Finance Fund Provides Financing to Open the New Childhood League Center

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Amber Seitz, Senior Manager of Development

Amber Seitz, Senior Manager of Development

Finance Fund helps the Childhood League to renovate a 41,000 sq. ft. facility to double its space and the number of children it serves.  Finance Fund provided nearly $10.6 million in federal and state New Markets Tax (NMTC) financing to make the grand opening of the new Childhood League Center possible.

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State Senator Stephanie Kunze joined Central Ohio leaders to celebrate the grand opening of this licensed early childhood intervention center.  Located on Cleveland Avenue in Columbus, OH, the new Childhood League Center is committed to serving children ages 6 and under providing inclusive programs designed to promote positive development and learning for all children.  Part of the Childhood League Center’s mission is to provide early childhood educational opportunities for children with developmental disabilities and empower families.

Finance Fund’s investment enables the new Childhood League Center to prepare children to reach their full potential.  The goal is that by the time the children enter kindergarten, 65% of which received services from the Center will no longer qualify for specialized services.

On Thursday, January 26th, the Childhood League Center offered light appetizers, activities for children and tours of the facility at their grand opening event.  The presentation featured the following key speakers:

  • Ginger Young, Executive Director, The Childhood League Center
  • Peter McMurtrie, Chair of the Board of Directors, The Childhood League Center
  • Senator Stephanie Kunze, District 16, Ohio Senate
  • Kevin Boyce, Franklin County Commissioner
  • Jess, Former Childhood League Center student

Senator Sherrod Brown could not attend the grand opening, however he recorded a video message that was played during the presentation.  He specifically thanked President and CEO, Diana Turoff and Finance Fund for their investment to make this project possible.  He ended with a quote, “When you get, you give, when you learn, you teach.”

IMG_0627One of the highlights of the Childhood League Center’s Grand Opening was hearing Ginger Young tell the story about a lovely woman that was in attendance that night, Elaine D. Walter.  The Center dedicated the building in her name for the transformational lead gift that her family provided.  The day of the dedication also happened to be Elaine’s 96th birthday.  Getting to know the people involved in this project and witnessing the end result, knowing Finance Fund had a hand in it, makes me proud to be a part of this organization.

 

Healthy Food for Ohio Seeks Ongoing State Funding Support

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Finance Fund President and CEO Diana Turoff

Finance Fund President and CEO Diana Turoff

Today, Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP) joined with leaders from government, health, the grocery industry and the community at a Statehouse Day Briefing to raise awareness and provide an update on the progress of the Healthy Food for Ohio (HFFO) program.

FCAP was honored to welcome our key speakers including Legislative Champions, Ohio Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson and Ohio House Finance Chairman Ryan Smith, both greatly support the HFFO program and promoted the need for Campbell’s Market in Vinton County. “The HFFO program needs to continue to reach more communities in need”, said Senator Peterson. Ohio Rep Ryan Smith recounted, “HFFO was created to lower the risk for grocers to open and to provide healthy food access.” He thanked the Campbell family and announced that there are many other communities in need and we have a lot more to do. Our Community Voices, Kandace Jones, Neighborhood Association Leader from Euclid, OH, spoke on behalf of the importance that Simon’s Supermarket has in the Euclid Community and was excited to announce the grand opening on Saturday, February 4th. Rhoda Toon Price, Executive Director, Vinton County Senior Citizens from McArthur, OH, began with a chant, “The Campbell’s Are Coming!” Vinton County is very excited to once again have a grocer in the county with access to healthy food. The ground breaking for Campbell’s Market is scheduled for March. The Panel Discussion that followed, included Dr. Laxmi Mehta, cardiologist, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Ohio Grocers Association President and CEO, Kristin Mullins, Richard Campbell from Campbell’s Market and Simon Hussain from Simon’s Supermarket. The panel did an excellent job to promote the HFFO program and explained how HFFO benefits them. HFFO is Ohio’s first-ever statewide healthy food financing program. It provides flexible financing to eligible rural and urban healthy food retail projects in underserved areas of highest need throughout the state.

We appreciate the strong support the HFFO program has received from the governor’s office, state and federal elected leaders, health and economic development organizations, state agencies and public and private funders.

HFFO has funded five healthy food projects to date

(L to R) Ohio Representative Ryan Smith, Dola Powell, Terri Fetherolf, Rhoda Price, Beth Campbell, Rick Campbell and Ohio Senator Bob Peterson.

(L to R) Ohio Representative Ryan Smith, Dola Powell, Terri Fetherolf, Rhoda Price, Beth Campbell, Rick Campbell and Ohio Senator Bob Peterson.

Campbell’s Market in McArthur
Hattie Larlham Fresh Market in Akron
Mobile Market on the Green in Toledo
Prather’s IGA Supermarket in West Union
Simon’s Supermarket in Euclid

Together, these projects provide more than 35,000 Ohio residents with fresh, affordable food. They are creating an estimated 114 FTEs and 53 construction jobs. They are also creating or expanding nearly 68,000 square feet of retail space.

HFFO’s pipeline of funding requests is full and overflowing. Currently, there are 38 projects seeking a total of $59 million in funding. Demand for funding far exceeds available resources, which is why we held the Statehouse event today – to encourage continued state funding support for the Healthy Food for Ohio program.

Why is continuing HFFO so important?

A growing body of research documents that people living in communities without a supermarket or other healthy food retail venue suffer from disproportionately high rates of obesity, diabetes, certain cancers, high cholesterol and other diet-related health issues.

These health issues contribute to Ohio Medicaid spending $50 billion annually to address chronic diseases, most of which are tied to poor nutrition. Insights from grocers helped identify some of the key barriers that are keeping healthy food retailers from operating or expanding in areas that need them the most.

One of the most significant barriers is the lack of access to capital needed to fund land assembly, workforce training, security, transportation and other costs that are unique to grocery stores in urban or rural areas. Flexible funding is essential to helping grocers overcome barriers that have kept so many of them from operating in underserved communities.

Your continued strong support is essential as we seek additional state funding to meet the demand for grocery stores in communities that simply don’t have access to healthy and affordable food.

Click here for more information on HFFO.

 

Unique Partnership Launches Local Food Action Plan

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Director of Development Valerie Heiby

Director of Development
Valerie Heiby

Everyone should have access to nutritious and affordable food. Finance Fund, along with many others in the local community, are working hard to make that happen. It has been my great privilege to represent Finance Fund on a terrific Working Committee to develop the Columbus and Franklin County Local Food Action Plan which launched this week.

From the Plan’s Executive Summary, here’s a snapshot of some of Franklin County’s food-related issues:

  • 1 in 5 children in Columbus are food insecure and are more likely to experience chronic disease. (2014 Franklin County Children’s Report; Community Research Partners)
  • In the 2014/15 school year, 30% of pre-K and 28% of kindergarten students in Columbus City Schools had a Body Mass Index at or above the 85th percentile, putting them at increased risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other weight related issues. (Columbus City Schools Wellness Initiative)
  • Less than 25% of adults in Franklin County report consuming fruit and vegetables the recommended five or more times a day. (Franklin County Health Map 13)
  • About 13% of the material entering the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill each year is food waste. (2013 Waste Characterization Study of the Municipal Solid Waste Entering the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill)
  • In 2010, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) described 275,641 Franklin County residents (24%) as having low access to grocery stores with 72,902 of those also identified as low income. (Food Access Research Atlas; United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service)

Work on the plan began in November 2014 when Columbus City Council and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, led by councilmember Priscilla Tyson and Commissioner John O’Grady, joined up with not-for-profit Local Matters. This unique partnership conducted community-level food planning meetings, stakeholder interviews, surveys and public feedback sessions. More than 1,000 residents and stakeholders provided valuable insights that led to the development of the Local Food Action Plan.

LFAP2The plan is built around four major goals:
1. Enhance coordination and communication among existing food resources and agencies.
2. Improve access to and education about healthy affordable food and local food.
3. Increase the role of food in economic development.
4. Prevent food-related waste.

It is intended to create a strong and resilient local food system, inform public policy, inspire program development, foster community collaborations, guide local funding strategies, and establish the foundation for successful philanthropic and public grant applications.

You can view the full plan and learn more about the development process here. For information about Finance Fund Capital Corporation’s Healthy Food for Ohio flexible funding program for healthy food retailers please visit our website.

 

Healthy Food For Ohio Focus of #GivingTuesday

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Finance Fund President and CEO Diana Turoff

Finance Fund President and CEO Diana Turoff

I always look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family, then launching into the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping. We all know Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but fewer people are aware of #GivingTuesday, November 29th. Launched in 2012, this international movement is fueled by social media and generates philanthropic support for a wide range of causes. Leading technology companies including Mashable, Skype, Cisco, Microsoft, and Sony are behind its founding and continue to shape and strengthen the online movement.

Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP) will participate in #GivingTuesday again this year and is focusing our request around Healthy Food for Ohio (HFFO), a public-private partnership which we launched in March. HFFO has been successful in bringing flexible funding to healthy food retailers opening or expanding operations in underserved communities. To date, the program has leveraged $2 million in state seed capital to $12 million and funded 5 projects in urban and rural communities statewide.

The demand for HFFO funding, however, far exceeds available resources. Nearly 40 healthy food retail projects have applied for HFFO’s flexible funding to date. To help meet the demand, FCAP is seeking additional support for the HFFO program on #GivingTuesday.

Thanks to HFFO funding, grocery retail is now providing fresh fruits and vegetables, meat  and dairy in areas formerly designated as USDA food deserts. We know that access to healthy, affordable food can reduce chronic disease and obesity that often stems from a diet high in fats, starches and sugars. HFFO-funded projects range from food hubs to supermarkets and mobile markets and reflect the diverse range of needs in the urban and rural communities they serve.

Here are a few HFFO-funded project examples:
deli

Prather’s IGA . This family owned and operated supermarket provides USDA Grade A meats, as well as produce, dairy, and a full range of grocery items to the rural West Union community. With HFFO funding, Prather’s is updating their produce department, cold and freezer cases to expand their healthy food selection.

Simon’s Supermarket . Located in USDA-designated urban food desert on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Simon’s brings jobs and much-needed fresh food to an impoverished area. A recent preview event at the construction site attracted about 90 area residents who shared their ideas for needed grocery items, and completed employment applications.

produce

Hattie Larlham . Thanks in part to funding from the HFFO program, a 4,400 sq. ft. fresh food “corner market” is growing out of the Hattie Larlham food processing hub to provide Akron residents with produce, and create new job training opportunities for people with disabilities.

Thank you for being a friend to FCAP and for supporting our efforts to improve the health of children and families through healthy food access. Please give generously on #GivingTuesday or use this link to make your contribution today. 

New Kroger Serves Multi-Ethnic Shoppers in Northland Village

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Finance Fund Office Manager Jennifer Hunt

Finance Fund Office Manager Jennifer Hunt

As a Finance Fund employee, I was thrilled to attend the recent Kroger Northland Village grand opening on Morse Road in Columbus. As a resident of the community served by the new full-service store, I can report that it has greatly exceeded my neighborhood’s expectations. Not only does the store cater to the diversity of the community, it also created more than 200 jobs for area residents. Walking through it, I felt like a child in the world’s largest toy store. The place is huge – 102,188 sq. ft. – and offers so much more than I could have ever imagined.

I am amazed at the effort that Kroger put forth to actually research the multi-ethnic Northland Village community and provide such a wonderful place to shop. Clearly, the store was designed to cater to the neighborhood’s different nationalities and businesses including: Somali, African American, Asian, Nepali, South American/Latino, American and Italian.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • At the entrance and upstairs, beautiful murals painted by local artists capture the diversity of the community
  • On offer are spices, fruits and vegetables and foods you won’t find in any other Kroger that are native to the different nationalities
  • Convenience options include a salad and olive bar, Starbucks, and made-to-order pizza, pasta, sandwiches and sushi and an in-store food cart serving Nepali, Indian and Tibetan cuisine
  • There is a section for pets and beauty supplies
  • They even sell clothing with inspiring phrases and pictures of children of different ethnicities
  • Numerous seating areas inside and out encourage relaxation and conversation, and a second floor area has televisions
  • There is even a Little Clinic and large pharmacy with interpreters

signage (1)

Finance Fund saw the need for the store in what was a USDA-designated food desert, and used New Markets Tax Credit financing to attract critical private investment to this project. Finance Fund provided $8,500,000 of federal NMTC allocation and $2,564,103 of Ohio NMTC allocation. In addition, the project received Tax Increment Financing from the City of Columbus for infrastructure. U.S. Bancorp, the investor, provided $1,500,000 of federal NMTC allocation to the project.

If you are in the Northland Village neighborhood, be sure to stop by to see how Finance Fund put New Markets Tax Credit financing to work to enable Kroger to create a truly unique grocery store dedicated to meeting the needs of its local customers. 
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Simon Says New Healthy Food Supermarket Will Open in Euclid This November

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Omar Elhagmusa, Lending Officer

Omar Elhagmusa, Lending Officer

Energy and optimism filled the room as 90 Euclid community residents gathered in late September to preview the new Simon’s Supermarket and learn more about employment opportunities.

Young families, senior citizens, city and community leaders all expressed support and appreciation for this tremendous community asset and employer. Not only will the store provide high-quality, affordable healthy food options where none existed before, it will also employ up to 60 workers drawn from the economically distressed neighborhood.

Simon’s Supermarket owner Simon Hussain turned to the Healthy Food for Ohio (HFFO) program for funding help to convert the vacant 27,000 sq. ft. property into a full-service supermarket. His experience in developing and managing two other supermarkets in low-income Cleveland neighborhoods enabled him to see the potential of the Euclid site.  

The HFFO program, administered by Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP), provided flexible capital for in-store construction and equipment costs. In addition, the City of Euclid provided funding for external renovations to the store and parking lot.  The City is supporting the project’s ongoing success by developing community engagement and marketing plans alongside Simon, local residents and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

Euclid residents welcome Simon's Supermarket.

Euclid residents welcome Simon’s Supermarket.

The store is located in a high-density urban area along Euclid Avenue, a major transportation and commercial corridor. About a fourth of area households have income below the poverty line and lack access to a private vehicle. The store location is served by a bus stop and is within walking distance of numerous multi-unit housing complexes, including senior housing directly across the street.

Simon’s Supermarket is expected to officially open for business in early November. It is exactly the type of project that HFFO was created to assist. HFFO funding is critical to helping overcome the financial barriers that would otherwise keep a supermarket from locating in a low-income underserved neighborhood.

If you’d like to learn more about HFFO funding for your healthy food retail project, please get in touch with me oelhagmusa@financefund.org or visit our HFFO web page.

 

 

 

US Senator Sherrod Brown Visits New Markets Tax Credit Project

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US Sen. Brown with Finance Fund CEO Diana Turoff and The Center's Executive Director Ginger Young.

US Sen. Brown with Finance Fund CEO Diana Turoff and The Center’s Executive Director Ginger Young.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown today visited the construction site of The Childhood League Center’s new location near downtown Columbus, and highlighted the importance of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, which made financing for the project possible. The NMTC program incentivizes private investments into highly distressed, low-income communities.

A long-time supporter of the NMTC program, Senator Brown helped secure a five-year extension in December 2015 and noted that “we eventually need to make it permanent.”

Finance Fund provided federal and state NMTC allocation that attracted private investment from Capital One needed to close the financing gap to bring the project to fruition.

“The New Markets Tax Credit facilitates these sorts of public-private partnerships. This is exactly what we need to encourage economic growth — leveraging private capital to create jobs, invest in communities, and lift up our most vulnerable children,” said Senator Brown. “I look forward to seeing what a difference The Center will continue to make in this community.”

The Childhood League Center provides evidence-based programs, interventions and therapies to about 450 children under age six who have developmental delays or are at-risk of being left behind in school. The new facility adds four new classrooms to serve an additional 100 children at the facility as well as many more students in the larger community. It is expected to open in January 2017 – but for those on The Center’s waiting list and those already enrolled, January can’t come soon enough.

Amid the buzz of saws and grind of power equipment, Senator Brown toured the new facility alongside The Center’s Executive Director Ginger Young and me, flanked by central Ohio media. We saw vaulting ceilings, wide hallways and doors open onto state-of-the art learning and developmental play spaces. Some of the facilities are new from the ground up, and others make adaptive re-use of historic Civil War-era buildings at the Fort Hayes Education Center.

Classroom under construction.

Tour of a classroom under construction.

All classrooms feature large windows and outdoor learning patios designed to spark creativity and curiosity. Other features include an indoor gym, one-of-a-kind outdoor playscape, a nurse’s station, quiet rooms, a children’s library, sensory garden and observation nooks for teachers, parents and therapists. The project has created 72 construction jobs and will retain 49 current staff positions and add 18 new jobs.

We discussed the tremendous immediate and long-range returns on investment made possible by the new facility.

“This building is critical to our success,” Ginger said. “I am grateful to both Finance Fund and Senator Brown for believing in the mission of The Childhood League Center and understanding that investment in this project means more children and families will have access to life-changing interventions. This will affect our future educational systems and workforce, and we look forward to showing you the return on this investment.”

This project is very dear to all of us at Finance Fund and is a great example of what New Markets is all about — providing needed services to highly-distressed communities, creating jobs and incentivizing private investment in hard-to-fund-projects. We thank Senator Brown for his ongoing support of the New Markets Tax Credit program and this highly impactful project.

To learn more about the NMTC program, please visit our website

What the Heck is Inclusive Capitalism and Why Does It Matter?

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Finance Fund CEO Emeritus James R. Klein (center) at University of Oxford.

Finance Fund CEO Emeritus James R. Klein (center) at University of Oxford.

In a series of recent broadcast interviews, Global Business with Mahesh Joshi, Voice of America and I explored the concept of “Inclusive Capitalism” and why it is the real measure of society’s prosperity.  Here are a few excerpts from the first interview you may find interesting. The entirety of the conversation is available here.

The genius of capitalism is that it both creates incentives for solving human problems and makes those solutions widely available. And it is solutions to human problems that define prosperity, not money.

Life is drastically better for billions of people today than it was in 1800, because we have life-saving antibiotics, indoor plumbing, motorized transport, access to vast amounts of information, and an enormous number of technical and social innovations that have become available to much (if not yet all) of the world’s population.

Most of us intuitively believe that the more money people have, the more prosperous a society must be. But the idea that prosperity is simply about having money can be disproved with a simple thought experiment complements of Eric Beinhocker and Nick Hanauer[i] in a Harvard Business Review article (2014).

Imagine you had the $38,001 income of a typical American but lived among the Yanomami people, an isolated hunter-gatherer tribe deep in the Brazilian rainforest. You’d easily be the richest of the Yanomami. (They don’t use money, but anthropologists estimate their standard of living at around $90 a year.) But you’d still feel a lot poorer than the average American. Even after you’d fixed up your hut, bought the best baskets in the village, and eaten the finest Yanomami cuisine, all of your riches still wouldn’t get you antibiotics, air conditioning, or a comfy bed. Yet even the poorest Americans typically have access to these important elements of well-being.

This is why prosperity in human societies can’t be properly understood by looking just at monetary measures, such as income or wealth. Prosperity in a society is the accumulation of solutions to human problems. The measure of the wealth of a society is the range of human problems it has solved and how available it has made those solutions to its people.

A reorientation toward seeing businesses as society’s problem solvers rather than simply as vehicles for creating shareholder returns would provide a better description of what businesses actually do. It could help executives better balance the interests of the multiple stakeholders they need to manage. It could also help shift incentives back toward long-term investment—after all, few complex human problems can be solved in one quarter.

Once we understand that the solutions capitalism produces are what creates real prosperity in people’s lives, and that the rate at which we create solutions is true economic growth, then it becomes obvious that entrepreneurs and business leaders bear a major part of both the credit and the responsibility for creating societal prosperity.

Today our culture celebrates money and wealth as the benchmarks of success. Suppose that instead we celebrated innovative solutions to human problems. Imagine being at a party and rather than being asked, “What do you do?”—code for how much money do you make and what status do you have—you were asked, “What problems do you solve?” Both capitalism and our society would be the better for it.[ii] 

This is inclusive capitalism.


[i] Redefining Capitalism, Eric Beinhocker and Nick Hanauer , Article – McKinsey Quarterly – September 2014

[ii] Capitalism Redefined, Nick Hanauer, Eric Beinhocker A Journal of Ideas, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, Winter 2014Top of Form

 

Connecting with Local CDFIs: Coalition Chair Visits Native CDFIs

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Finance Fund CEO Emeritus James R. Klein

Finance Fund
CEO Emeritus James R. Klein

“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.”   ― Emily Dickinson

 Dickinson’s quote points out a fairly well known principle that is often forgotten, or at least overlooked. We miss a lot of good things by not attempting to do them. As Chair of the CDFI Coalition Board, I’ve taken this little life lesson to heart and applied it to my limited time in office. My opportunity to connect with local CDFIs, which are the basic element of the CDFI concept, is not something I’m willing to overlook. 

My first visits were as a result of the 2016 CDFI Institute, held in March in DC, where there was a presentation of Native CDFIs and their work around the country.  The follow-up conversations resulted in invitations from Ted Piccolo, Director of Northwest Native Development Fund in Nespelem, WA, and Tanya Fiddler, Director of the Native CDFI Network based in Rapid City, SD. My visits to Coulee Dam and South Dakota made me feel welcome on arrival and better informed when I left.

2016-07-18 15.46.05

Northwest Native Development Fund (NNDF) is a CDFI focused on helping individuals create and build assets, such as housing and small businesses. Their work also involves training, small business assistance, and helping make connections with state and local agencies.  NNDF serves the Colville Indian Reservation, Spokane Indian Reservation, and Kalispell Indian Reservation tribal members and descendants, as well as those employed by area tribes. My conversation with staff reinforced my admiration for local people whose diligence, persistence, and passion is the backbone of our industry.

South Dakota is the home of nine reservations, and Tanya Fiddler comes to her role as Executive Director of the Native CDFI Network through the challenges of development in these local communities. Formerly, the Director of Four Bands CDFI in Eagle Butte, SD, Tanya has the understanding and unction to move the needle of public policy, local ambivalence, and cultural reticence.

Both of these CDFIs are doing something that is both basic and profoundly critical, not only in Native communities, but also in any unstable economy, low-income neighborhood, or disadvantaged enclave in the nation—and, indeed, in the world.  They are creating systems that allow for the building of wealth and, more specifically, individual wealth. Individual wealth stabilizes local economic systems, because it is transferable to the next generation. This work is local and it is systemic.

For far too long, we have focused almost exclusively on the symptoms of these dysfunctional systems and spent billions upon billions of dollars to alleviate their impact. But as those dollars move away, because of political will or economic volatility, the symptoms return with a vengeance. Expecting that doing away with the symptoms will change the systems that cause them is not wisdom, it is “wishdom”. This phrase was coined by Gardiner Morse in a Harvard Business Review article “Bottom-Up-Economics” (August 2003). Morse talks about the Bottom of the Pyramid and its relevance in the stabilization and strengthening of local economies/communities.  It is not good enough to rely on public-sector intervention or investment, because it is almost exclusively pointed at the symptoms. These Native CDFIs, as well as their non-Native counterparts, are the type of model to which Mr. Morse is eluding. There is overwhelming evidence that investment in local communities, and specifically local entrepreneurs and small business, is the most effective approach to the viability of local areas.

The challenge in Native communities is exacerbated by the diversity of the communities. Issues of tribal ownership of land and assets, varying forms of tribal governance, levels of support for basic development efforts, levels of collaboration between native and non-native institutions, and simply doing things differently, makes the work even more challenging. It is my intent to do some follow-up on what is actually happening on the ground in these communities at another time.

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” ― Francis Bacon,

 NOTE: This blog was originally published August 10, 2016 by the CDFI Coalition.

HR Pros Share Best Practices in Diversity and Mindset

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Suzette Berry, Vice President Human Resources

Suzette Berry, Vice President Human Resources

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) annual conference offers an array of valuable information, training, education and networking opportunities to help human resource and business leaders enhance, encourage and remain abreast of best practices and compliance.

Diversity
Diversity was a major topic of discussion. “The way forward is less about individual policies and program and more about culture and commitment. It’s about choosing and building inclusion,” according to Kathy Martinez, former Assistant Secretary of Labor Disability Employment Policy, DOL.

The conference provided some excellent recommendations for employers to consider:

      • An inclusive organization is a welcoming place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. So work hard at maintaining this type of environment.
      • Be proactive about acknowledging that people are different and have different talents to bring to the table. Appreciate those differences.
      • Make sure that policies are a direct reflection and consistent with current federal, state and local discrimination guidelines.
      • Embrace diversity as diverse groups tend to have better problem-solving skills and have more of a creative ability together.
      • Diversity educates and exposes numerous ethnic differences that can be beneficial to the organization, so encourage it.
      • Consider employees who may feel like an outsider and take steps to address this.

Mindset
Every organization represents many minds, but what mindset is your culture building? Some suggestions for a successful organization include:

      • Strive to keep a positive mindset despite challenges. Remember that if you live for people’s acceptance, you will not continue to thrive when you are rejected. And rejection will happen.
      • Demonstrate a positive mindset and then remember that no one is perfect. If you feel that you are somebody when you are successful, then what are you when you are not?  Always believe in yourself and your capabilities.
      • Appreciate accomplishments, but don’t forget to admire the effort.
      • Always have a humble mindset. Being humble creates an environment of trust and respect.
      • Have a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset. Never let a setback or negative talk from someone groom your confidence and intelligence.

Humility may be a virtue, but it’s also a competitive advantage. Research from the University of Washington Foster School of Business shows that humble people are more likely to be high performers in individual and team settings and tend to make more effective leaders. Humility has a direct connection to higher levels of engagement and less turnover.

Finance Fund embraces diversity and a mindset of positivity in all of our endeavors. After all, among our values is the statement that “we believe that people are important”. Our work in underserved communities, and our interactions with each other support that value every day.  You can discover more about Finance Fund and Finance Fund Capital Corporation at our website.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
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