Equity1821, the first Black-led custom-designed loan fund (CDFI), launched with a $1 million investment from the American Rescue Plan.
The new CDFI, was created after the city of Indianapolis and The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Indy commissioned a study to develop the fund. Black Onyx Management Inc. conducted the study and serves as consultant.
Equity1821 is named in honor of the year when David Mallory started what is believed to be the first Black-owned business in Indianapolis. To help Black-owned businesses overcome barriers, equity must be prioritized. Equity ensures “meeting businesses where they are with CARE”:
- The Capital they need to build a competitive advantage
- Services that Accelerate their growth and profitability
- Trusted Relationships that boost their reputation
- Exceptional Experiences that make it easier to do business
Equity1821 will create products and services that address the root causes of disparities for small businesses as well as concerns expressed by Black business owners. According to data from the Federal Reserve, Black entrepreneurs are denied bank loans more than twice as often as white entrepreneurs. In addition, data from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research found 1% of Black business owners obtained loans in their founding year compared to 7% of white entrepreneurs. Equity1821 will connect business owners to resources to create an inclusive economy.
Founding board members of the newly formed CDFI are:
Tony Mason, president, Indianapolis Urban League
Tanya McKinzie, president, Indiana Black Expo
Willis Bright, chairman of the African American Coalition of Indianapolis
Phil Johnson, senior vice president, treasurer and head of Corporate Transactions, Eli Lilly and Co.
Nick Bontrager, financial services industry experience
Greg Hicks, CFO, Indy Black Chamber of Commerce
Robert Shegog, president, Indianapolis Recorder Charities
Latoya Botteron, CFO, COO, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership
Jeff Bennett, deputy mayor of Community Economic Development