FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LB Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI) Launches “In This Together” COVID-19 Emergency Response Program Targeting Long Beach’s Most Vulnerable Communities
Nonprofit Community Development Corporation Tackles Equity Barriers During Pandemic with $200K of Relief Funds from Bridge Development Partners, in Partnership with Wells Fargo and the Office of Long Beach Councilmember Rex Richardson
Long Beach—–April 20, 2020—–As the COVID-19 crisis impacts local businesses and residents, the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI) is launching the “In This Together” emergency response project. The nonprofit’s Board of Directors authorized an emergency response plan to direct $250,000 of program funding primarily from Bridge Development Partners, along with funding from Wells Fargo and the Office of Councilmember Rex Richardson to support under-served families and underrepresented small businesses North, Central and West Long Beach, beginning Monday, April 20th. Additional funding partners include United Way, LISC-LA and the Long Beach Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. Funds will support In This Together partner agencies in their community crisis relief efforts.
In This Together will expand opportunities in neighborhoods where the racial income gap and economic barriers are evident, to help them overcome the current pandemic crisis. To alleviate added pressures the pandemic has added, LBCEI’s emergency response programming will increase access to, and awareness of, available resources provided by LBCEI’s partner organizations that address four key areas of support: food security, digital inclusion, small business support, and HUD-Certified housing counseling.
- FOOD SECURITY – Partner Organic Harvest Gardens in North Long Beach will deliver fresh, local food to low-income homebound seniors across the city, free of cost. Eight additional food assistance programs at community-based sites will also be supported by LBCEI.
- DIGITAL INCLUSION – In partnership with Human-I-T, LBCEI will provide more than 300 laptops to bridge the digital divide for low income families enrolled in YMCA Early Childhood and Youth Institute programs, Long Beach City College students, as well as other partner nonprofit organizations.
- SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT – LBCEI is partnering with “Business Navigators” who will extend the efforts of the City’s Economic Development Department by reaching out to underrepresented small businesses in North, Central and West Long Beach.
- HUD-CERTIFIED HOUSING COUNSELING – And, a “Housing Support Hotline” to provide counseling for residents dealing with COVID-19 housing challenges will be announced soon.
Board Chair Bob Cabeza described, “We just held our first board meeting in March, then recognized the urgency to pivot programming so that we can help build resiliency in the face of the current crisis. And, we’ve just launched our website in a matter of days at lbcei.org to provide resources to our community.” He shared, “Equity will always be our focus. We will direct our economic development resources primarily to our city’s neighborhoods with the greatest need, while still supporting our mission.”
“We applaud LBCEI for their instinct to be responsive to today’s unique challenges, in order to create a more resilient, inclusive, vibrant community that can overcome this crisis. That commitment to positive transformation matches our values, making them an ideal partner for Bridge Development,” expressed Brian Wilson of Bridge Development Partners.
“At this unprecedented time, Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion is providing critical services, such as food, housing, and small business, in communities that are most impacted, yet among those most underserved. We appreciate the efforts of philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, and the City, and are humbled by what we could do together,” said Linda Nguyen of Wells Fargo.
“We are proud of LBCEI and the #InThisTogether initiative, focused on bringing together valuable community-based organizations that are on the front line to ensure diverse communities and businesses have a seat at the table,” said 9th District Councilmember Rex Richardson. “Together we can continue to provide opportunities for our neighbors to thrive.”
Cabeza added, “We are grateful that our partners are completely in-tuned with our redirection and understand the long-term community benefits of an equitable economy. For our nonprofit to be able to build capacity and opportunities, we will depend on solid partnerships with groups like Bridge Development and Wells Fargo, who value social responsibility. We believe our smartest approach to building a thriving economy is to work together to break down barriers to opportunity, because we are all in this together.”
Residents and businesses should visit lbcei.org/inthistogether for resources and information about response efforts provided by partnering agencies.
About the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI)
The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI) is a new nonprofit Community Development Corporation (CDC) with a mission to expand inclusive economic opportunities to build and sustain wealth for all communities in Long Beach. We envision a Long Beach where entrepreneurs, youth, workers, and individuals have the tools and opportunities to successfully build vibrant neighborhoods, successful businesses, and healthy, resilient families. Our programs focus on entrepreneurship and small business support, workforce and youth development, affordable housing and homeownership, economic resiliency/connectedness.
LBCEI emerged from the City of Long Beach’s 2017 “Everyone In” Economic Inclusion Plan, an award-winning initiative that was unanimously approved by the Long Beach City Council, led by a core group of community partners including the Office of Long Beach City Councilmember Rex Richardson, the “Everyone In” Implementation Committee, Long Beach Community Action Partnership, Wells Fargo, and the City of Long Beach. The comprehensive plan recommended the establishment of a Community Development Corporation, which was also unanimously approved in 2019. By 2020, the groundwork for the nonprofit was laid by the CDC Working Group, a cross-sector collaborative of community members who participated in the foundational visioning process and organizational development of LBCEI.
Web Site: lbcei.org
Social: Facebook: @lbeconomicinclusion / Twitter: @lb_cei / Instagram: @lbeconomicinclusion / #inthistogether
About Bridge Development Partners
Bridge Development Partners is one of the top industrial developers in the United States, creatively transforming more than $5 billion of industrial sites into thriving, environmentally sustainable commercial centers that drive economic growth in California and across the country. In Southern California, the Bridge Development team is working on projects in Long Beach, Torrance, Rialto, Upland, among others. For more information, visit Bridgedev.com.
Jeff Williams, LBCEI Interim Director at [email protected] or 562.336.1833 -or- Melissa Morgan, Communications Lead at 515.999.6356
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