Episode 05: Inclusion in Impact Lending

Ami Pascual Spear joins the Impact Lenders Podcast to discuss inclusion in the impact lending industry.  As a past founder, employee, and current board member of various impact lending institutions, Ami has broad experience in the field that she draws on as she discusses the importance of inclusion and how the industry could improve.  Ami’s social justice perspective and grounding in the practicalities of what works will provide direction and inspiration for listeners.  In this discussion, we cover inclusion in staffing, in defining problems and finding solutions, and in using tools like community advisory boards.

Today’s Guest:

Ami Pascual Spear is currently a board member for LURN, a Los Angeles-based community development organization with a mission to bring people together to design, build and promote sustainable communities. She is also the Regional Director of Philanthropy at Mercy Housing California, a nonprofit affordable housing developer that has created and preserved service-enriched homes for more than 18,000 low-income people and families throughout the state. Prior to joining Mercy Housing, Ami directed a program, recruited new Community Advisory Board members, sourced and helped underwrite real estate loans at Genesis L.A., a CDFI. She was also an organizational and fund development consultant to various social, economic and environmental justice nonprofits throughout Southern California, raising over $4.7 million in capital and funding for programs.

Ami was the founding executive director of the South of Market (SoMa) Foundation in San Francisco, a community economic development corporation, where she designed two SBA and San Francisco Redevelopment Agency-guaranteed loan programs, delivered technical assistance and business planning services to women-owned, minority entrepreneurs and incubated a GIS-based space locator software service for businesses displaced by rising rents. While at the SoMa Foundation, later renamed Urban Solutions, Ami operated a sidewalk steam cleaning and mural production social enterprise, SoMa Steam Clean, which trained and employed formerly homeless youth and adults.

Ami has a Masters in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley and a Bachelor in Arts in English and American Literature from UCLA. She is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship on leadership and democracy.

Resources Related to This Episode:

The B Corp Inclusive Economy Challenge: www.bcorporation.net/inclusion

LURN: www.lurnetwork.org

Northern California Community Loan Fund: www.ncclf.org

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