The Bottom LineThe Bottom Line

Economics in Brief: George Floyd’s Family Is Paying It Forward

Plus, a foundation says land acknowledgements are not enough.

George Floyd Memorial Artwork on the side of a brick building

(Photo by Jéan Béller / Unsplash)

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George Floyd’s Family Is Paying It Forward

The family of George Floyd has announced the opening of the application process for its Ward 8 Community Benevolence Fund, the Black Wall Street Times reports. In March 2021, about a year after a police officer killed Floyd by kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes, his family reached a $27 million settlement from the city of Minneapolis. They set aside $500,000 to establish the fund, which will support businesses and community organizations in the city’s Ward 8 neighborhoods.

“What we hope to accomplish first and foremost is to get funds in the hands of those businesses in the Ward 8 community near where George was murdered that were impacted so heavily following George’s murder,” Jeff Storms, an attorney who is president of the fund’s board, told the Sahan Journal. “And we’re also looking to get money in the hands of nonprofits that benefit that area and work in that area.”

Grants will be awarded in the amounts of $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000. But the Floyd family may also grant larger sums.

Feminist Bookstores Provide Space For Community Building

Books are being banned and politicians have attacked women’s and LGBTQ rights. But in the last five years, feminist books stores have served as safe spaces for communities across the U.S.

“Without a feminist bookstore and community spaces, folks comb through books at Barnes and Noble or click through titles on Amazon or watch Netflix at home, alone,” Meagan Lyle, co-founder of the Burdock Book Collective, a feminist bookstore in Birmingham, Alabama, told Ms. Magazine.

The renewed support of feminist bookstores comes decades after these types of retailers flourished. In 1977, there were almost 80 feminist bookstores in the U.S., according to reporting from the San Francisco Chronicle. The newspaper counted 23 of them in 2022.

While numbers have dwindled, some of the stores that thrived in the ‘70s are still around. Take Charis Books & More in Decatur, Georgia, which opened in 1974. “It’s always been about believing that books change lives,” Sara Look, who has worked at Charis since 1994, told the Chronicle.

The Definition Of CFDI May Be Changing

This April will mark the first time the CDFI Fund has made any significant changes to certification requirements for community development financial institutions, Shelterforce reports. The agency has been granting certifications since 1997.

One goal for the updates is to ensure CDFIs are “actually providing mortgages, business loans, bank accounts, and other financial products and services to low-income and underserved communities.”

“This is an important opportunity for the CDFI Fund to really try to maintain the integrity of that certification,” Dafina Williams, an executive vice president at the Opportunity Finance Network, told Shelterforce. “These updates are [also] an acknowledgment that the credential needs to evolve to be able to meet the current capital needs of communities, while also building in enough flexibility for the CDFI industry to continue to grow.”

Moving Beyond Land Acknowledgements

Land acknowledgments have become a norm for some organizations across the U.S. as a way to recognize the history of colonialism in the country. Cris Stainbrook, president of the nationwide Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) and a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, told Sahan Journal that those words are not enough.

“The part that’s always missing is, ‘And here’s what we’re going to do about it,’” Stainbrook said.

Now the ILTF is pushing for more with its Beyond Land Acknowledgement Fund, which provides grant funding to Indian nations that are doing land recovery work “with a focus on reacquiring alienated reservation lands.”

The fund started with seed money in the form of a $250,000 check from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, a 118-year-old parish in Minneapolis. The foundation continues to urge Minnesotans to help its cause.

“Look at where these acknowledgements are done,” Stainbrook said. “A lot of them could actually do something without even putting up money. They could actually return land.”

Bonus reads:

  • “The Wall Street Bet Behind Ithaca’s Green New Deal” by New York Focus

  • “Laid-Off Foreign Tech Workers Are Set to Find New Jobs in Chicago” by Bloomberg Citylab

This article is part of The Bottom Line, a series exploring scalable solutions for problems related to affordability, inclusive economic growth and access to capital. Click here to subscribe to our Bottom Line newsletter.

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Deonna Anderson is Next City's editorial director. An award-winning journalist, she has served as a senior editor at GreenBiz and worked with YES! Magazine, KLCC (an NPR affiliate station in Eugene, Oregon), The Lily, Atmos and other media outlets. Anderson is an alumna of the University of California, Davis and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. She lives in the Bay Area. She was also Next City's 2017-2018 Equitable Cities Reporting Fellow. Follow her on Twitter @iamDEONNA.

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Tags: minneapoliscdfi fundcdfisindigenous peopleminnesotapolice violence

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