Get to know CRF’s board members by reading our Board Member Spotlight series! Check out this ongoing series to learn more about each member, including why they joined the board, what goals they have for CRF and what they do for fun.
Do you work for another organization? Where do you work? How would you describe your current role?
I am the Founder and CEO of Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit CDFI based in Providence, RI that offers small-dollar personal loans to low-income families in seven states.
Tell us a little about yourself and your experiences. How did this experience lead to your passion for economic justice?
I grew up in Los Angeles and led a pretty normal, middle-class life until I went to college, and, as a freshman, became involved in anti-war activism. In particular, my opposition to the war in Iraq opened my eyes to a whole host of issues, including climate change, environmental justice, and poverty. The more I learned about the experiences of BIPOC and immigrant families and communities, the more determined I became to be part of the solution and not exacerbate the problem. I started Capital Good Fund in 2009 in the wake of the Great Recession because I was shocked to see how predatory lenders like payday lenders were taking advantage of people’s financial devastation; I also saw an opportunity to use financial services to address poverty and climate change through green lending.
Why were you interested in serving on the CRF Board of Trustees?
CRF’s work complements my own: the organization uses financial services to further the goal of economic justice, but in a different way. Where Capital Good Fund focuses on small-dollar personal loans, CRF operates in other areas of importance, including small business lending. Moreover, I have always admired CRF for being both a pioneer in the CDFI space and an ongoing leader and innovator. Lastly, the organization’s focus on racial equity aligns closely with my personal values and professional goals.
What goals do you have for CRF?
I want to see CRF continue to grow, innovate, and change lives–reshaping the CDFI sector, expanding access to credit, and creating economic opportunity for millions of families.
Where do you see opportunities for CRF or others to help create a more equitable economy for all?
I’ve been thinking a lot about public policy lately, how many big businesses use their power to craft legislation that is often at odds with the work we do in the nonprofit sector. And so I think organizations like CRF can play an increasingly important role in leveraging our voice to speak on behalf of those we serve so as to ensure the passage of legislation that is empowers and uplifts disadvantaged people and communities.
What other causes do you support?
I am very active in immigrant rights and climate change activism. I also donate a lot to progressive political causes, organizations doing frontline work on climate change, and also international nonprofits like Give Directly that are addressing global poverty.
What do you do for fun?
I am an avid cyclist and poet, and enjoy nothing more than reading a good book while sipping a cup of coffee.