Updated: Dec 17, 2020
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Undoing disinvestment takes investment. In this way, social justice and money are intrinsically linked. Lisa Mensah President and CEO of the Opportunity Finance Network talks us through how finance justice is achieved. Some of this work is done by CDFIs (Community Develop Financial Institutions) who play critical roles in increasing homeownership, financing small businesses that otherwise would not receive loans, and other ways of increasing economic stability within a community. Mensah offers optimism about the future as well as many heart-touching reflections about what’s already been done in underserved areas across the country.
Lisa Mensah: It means that you can make different choices about what you seek, you can hang in there in a community that other banks have said there's just not enough profit in it to stay. And what I love is that we're often partnered with the profit maximizing sector, because they to recognize that they need. Fighting for these communities.
Lisa Mensah: To me it's the ultimate picture of hope in a community that you can see people who are recent immigrants or children of immigrants, as you know holders the American Dream people that can be employed have jobs. You know, raise their children and stable settings, often they're creating the financing of the schools or clinics as well. So, that's the exciting thing to see what CDFIs an ability to land in from multiple areas.
Lisa Mensah: One of the joys of being a CDFL is those first two words, Community Development, means that financing can be seen in the context of how we're lifting up an entire community or more families inside of community. we see more time spent on deals.