From CEO Kimberly R. Lyle:
On Wednesday, October 11th, I was honored to visit the White House to attend the first-ever convening of Latino-led Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) for Hispanic Heritage Month. Dorchester Bay is the only Community Development Corporation in Boston that is also a CDFI, a formal certification that enables us to apply for awards from specific programs of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund to lend to small businesses in our community.
I joined over 40 members of the National Alliance of Latino CDFI Executives (NALCE) from across the country for a historic roundtable. We discussed ways we can work together to break down the barriers that Latino businesses face, to support their growth and prosperity. We learned from members of the Biden Administration about their work to allocate CDFI money to help businesses recover from the pandemic, particularly Black, Latino, and other Communities of Color, who were hit the hardest.
We also shared our personal stories and emphasized why it’s so important that our country invest in communities that have been historically marginalized. We agreed that we would continue to work together to bolster economic growth for our communities.
The following week, I joined the Opportunity Finance Network, a national network of CDFIs, for a conference at the Capitol. I had the inspiring opportunity to meet the legendary Congresswoman Maxine Waters and share with her the pride I feel about being the first Black woman Bostonian to lead Dorchester Bay EDC. Waters, along with Senator Mark Warner, Senator Mike Crapo, and Representative Jason Smith, was presented with an award from the Network in recognition of her support for CDFIs – she was one of the strongest advocates for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), especially for Black and Brown businesses.
I also got to meet with staff for Senator Markey, Senator Warren, and Representative Lynch to discuss how Dorchester Bay EDC deploys capital in the communities that need it the most, and how our Massachusetts elected officials can support underserved small businesses. I advocated for increasing the CDFI fund, making New Market Tax Credits permanent, and making the U.S. Small Business Administration 7a program permanent.
I was honored to be able to represent Dorchester Bay EDC in these rooms, and to speak with pride about how we support the small businesses in our community. I am proud of our commitment to providing resources to businesses that can’t access capital from traditional sources.
In the past two years, Dorchester Bay has loaned over $1 million in low-cost capital to startups, scaling businesses, and distressed businesses in six low-to-moderate income neighborhoods in Boston, with an emphasis on lending to businesses owned by Black, Brown, and underserved, and historically marginalized business owners. The people and businesses we serve are not suffering from a shortage of intellectual capacity, grit, or creativity. They do, however, encounter specific barriers due to systemic racism.
Our economy will only be successful if, at the local, state, and federal level, we continue to invest in these communities that have been traditionally shut out and underserved. We at Dorchester Bay are committed to reinforcing our community’s small businesses on our path towards a stronger, healthier, and more financially viable Commonwealth and nation.