Panelists speaking.

Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, CRC Chief Executive Officer, led a panel Thursday that brought together several Latine/x leaders of existing and emerging mission-driven financial organizations for a discussion on the importance of Community Development Financial Institutions in California communities.

The panel discussion titled, “The Power of CDFIs,” was part of the Latino Community Foundation’s second-annual El Poder Latino: An Economic Renaissance event, which showcases Latina entrepreneurship, celebrates Latine/x culture and kicks off Latino Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

The panel featured three members of the inaugural CRC Resilience Fund cohort, which included Juan Hernandes, III, Chief Executive Officer of Creser Capital Fund, Rudy Espinosa, Executive Director of Inclusive Action for the City, and Rose Pereirra, Director of Community Lending for Fresno Area Community Foundation. CRC Resilience Fund cohort is a program designed to provide a new generation of Black, Indigenous and People of Color-led nonprofit organizations with capacity building, technical assistance, and grant funding to support achieving CDFI certification.

“CDFI’s are especially important to me because they provide financial services to people who are often excluded from traditional banking services,” Gonzalez-Brito said, sharing a story of their youth helping their parents sell kitchenwares at the local swap meet, saying it was not only a way to supplement the family’s income, but also a way to express pride and joy.

Latine/x people were 60% less likely to get a loan from major banks, according to data from 2020 shared by Barbara Gomez-Aguinaga of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.

“I grew up in southeast Los Angeles with immigrant parents from Mexico. At that time, and even today, banks don’t give loans to people like my parents. There was no way for them to get a loan to expand their small business. Imagine if they were able to get a loan to get a brick-and-mortar shop to pass down from generation to generation,” they said. “The truth is, white Americans have had the opportunities to do this throughout history, whereas Latinos have not, and neither have Black Americans.”

Watch the panel discussion→