Building Lives for an Economy Struggling Society
Investing in Communities by the BLOCK
"None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because of somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns –
bent down and helped us pick up our boots" -- Thurgood Marshall
Displacement has lasting impacts on physical and psychological well-being, community cohesion, and long-term economic mobility. Moreover, when low-income people of color are displaced from communities by rising housing prices, patterns of re-segregation emerge, perpetuating racial inequity. BLESS’ vision is to invest and create affordable housing, where people of all levels of income have the opportunity to thrive.
In an effort to better ensure that local community businesses truly reflect their city’s diversity and that minority businesses are able to participate in growth and revitalization efforts, BLESS is focusing on launching an Equitable Community Business Initiative. Charting a new path toward inclusive economic opportunity, this program will combine our local knowledge, partnerships, and key strengths – including program design and project financing – to support minority businesses to grow their business and support communities.
While diversity is positive in many ways, the struggle to educate large classrooms of children with varying language proficiency and socioeconomic backgrounds is challenging. Poor families, black students and Hispanic English-language learners have been found to benefit from a charter school education. BLESS plans to deliver both the capital and commitment to support and grow strong charter schools within the targeted communities.
My vision is to break down the barriers that communities experiencing historical disinvestment and systemic racism find between themselves and their goals. Knowing the barriers these issues create, through BLESS, I promise to focus on integrating equity more deeply within our strategy, as well as the very framework of our organization.
- Rickey -