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Monday, Jun 17, 2024

Black Business Matters – How the Black Cooperative Investment Fund Makes a Meaningful Impact

The Black Cooperative Investment Fund is a 501(c)3, community-based organization that provides microloans to Black Americans through pooled dollars and raises awareness about the importance of economic empowerment, equity, and wealth building for the Black American community, with a specific focus on communities in the Southern California Region.

Launched in 2017, BCIF works with all individuals, foundations, and corporations interested in raising capital, through pooled dollars, in an urgent effort to stimulate and activate Black American owned businesses within Southern California.

Robert Lewis, BCIF’s President and Board Chair, spearheads this action-oriented effort along with an active board of directors, to create long-lasting, tangible change not charity.

BCIF recognizes the importance of economic empowerment for the Black American community. The board, donors, and community of supporters believe economic power is the primary path toward financial freedom, ownership, and footing within the business landscape.

The success of BCIF is solely dependent upon like-minded people investing their dollars to build up our communities, make entrepreneurial dreams become realities, and, for existing businesses, provide needed capital to sustain and scale their business, create jobs, and build financial assets

BCIF provides microloans ranging between $5,000 to $20,000. The number of loans deployed is in direct proportion to the support BCIF receives from the community at large.

In these unprecedented times, many people are looking for tangible channels to support those who are most underresourced, Black Americans. To our knowledge, BCIF is the only nonprofit organization of its kind in California, one that is focused on providing direct financial support to Black-owned businesses. Given many of these businesses are routinely denied access to capital, BCIF is often the last hope that Black business owners have to access capital.

Despite entrepreneurship among Black American people increasing, Black American-owned businesses receive disproportionately low funding. Black Americans are almost three times more likely than whites to have profits negatively impacted by access to capital.

BCIF partners with Pacific Coast Regional (PCR) to provide wraparound services to those business owners needing technical assistance, coaching, and other auxiliary services in order to become more attractive to lenders. BCIF and PCR also have a matching loan agreement to leverage funds for Black-owned businesses.

BCIF hosts a Salon Series to raise capital and awareness. Our salon series features Black American entrepreneurs from a diverse pool of business sectors serving to amplify the mission of BCIF. The BCIF Salon Series is a time to connect with extraordinarily successful business owners, meet and fellowship with people from the community, and, most importantly, raise money to recycle funds back into the community.

Several members/donors host private fundraisers in their homes to raise money through their network of friends and family. These efforts directly benefit applicants to BCIF.

Our annual goal is to raise $500,000. At full scale, BCIF can provide 24 to 36 microloans annually.

We invite you to consider making a donation today to be a part of substantive change, not merely charity.

Melanie Mack is Vice Chair of the BCIF. For more information, visit bcifund.org.

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