San Diego leaders came together Thursday morning at the Elementary Institute of Science, in Chollas View, to announce the creation of the Black Community Investment Fund, administered by The San Diego Foundation.
The fund will invest in innovative community-led efforts that increase racial equity and generational wealth for Black San Diegans.
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The Black Community Investment Fund was seeded with more than $1 million provided by the San Diego Foundation, SDG&E, Wells Fargo Bank and Cox Communications.
“Some of the challenges in San Diego are decades-long,” said San Diego Foundation president and CEO Mark Stuart on Thursday morning. “I mean, red-lining occurred in San Diego back in 1936, and while it was outlawed decades later, we still see those effects here in San Diego about where people live and what is their access to mortgages, and being able to have a home that they can call their own. So that’s one area we’re going to focus on.”
“Redlining is the practice of denying a creditworthy applicant a loan for housing in a certain neighborhood even though the applicant may otherwise be eligible for the loan,” according to the Federal Reserve. “he term refers to the presumed practice of mortgage lenders of drawing red lines around portions of a map to indicate areas or neighborhoods in which they do not want to make loans.”
The fund will focus grantmaking on four key pillars:
- Education: projects that address systemic educational challenges as well as scholarship support
- Employment: projects that create workforce training programs and drive diversity in underrepresented fields
- Entrepreneurship: financial support for new entrepreneurs
- Housing: sSupporting initiatives that drive homeownership
Another key component of the education pillar is the creation of the Dr. Wilma Wooten Courage Scholarship, which will honor San Diego County’s public health officer for her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wooten has served in her current role since 2007, overseeing nearly 500 employees with a budget of more than $100 million, serving a county of 3.1 million residents.
The fund creation comes as organizers say the coronavirus has deepened racial inequity in many aspects of society, with numerous incidents this year shining a light on systemic racism, especially as it impacts Black communities.
The San Diego Foundation believes that San Diegans want to make an impact and that the Black Community Investment Fund provides a new opportunity for philanthropists to help make San Diego County a better, stronger and more equitable region.
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