Vice President Kamala Harris, along with Mayor Eric Adams and other officials, gathered at Bed-Stuy Restoration in Brooklyn to announce the creation of the Economic Opportunity Coalition (EOC), a coalition of companies promising to invest billions in small businesses in underserved communities.

“What we know is not everyone in our nation has equal access to this essential support,” said Harris in the presser. “Consider for example, in our nation Black entrepreneurs are three times more likely to report they did not apply for a loan for fear of being turned away by a bank. That fear being based on the stories and experiences of their family, friends, and neighbors.”

The founding members of the Biden-Harris administration’s EOC coalition include powerhouses such as the Ford Foundation, Google, McDonald’s, Netflix, and The Rockefeller Foundation. Through the EOC, and their support for community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs), they’ll make major investments in communities of color businesses and housing, said the administration.

The EOC said they will commit more than $3 billion into CDFIs and MDIs, will buy more than $6 billion in products and services from diverse suppliers, and invest more than $500 million in funding to Black- and brown-owned equity funds. Additionally, the EOC said they have pledged $25 billion towards affordable housing.

Thasunda Brown Duckett is CEO of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), one of the members of the investing coalition. Duckett said that she looks forward to helping all Americans get on a road toward financial health and resilience. Duckett said TIAA’s asset manager, Nuveen, announced a $15 billion investment into improving affordable, sustainable and climate safe housing as a show of commitment to EOC.

“Closing the wealth gap for people of color in America continues to be one of the toughest issues we face as a nation. Cooperation between private institutions and government leaders can help us chart stronger pathways toward economic success and financial empowerment for everyone,” said Duckett in a statement.

“Working in lockstep with the Biden-Harris administration and with other industry partners, the Coalition aims to address pervasive economic disparities and accelerate opportunities by reimagining how capital, technology, and talent are deployed in underserved communities,” continued Duckett.

 The Biden-Harris administration will also have six federal government agencies collaborate on a new effort to fund underserved communities through the Emergency Capital Investment Program. The Department of the Treasury said that they have already put in about $8.26 billion of investments so far into 161 CDFIs and MDIs.

“We’re generated by so many small businesses up and down Fulton Street, Bedford Avenue, South Jamaica, Queens, South Bronx,” said Adams at the presser. “Small businesses are the heart and soul of our city and our country.”

Bed-Stuy’s Restoration Plaza, headed by President and Chief Executive Officer Blondell Pinnock, is a first-of-its kind community development corporation that has helped expand local access to business resources and capital for over 55 years. Restoration offers an array of services, including a business center, technical assistance, and skills program. Pinnock is a Black lawyer of Jamaican heritage and the first Black woman to lead Restoration. 

Pinnock said Restoration is committed to closing Brooklyn’s widening racial wealth gap, which is an overlooked crisis that is causing great damage to local communities.

“I also want to take this time to thank the Biden-Harris administration, who has been a firm ally in the fight for economic justice and equity for Black families. We stand behind its efforts to promote greater financial inclusion and economic mobility for Black and Brown communities,” said Pinnock.

Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w

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2 Comments

  1. I’m all for cultivating and providing opportunities for Black business to build and thrive but there is something awkward about the timing of this. As the Biden administration and the Democratic Party as a whole has faced increasing criticism for dragging its feet on issues dear to Black people such as voting rights, affordable housing, and similar issues, yielding only placebos and platitudes and being timid in the face of a far right GOP agenda, now they turn their attention to a marquee project in Bedford-Stuyvesant, even as the neighborhood becomes increasingly gentrified and stalwarts of the community are being forced out by gentrification. Perhaps more can be done by our mayor and the US government to help the people who have long been supporting the community to be able to fully share in its revitalization as opposed to outsiders seeking to change it’s very fabric.

  2. What about paying reparation to the living native black Americans who were scammed and gentrified out of Bedford Stuyvesant through redlining real estate scams after investors like my mother Gwendolyn Patterson owner of 990 Broadway and 313 Nostrand Avenue fell prey to The City of New York Housing Fraud? The City of New York cannot replace black people who are natives of New York with Blacks from the Caribbean and Africa with Latino from the Caribbean and Whites from different parts of Europe while trying to erase the blacks born in America. We are black American natives of New York City. I will never stop telling my Mothers story after all the years she worked hard in The City of New York for different races and ethnic groups to throw her under the bus. The horrible history we (all foundational black Americans) endured and the generational wealth we lost due to greed and corruption in The City of New York. So Kamala and Joe can continue to fill Brooklyn with immigrant blacks and immigrant whites and give them opportunities that we didn’t receive it will never change the past and the stolen generational wealth which is owed. Reparation Now Reparations is Justice!!!

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