyond mere oversight; it embodies the principle that financial justice is central to social justice. By promoting transparency and ensuring that financial products and services are fair and accessible, the CFPB helps to dismantle barriers that have long hindered economic progress in marginalized communities. This empowers marginalized communities to build wealth, secure stable housing, and invest in their futures without fear of exploitation.

The Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for all who believe in equitable financial practices and reaffirms that the fight for economic justice cannot be compromised. This decision sends a clear message that protecting the rights of consumers, especially those from historically marginalized backgrounds, is of paramount importance. By safeguarding the CFPB’s ability to operate free from political interference, the Court has ensured that this vital agency can continue to serve as a watchdog for the public interest.

Today’s decision marks a significant step for advocates of fair financial practices and equal opportunity. It reinforces the CFPB’s mandate to champion a financial system that is inclusive and equitable, benefiting all Americans rather than a select privileged few. This ruling stands as a profound affirmation of justice, equity, and the enduring promise of equal protection under the law, embodying the spirit of progress and reform.

Be Steadfast!

Lenwood V. Long, Sr.

CEO, African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs

FY 2024 CDFI Bond Guarantee Program Application Period Now Open

FY 2024 CDFI Bond Guarantee Program Application Period Now Open 

Attention, community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and stakeholders!  

The fiscal year (FY) 2024 application period for the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program is officially open. With up to $500 million in bond guarantee authority available for Eligible Community Development Financial Institutions (Eligible CDFIs), this opportunity promises significant potential for advancing community development initiatives across the nation. 

Through the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program, selected Certified CDFIs or their designees issue bonds that are guaranteed by the Secretary of the Treasury. These bonds’ proceeds are then utilized to extend credit to CDFIs for community development financing and long-term community investments. The impact of these investments spans various financial activities, including supporting commercial facilities, affordable housing projects, businesses owned by low-income individuals, and community or economic development initiatives in underserved rural areas. 

Notably, bond guarantees start at a minimum of $100 million each, with multiple Eligible CDFIs having the option to partake in a single $100 million guarantee. Each participating CDFI must contribute a minimum of $10 million. 

For those eager to seize this opportunity, application materials are already available on the CDFI Fund’s website  under the ‘How To Apply’ section. The deadline for Qualified Issuer Applications is 11:59 p.m. EST on April 16, 2024, while Guarantee Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on April 23, 2024. The CDFI Fund welcomes inquiries until April 9, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. ET, with all questions directed to [email protected]

In addition, the CDFI Fund will host a comprehensive webinar: 

  Date and Time Conference Line Access Link 
Application Webinar 
with Q&A 
March 6, 2024 
1:00-5:00 PM EST 
Passcode: 1780535 
Access Webinar 
 Conference Number: PWXW3338288 
 Passcode: 1780535 

For more details and access to application materials, visit 

Defining DEI in the Face of Adversity

At this critical moment in our history, the significance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in shaping our nation’s future is undeniable. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and the need for a passionate, informed, and vigorous defense of DEI has never been more urgent.

We are witnessing a concerted effort to undermine DEI initiatives across various sectors, including education and the workplace. A report by HRD Connect from December 2023 highlights the backlash against DEI policies becoming increasingly evident. Major US companies like JPMorgan Chase and others have modified their DEI policies in response to legal threats from conservative groups. These groups challenge policies that aim to boost racial and ethnic representation, pushing companies to remove specific references to racial groups or numerical diversity targets. High-profile figures have publicly criticized DEI initiatives, arguing that they replace one form of discrimination with another. This sentiment has gained traction in the legal sphere too, with the United States Supreme Court striking down affirmative action in higher education in 2023. The number of DEI proposals has decreased, and the average support for these proposals has also diminished, reflecting a general decline in support for social shareholder proposals​​.

The attack on DEI is not limited to the corporate world. In higher education, a New York Times investigation revealed a campaign by conservative academics and politicians to undermine efforts to increase racial diversity in American universities. This campaign was initially focused on institutions like Texas A&M University and included legislative actions in more than 20 states against DEI​​.

Despite facing significant challenges, the defense of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives is crucial for fostering a fair and just society. DEI aims to create an equal playing field in a diverse yet systematically uneven society by embracing a wide range of identities and perspectives. The core of DEI lies in promoting unity through diversity, offering fair access, opportunity, and advancement to everyone, regardless of their background or beliefs. This approach is not about creating winners and losers but is a collective effort toward a more inclusive, equitable, and dynamic society.

The attacks on DEI programs, whether in corporate America, higher education, or broader society, are more than just ideological skirmishes. They are direct assaults on the principles of fairness, equality, and the rich diversity that strengthens our nation. The statistics, the trends, the legal battles, all point to a concerted effort to roll back the gains made in DEI. Yet, in the face of these challenges, our resolve must be stronger, our voices louder, and our actions more decisive. In the words of the late Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” This quote encapsulates the essence of our mission in defending and advancing DEI. It’s a reminder that the path to change is often fraught with challenges, but it is through persistence, courage, and an unwavering commitment to our ideals that we can achieve lasting progress.

Now is the time to reaffirm our commitment to DEI. We must continue to educate, advocate, and innovate, ensuring that DEI remains at the forefront of our national consciousness. We must challenge misinformation with facts, confront fear with hope, and replace division with unity. We must build alliances, foster dialogue, and create spaces where diverse voices are heard and valued. This is not just the work of a day, a month, or even a year; it is the ongoing work of a generation.

Let us move forward with the knowledge that our diversity is our strength, our commitment to equity is our moral compass, and our pursuit of inclusion is the hallmark of a just society. In doing so, we honor those who have fought before us and pave the way for those who will follow. The fight for DEI is the fight for the soul of our nation, and it is a fight we must win. Together, let’s make some noise, get in good trouble, and shape a future where DEI is not just a goal, but a reality for all.

In the News: A Chilling Legal Landscape Has Racial Equity Efforts Under Attack – Triple Pundit x Lenwood V. Long, Sr.

The Fight for Financial Justice: The CFPB, the Supreme Court, and Black America’s Future

The Fight for Financial Justice: The CFPB, the Supreme Court, and Black America’s Future

When the financial storm of 2007-2008 hit, it was not just a Wall Street crisis; it was a Main Street catastrophe. And let us be clear: Black Main Street bore the brunt. The predatory lending that fueled this crisis was not just bad economics; it was a moral failing. It robbed people of their homes; it stole their dreams; it deepened the racial wealth gap. It has left scars on Black communities that still have not healed.

Remember those subprime loans? Those ticking time bombs with seductive low rates? They were not just bad deals. They were traps, often set for Black folks. Lured by the promise of homeownership, many found themselves ensnared by skyrocketing rates, leading to a spiral of debt, foreclosure, and despair.

Enter The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Birthed from the Dodd-Frank Act, it was designed to be a watchdog with teeth, free from the political circus. An institution that said, “Never again.” Its mission? Simple but powerful: protect everyday folks from the financial sharks. And for Black America, this protection was not just necessary; it was a financial lifeline. Historical injustices have made Black neighborhoods prime targets for these predatory lenders. With the CFPB on the watch, however, there was hope for fairness, equity and justice.

Yet, here we stand, at a crossroads, with that lifeline under threat. The challenge to the CFPB’s funding by the 5th Circuit, now under the Supreme Court’s scrutiny, could pull the rug out from under the CFPB. Make no mistake, this is not just a legal debate. It is a battle for the soul of financial justice in America. And the implications? They are seismic, especially for Black America

1.The Domino Effect of Nullifying CFPB Rules

Imagine a world where the CFPB’s rules, painstakingly crafted to shield consumers, are suddenly in jeopardy. Over 100 rules, touching everything from mortgages to payday loans, could be on the chopping block. For Black communities, who have found solace in regulations like those against predatory payday lenders, this is a nightmare scenario. If the Supreme Court sides against the CFPB, we could be staring down a legal maze where these protections are contested, diluted, or even discarded.

2. The Ripple Effect on Black Lives

The potential unraveling of the CFPB’s rules is not just a policy issue. It is about lives. It is about Black lives. Without these shields, we risk a resurgence of the very predatory lending that once wreaked havoc on our communities. It is about Black families once again being preyed upon by unscrupulous lenders. It is about the return of the dark days of deceptive mortgages. It is about Black folks, already under the weight of aggressive debt collectors, having that weight doubled, tripled. Without the CFPB’s oversight, it could get even worse.

3.The Bigger Picture: Financial Regulation at Risk

This is not just about the CFPB. A ruling against its funding could send shockwaves across the financial regulatory landscape. Other watchdogs with similar funding structures – the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the National Credit Union Administration – could be next in line. The result? Potential chaos in our financial markets, with Black communities, often the first to bear the brunt, facing even steeper economic hurdles.

4.The Fight for Independence

The CFPB’s power lies in its independence. Free from political games, it can truly serve as a champion for the people. But if the Supreme Court challenges its foundation, we risk a future where political winds, not justice, guide our financial protections. For Black America, this could mean the erosion of hard-won protections.


This is not just a legal showdown; it is a moral one. The CFPB stands as a guardian for Black America against financial predators. As the Supreme Court deliberates, we must remember that this is not just about the CFPB or its funding structure. It is about the promise of a fair financial future for Black America. The stakes? They could not be higher, and the legacy of this decision will echo for generations.

How Political Infighting is Pushing America to the Brink

America stands at a precipice. As the clock ticks down to the end of September, the very fabric of our nation’s governance is being tested. The House Republicans, consumed by internal strife, are pushing us closer to a government shutdown. This is not just political theater; it is a looming crisis that will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable among us, including small business owners and Black Americans.

While the Senate, in a rare show of bipartisanship, seems poised to act responsibly, the House remains paralyzed, held hostage by its most extreme members. Their demands? A laundry list of partisan proposals, from an evidence-free impeachment to reckless cuts to essential programs. These are not the actions of a party focused on the well-being of the American people. They are the actions of a faction more interested in ideological purity than in the practical needs of their constituents.

Let’s be clear about what’s at stake. A government shutdown is not just a temporary inconvenience. It is a disruption that ripples through our communities, our economy, and even our national security. And while the headlines might focus on closed national parks or unpaid federal workers, the deeper story is about the everyday Americans who will bear the brunt of this political chaos.

Take for instance, the small business owner, already grappling with the challenges of the post-pandemic economy. A government shutdown could delay essential services, from tax-return processing to business loan approvals. For Black-owned businesses, which often face systemic barriers to accessing capital, these delays could be the difference between staying afloat and going under.

Furthermore, Black Americans and other marginalized communities would be hit hard. Vital programs like SNAP and WIC, lifelines for many families, are at risk. While there might be some contingency funds to tide over for a short period, a prolonged shutdown could mean that mothers, infants, and children go without the nutritional assistance they rely on. In a country as wealthy as ours, it is unconscionable that political infighting could lead to such dire consequences.

The IRS, often maligned but essential to our government’s functioning, would see its operations curtailed. This is not just about delayed tax refunds, though that’s problematic enough. It is about the potential for increased financial hardship for ordinary taxpayers, especially those who might be in disputes or need assistance.

Our military, the men and women who put their lives on the line for our nation, would be expected to continue their duties without pay. Think about that for a moment. We are asking those who defend our freedoms to bear the financial burden of political dysfunction. It is a slap in the face to their service and sacrifice.

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid might continue their core functions, but the ancillary services many rely on would be halted. Replacement cards, benefit verifications, and other administrative tasks would be put on hold, creating confusion and potential hardship for seniors and others.

The pressing question we must ask ourselves is this: Is this the America we envision? One where a nation is held hostage by a minority of its elected representatives, willing to sacrifice the well-being of its citizens for political gain? The answer should be a resounding no.

House Republicans must put aside their internal differences and act in the best interests of the American people. The Senate has shown that bipartisanship is possible. Now it is the House’s turn. We cannot afford the cost of chaos. The stakes are too high, and the potential consequences too dire.

Ultimately, this situation extends beyond a government shutdown. It is about the kind of nation we want to be. A nation that cares for its most vulnerable, recognizes the contributions of its small business owners and entrepreneurs, that honors the service of its military.

The House must now act, prioritizing America’s needs over partisan politics. The clock is ticking. One can only hope they heed the call.

2022 Annual Report: Building Together Towards a Bright Tomorrow

The future looks bright at The Alliance! After a remarkable 2022 of building partnerships and programs to serve Black-led CDFIs, we’re gearing up for what’s next. Delve into our 2022 Annual Report themed “Building Together Towards a Bright Tomorrow” and get excited about our journey ahead.

Take a look here: Annual Report_2022

Statement: The Constant Fight for Equal Rights in the Aftermath of the Jacksonville Shooting

In 1963, we marched to protest segregation, the lack of voting rights, unemployment among and violence against Black Americans. Sixty years later, we are still fighting for equal rights and for our humanity.  

Last weekend, as the nation marked the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, tragedy struck. A white gunman armed with an assault-style rifle and handgun took the lives of three Black Americans. The attack took place inside a Jacksonville, Florida, General Dollar store in a predominately Black neighborhood less than a mile from Edward Waters University, a small historically Black university.  

There is an issue with race in America and the inability to hold people and institutions accountable for racist acts. While federal law enforcement has opened as civil rights investigation into this attack, we must use our voices to call these things out. We must have honest, candid conversations about racism, systemic inequities and its impact on Black communities. We must refuse to live in a country that continues to put communities of marginalized people at risk and in danger.  

We, at the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, are deeply saddened by the unspeakable tragedy in Jacksonville, FL. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and the entire community affected. Incidents like this inflict immeasurable harm on Black communities making it crucial for us to champion policies and programs that safeguard our community and humanity.  

The fight is far from over. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.” Together in solidarity, and through collective action, we strive for a future that genuinely respects and protects the diversity of America.  

Be Steadfast! 

Lenwood V. Long, Sr. 

President & CEO, African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs 

The Slippery Slope of a Conservative Court’s Decision on Affirmative Action

In the heart of America, where dreams are said to be within reach for all, a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court threatens to undermine the very essence of that promise. The Court’s decision to end affirmative action in college admissions is not just a blow to the aspirations of countless young Black students; it’s a signal of a dangerous trajectory that could stifle the growth and potential of the next generation of Black leaders.

Now, I want you to imagine a world where the playing field is level, where every individual, regardless of their race or background, has an equal shot at success. That’s the America we all dream of. But the reality is, we’re not there yet. Affirmative action was a step towards that dream, a bridge to close the chasm of inequality that has persisted for centuries. By ending it, we risk widening that gap and perpetuating the systemic barriers that have held Black Americans back for far too long.

But this decision doesn’t just stop at college admissions. It’s a slippery slope, and its tentacles threaten the ability of groups dedicated to racial equality to take the necessary steps to eliminate the racial wealth gap. Let’s take a look at the Fearless Fund, for instance. This venture capital fund, with a noble mission of exclusively investing in Black women business owners, is now under fire. Black women entrepreneurs, who face the stiffest and most disproportionate financial headwinds of any group, are being denied even this small beacon of hope. The very group suing the Venture Fund is led by the conservative activist who played a pivotal role in the Supreme Court’s June decision on affirmative action. The message is clear: efforts to uplift the Black community are under attack.

Similarly, LiftFund Inc., a non-profit that has been instrumental in supporting small businesses in San Antonio, Texas, is facing accusations of using a “race-based and sex-based” scoring methodology in awarding grants for the Bexar County Small Business Assistance Program. But let’s pause and reflect on the data. In 2022, Crunchbase data revealed that Black founders received a mere 1% of the total $241 billion in global venture capital funding. And within that minuscule percentage, Black women received less than .35 percent. As if this disparity wasn’t stark enough, Fortune highlighted that white founders receive approximately $35 million more across the funding cycle than Black founders.

So, where does this leave Black entrepreneurs? They’re caught in a catch-22. On one hand, the traditional venture capital funding avenues are almost closed to them, and on the other, when the community tries to create programs to uplift its own, they’re met with resistance and legal challenges. The system, it seems, is rigged against us, and the recent affirmative action ruling has only added fuel to the fire.

The broader implications of this decision are profound. By undermining affirmative action, we’re not just talking about college admissions. We’re talking about the future of Black leadership in this country. We’re talking about the CEOs, the scientists, the artists, the thinkers, and the innovators of tomorrow. How can we expect to foster a diverse and inclusive society when the very policies meant to level the playing field are being dismantled?

The narrative that affirmative action is a form of reverse discrimination is not just flawed; it’s a dangerous oversimplification. It fails to recognize the centuries of systemic discrimination that have placed Black Americans at a disadvantage. Affirmative action was never about giving Black students an unfair advantage; it was about correcting an age-old imbalance.

But now, with the Court’s decision, we’re at a crossroads. Do we stand by and watch as the next generation of Black leaders is stifled, or do we rally together and fight for a more equitable future? The choice is ours.

The challenges faced by the Venture Fund and LiftFund Inc. are emblematic of a larger issue. They underscore the need for policies and initiatives that address the racial wealth gap head-on. If we’re serious about creating a society where everyone, regardless of their race, has an equal shot at success, then we need to be proactive. We need to champion programs that uplift marginalized communities and challenge decisions that threaten to set us back.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” But it won’t bend on its own. We must be the force that pushes it in the right direction. The fight for racial equality is far from over, and now, more than ever, we need to stand united in our pursuit of a just and inclusive America.

Advancing Economic Equality: Funding Request for CDFI Fund Programs in FY 2024

July 11, 2023

The Honorable Patty Murray

Chair, United States Senate Committee on Appropriations

Room S-128, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20510

RE: FY 2024 Programmatic Appropriations Request for CDFI Fund Programs

Dear Senator Murray:

On behalf of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs (the Alliance), I am writing to request your continued support for at least $341 million for the CDFI Fund program in the fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations process, as well as a continuation of the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program with $500 million in guarantee authority. The Alliance is a national membership-based organization with a mission to empower Black communities by promoting economic stability, well-being, and wealth. Leveraging a network of 77 Black-led Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), the Alliance is working towards establishing power and promoting equal economic opportunity for Black individuals, families, and communities across all 50 states.

Economic opportunity is one cornerstone of a free and just nation, and it often starts with access to capital through a loan. Yet, millions of Americans cannot access traditional, fair financing because of discrimination or a lack of collateral. CDFIs are private sector financial institutions that invest, lend, and deliver responsible, affordable financial products and services to disinvested communities across the country. For more than 40 years, CDFIs have provided access to capital where it is needed most: CDFI customers are 83 percent low-income, 61 percent people of color, 47 percent women and 28 percent rural. Nationwide, there are more than 1,300 CDFIs certified by the US Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund.

Despite the recently enacted caps on spending, now is not the time to cut appropriations to the CDFI Fund. Communities are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic and need more investment, not less. Additionally, as interest rates continue to rise and regional banks pull back from offering credit, CDFIs are the ones to step in. The institutional-level capital from the CDFI Fund is essential to ensure CDFIs can meet the demand and keep capital affordable for the borrower. CDFI Fund dollars are particularly crucial for the Black-led CDFIs that make up the membership of the Alliance. These resources facilitate their efforts to narrow racial wealth disparities and support economic uplift in Black communities. With such funding, our member CDFIs are better equipped to deploy essential financial products and services, such as affordable credit, business capital, and homeownership opportunities, thereby promoting economic vitality and fostering social equity in the communities they serve.

The CDFI Fund’s grant programs provide equity capital that is critical to the continued growth of the CDFI industry. I urge you to provide an appropriation of at least $341 million for the CDFI Fund.

Thank you for your consideration of our request.


Lenwood V. Long, Sr., President and CEO  

African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs