Lilly Ayers places a stick of sage in a bag while serving a customer at her store. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

Using their pocketbooks, businesses and consumers can engage in a variety of direct financial actions to help support Black and other minority communities, according to a report released Wednesday by the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

The report, “Becoming a Financial Activist for Racial Justice,” provides a series of actionable recommendations offering businesses and consumers an opportunity to apply their investment and purchase decisions toward funds and companies that support the Black community.

The recommendations aim to address the fact that San Diego’s Black community disproportionately experiences lower wages and opportunities for economic advancement than their white peers and neighbors, according to a Workforce Partnership statement.

“All San Diegans deserve equal opportunities to support their families, work quality jobs and find fulfillment,” said Andy Hall, chief impact officer at the San Diego Workforce Partnership. “Yet Black San Diegans have, for generations, been consistently excluded from fully participating in the economy.”

“But we can all promote equity through re-examining how we choose to invest and spend our money in our own communities,” Hall continued.

According to the report, in 1979, only 2% of home loans in San Diego were granted to homeowners of color, and as of 2019, only 19.7% of Black San Diegans were homeowners. Additionally, Black entrepreneurs are more likely to be denied loans compared to their white peers with equivalent creditworthiness, and only 1% of venture capital funds went to Black and Hispanic founders.

To help combat the historic and systemic injustice, the report recommends:

  • Spending intentionally: Purchase goods and services from businesses
    owned by members of historically excluded groups; support efforts for large
    public and community-focused organizations to purchase or procure products or
    contracts with businesses led by women, Black, Indigenous, other people of
    color owners and/or businesses with a track record of providing quality jobs in
    under-resourced communities; and patronize businesses with broad-based profit-
    sharing and employee ownership structures.
  • Examining your banking relationship: Choose banks and credit unions
    that are aligned with your own values and consider banking with a Black-
    owned bank or a Community Development Financial Institution.
  • Participating in impact investing: Consider adding Environmental,
    Social and Corporate Governance, or socially responsible funds, into employees’
    retirement plan options and re-examine the impact of financial and/or
    investment decisions when building a portfolio.
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