Racial Equity in Times of Crisis: Let’s Interrupt History (Part 2)

A blog by IFF CEO Joe Neri

Originally posted 9/1/2020 by OFN member IFF

A blog by IFF CEO Joe NeriOn April 15th, IFF CEO Joe Neri published a blog post about “Racial Equity in Times of Crisis,” pointing to inequities in how the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was being distributed (or not) to nonprofits and other small businesses led by people of color and asking financial institutions to find a way to interrupt this cycle of systemic injustice. IFF followed its own advice, finding a way to interrupt our own formulas in order to bring the PPP to more nonprofits throughout the Midwest. This follow-up piece describes our efforts.

The COVID crisis. The economic crisis. The (historical and ongoing) racial justice crisis. They are inextricably intertwined. And this Crisis Convergence is disproportionately affecting Black Americans.

As a mission-driven organization, the concept of equity has always been close to our heart. But it’s clear that financial institutions must move beyond good intentions and manifest our commitment to equality directly into our programs and policies. We are charged to step beyond what is legally required of us, and actively work to correct longstanding systemic biases that have led to the unequal wealth and health of communities of color.

So, how do we do that? IFF does not have all the answers, of course. But we believe strongly in sharing openly our experience with “equity in practice”—the real-life examples of how our commitment to equity is playing out and what we are learning along the way. In that spirit, we offer some lessons from our recent effort to more equitably distribute resources from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—the now well-known federal forgivable loan program to help sustain small businesses (including nonprofits).

Read the full article.

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