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The Rockefeller Foundation Opportunity Collective Increases to $15 Million Commitment to Support BIPOC-Owned Businesses

Expanded commitment announced as part of Clinton Global Initiative Action Network

NEW YORK – As part of its ongoing effort to promote more inclusive growth in a post-pandemic recovery and over the long term, The Rockefeller Foundation announced today it is committing $15 million to the Rockefeller Opportunity Collective (ROC) initiative, increasing its previous commitment by $3 million.

The announcement was made during at event with former President Bill Clinton and The Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Rajiv J. Shah at the Clinton Global Initiative Action Network, which brings together organizations from across sectors to share best practices, resources and ideas to address global challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dedicated to eliminating barriers to access to capital and credit among low-wage workers and small businesses operated by Black and Latinx owners, the funding will be allocated to a collective of government, business, faith-based, and non-profit partners in 12 locations over several years, including Atlanta, Ga.; Baltimore, Md., Boston, Mass.; Chicago, Ill.; El Paso, Tex.; Houston, Tex., Jackson, Miss., Louisville, Ky., Miami Dade County, Fla.; Newark, N.J.; Norfolk, Va.; and Oakland, Calif.

“The Covid 19 pandemic showed just how deadly the inequities that exist in our society are, especially to communities of color, where more people died and more businesses closed, while receiving less relief,” says Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “We have a choice: Make the kinds of structural change necessary to allow small business owners of color have the same access to capital and chance to grow and strengthen their communities, or continue as is, widening the gap between rich and poor which actually hurts us all. Make no mistake: every community relies on the success of the other—Covid should have proven that to us all.”

“As we approach the one-year anniversary of a pandemic that has had deep, negative impacts on Black and Latinx-owned small businesses, this influx of capital will help revitalize businesses that give so much to our communities in employment, culture and services,” says Otis Rolley III, Senior Vice President of The Rockefeller Foundation’s U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative. “Even before this pandemic, too many small businesses owned by people of color had already struggled to access equitable and flexible capital.  Now we can help bolster and strengthen Black and Latinx business owners, who can be powerful drivers of economic recovery in communities across the country.”

“I’m grateful to The Rockefeller Foundation for their commitment to action and for creating a model of small business support that can be replicated all over the country as we work together to build an inclusive economic recovery,” says former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Founder and Board Chair of the Clinton Foundation. ”The Clinton Foundation is excited about the commitment to build up the community support needed not only to access various forms of capital, but to use it most effectively, by expanding ROC to small businesses in Jackson, Mississippi, and Baltimore, Maryland.”

An estimated 26.5 million U.S. adults are not in the formal credit economy. Federal data show that 15% of Black and Hispanic Americans are credit invisible (compared to just 8% of White and Asian Americans). Additionally, in the U.S., Black and Hispanic businesses receive only 2.5% and 5.8% of funding through the Small Business Administration.

In addition, negative or nonexistent credit information, cash constraints, and lack of availability of private capital and access to affordable financing are all components that limit a community’s economic development. These conditions also cause lost job opportunities, restrict housing options, and ultimately limit the goals of many low and middle-income families. Black entrepreneurs are also denied loans at a rate nearly twice as high as white business owners, and companies held by Black and Latinx owners were more likely to be classified as “at risk” or “distressed” prior to the Covid-19 crisis.

Through ROC, the Foundation is supporting a range of organizations that are providing critical guidance, training programs, networking opportunities, and financial assistance to help Black and Latinx businesses overcome this crisis and succeed long-term while breaking down barriers to accessing capital and credit. To do so, ROC is focused on equitable access to loans for minority-led businesses, credit-building tools for small businesses, affordable borrowing for entrepreneurs, and capacity building, among others.

The $15 million commitment behind ROC is part of the Foundation’s comprehensive $65 million investment announced one year ago to help more than 10 million low-wage workers and their families across the United States meet their basic needs and pursue a more prosperous future.


 

About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas, and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

 

About the Clinton Foundation

Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation on the simple belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. For nearly two decades, those values have energized the work of the Foundation in overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world.

As an operating foundation, we work on issues directly or with strategic partners from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. Our programs are designed to make a real difference today while serving as proven models for tomorrow. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster – at the lowest possible cost.

We firmly believe that when diverse groups of people bring resources together in the spirit of true cooperation, transformative ideas will emerge to drive life-changing action. Learn more at http://www.clintonfoundation.org, on Facebook at Facebook.com/ClintonFoundation, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn

 

Media Contact

The Rockefeller Foundation
Ashley Chang
+1 (917) 373-9530
achang@rockfound.org

 

 

 

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