Executive Letter: Community In Action
Jul 13 2020
Opening letter from our 2020 Community in Action Report.
Dear Clients & Friends,
Normally at midyear, you would be receiving an annual report from us. But these are not normal times. Given the unprecedented breadth and scale of the upheaval we’ve all experienced over the past several months, we wanted to share some of our reflections and actions in response to what is happening today.
The global pandemic has brought a devastating toll of illness and death, along with widespread uncertainty, fear, social isolation, and an economic shutdown that will have long-lasting impact—especially on the most vulnerable. The effects of COVID-19 have laid bare the stark inequalities—in access to healthcare, financial security, housing, and more—that have long festered in our country. And the recent protests have demanded further attention to the systemic racism that underlies all these problems.
We have been grieving, listening, and reflecting on how, as an historically white organization, we have perpetuated structural racism. To truly support the Black Lives Matter movement and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities and individuals, it is imperative that we do more to be an actively antiracist organization. A few steps we have taken include providing more capital and resources to women entrepreneurs of color through our Women’s Capital Collaborative, hosting economic and racial justice conversations with our clients, and holding a series of all-staff trainings on Restorative Economics and Implicit Bias, led by Nwamaka Agbo, a 2017 Integrated Capital Institute fellow. We are committed to applying what we learn from Nwamaka’s training to our decision-making processes, organizational culture, and offerings.
This is a start. We know we need to do more to ensure that we model our commitments and have the cultural competence and equitable processes and policies required to truly contribute to the just, regenerative, and compassionate world we envision. We are up for the challenge and are dedicating time and resources to it. We will share our journey as we move forward.
In response to the pandemic-driven economic crisis, we have activated our community to ensure that the enterprises RSF supports—which are addressing critical social, economic, and environmental issues—can continue their vital work. At our March Community Pricing Gathering, investors unanimously agreed to accept a lower return so that RSF could reduce borrower rates and seed a new RSF Crisis Response Fund, which provides tailored support to enterprises facing financial challenges. Participants in the June gathering reiterated that commitment.
This Community in Action report highlights just some of the incredible social enterprises we support and how they have been impacted by COVID-19. You will also hear from two of RSF’s donors and how they have been thinking about giving during this time. Lastly, you will meet two RSF Integrated Capital Institute fellows who are rethinking the purpose of wealth and flowing capital where it’s needed most.
We hope this report finds you safe and well, and we invite you to reach out to us with any questions or thoughts. Thank you for the opportunity to work with you.
With gratitude and solidarity,
RSF’s Executive Team
Read the full report here.