Rethinking Reinvestment

by Austin Evans, Life Law Partners

One of the reasons most members of Business For Good decided to join is to hold politicians accountable to a new definition of what it means to be “pro-business.” We champion a vision of businesses strengthening our communities and making life better for all, not just moving wealth up the power structure

That’s exactly what we did last week. Member businesses attended the recent April 2019 meeting of the San Diego City-County Reinvestment Task Force, offering the group a perspective of the challenges small businesses face in securing capital to start or maintain their businesses.

Created by the City and the County of San Diego, the Task Force monitors local banking practices and recommends lending strategies that benefit low- and moderate-income residents. The Task Force helps implement the Community Reinvestment Act, a 1970s federal law designed to bring lending capital to low-income neighborhoods.

Under new leadership stemming from the recent 2018 elections, San Diego City Councilmember Monica Montgomery and San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher invited community representatives early on its meeting schedule to address how the Task Force can improve the region’s landscape for housing and business lending. I thoroughly enjoyed leading the discussion on the perspective from local businesses with fellow members Lauren Grattan from Mission Driven Finance, Sam Mazzeo from wilkmazz PC and George Thornton from The Homebrewer San Diego.

Going forward, our members’ input was well received by the Task Force, and Business for Good is looking forward to being a resource for the Task Force as it delves into key topics at its future meetings, including:

  • A study on the region’s landscape with capital products, surveying the wide variety of traditional and non-traditional lending products available from financial institutions, nonprofits and grants;
  • An overview of what the Community Reinvestment Act is and how the Task Force can best use its resources to implement the law, especially over 40 years after its passage; and
  • A review of government incentive programs (such as the City of San Diego’s Storefront Improvement Program) to see how they can be best offered to small businesses.