UCSF Launches Community Investment Program to Support Housing and Minority-Owned Small Businesses

3-year pilot program strengthens UCSF’s grounding initiative to address health equity through community economic support

By Lorna Fernandes

UC San Francisco created its first community investment pilot program, with a $ 5 million investment for four Bay Area financial intermediary partners to provide housing assistance, jobs and loans to small businesses to community members and local minority-owned businesses in San Francisco and East Bay. .

The Community Investment Pilot Project is part of the UCSF Anchor Establishment Initiative, launched in 2019 by UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, to leverage the university’s position as a premier health care provider and employer in the Bay Area to promote health equity for underserved and underfunded communities in the region. .

The Community Investment Pilot Project, which is the first such program in the entire University of California system, is a three-year funding commitment for ASIAN Inc .; REDF Impact Investment Fund; Pacific Community Ventures and San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund. The four groups were selected based on their financial situation, as well as their close ties to businesses and community members who face structural barriers to economic opportunity opportunities. These four organizations will use the funding to provide low-interest microloans directly to eligible applicants in their communities.

“These partners are taking the pulse of the needs of their communities,” said Francesca Vega, UCSF vice-chancellor for community and government relations, who oversees the Anchor Institution Initiative. “They were selected for their history and experience in providing economic support in the form of microcredits for housing, employment and small business development. They have proven that they are making a difference in their communities and explained how UCSF’s contribution will improve their services.

  • Receiving $ 1 million through the UCSF Community Investment Pilot Project, ASIAN Inc., a San Francisco-based community development organization that supports the capital needs of socio-economically disadvantaged communities, will issue 5,000 to $ 50,000 in seed funding for qualifying housing projects. , minority entrepreneurs and low to moderate income minority business owners.
  • The San Francisco-based REDF Impact Investing Fund (RIIF) will receive $ 1 million to issue short-term loans of $ 75,000 to $ 500,000 to businesses that employ and equip people overcoming barriers to work, such as people recently incarcerated, who have experienced homelessness or who are living with a mental illness.
  • Oakland-based Pacific Community Ventures will receive $ 1.5 million to help launch its Oakland Restorative Loan Fund, which provides 0% no-fee small business loans to entrepreneurs often excluded from the traditional financial system. The Oakland Restorative Loan Fund can help fight gentrification and displacement, and support business owners as state and federal grant programs begin to end.
  • The San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund receives $ 1.5 million to fight affordable housing and homelessness in San Francisco and Oakland.

Wylie Liu, executive director of UCSF’s Center for Community Engagement and Anchor Institutions Initiative, said the timing was critical.

“It was imperative that we get this pilot project going before Thanksgiving,” she said, “so that eligible Bay Area business owners could take advantage of this funding as they prepare for a season. a busy vacation. ”

The program will be overseen by the UCSF Community Investment Sub-Committee, which includes the financial leadership of UCSF as well as external members from Bay Area organizations including PolicyLink, the Mission Economic Development Agency. , the SF Federal Reserve Bank and the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities. Initiative.

The three-year loans, which are backed by UCSF reserve funds, will be repaid to UCSF at an annual interest rate of 1% by the four pre-approved financial intermediaries.

The University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) focuses exclusively on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health around the world through advanced biomedical research, higher education in the sciences of life and health professions and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as the primary academic medical center for UCSF, includes specialty hospitals and other leading clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area.

Jill E. Washington