Indianapolis invest $1 million toward state’s first Black-led loan fund

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The city of Indianapolis is investing 1 million dollars towards Indiana’s first black-led loan fund.

“The pandemic hits and Black-owned businesses across the country were disproportionately affected by the economic fallout,” said Jeff Bennett, Deputy Mayor of Community Development.

The city of Indianapolis is now allocating $1 million dollars of American Rescue Plan funds to create the state’s first ever community development financial institution loan fund, or CDFI.

“The intention of this loan fund is to be a permanent institution, not only in Indianapolis, but in the state,” said Marshawn Wolley, president and CEO Black Onyx Management.

Wolley says the fund will target lending to Black businesses.

“You’re going to have Black-led business serving organizations taking a second look at black businesses and saying, ‘Lets think about how we can make something work,’” Wolley said.

Research shows Black businesses are denied loans by banks more than twice the rate as white businesses.

“This is something that could be very impactful and important,” Wolley said.

“I think it helps our city begin to even the playing field for Black-owned businesses and Black communities across the city,” Bennett said.

Once the funding is approved, board members will meet to hire a CEO and CDFI consultant. 

“Everyone should be able to apply once the loan is fully setup and funded,” Wolley said.

City leaders say the loan fund will not only grow a significant component of local business climate, but provide new opportunities for communities of color.  

“We really hope that it’s hope,” Wolley said. “That someone understands, someone cares.”

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