Partner Spotlight: California Rebuilding Fund

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The COVID-19 shock to California’s economy has been deep and pervasive, hitting both small towns and large cities across the state. One of the hardest hit segments of the economy has been the small business community. These smaller, community-based businesses – many led by women and people of color or based in vulnerable communities – were already working to overcome decades of discrimination and lack of access to affordable capital; vulnerabilities that have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the related economic impact.

Launched in November 2020, the California Rebuilding Fund is a public-private partnership that aggregates funding from private, philanthropic, and public sector resources – including an anchor commitment from the State of California’s Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (“IBank”) – to address the capital and advisory needs of California small businesses as they reopen and recover from the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. The Fund was formed under the leadership of Laura D’Andrea Tyson, Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School at U.C. Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, former Clinton White House cabinet member and former Chair of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

This effort targets the smallest of small businesses – those with fewer than 50 employees – and has a goal of reaching historically under-resourced communities. The program’s first close of nearly $50 million included commitments from national banks, foundations, and the IBank. We are now seeking additional commitments to scale the Fund to serve over 10,000 small businesses.

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