Community Development Corporation Thrown Into Coronavirus Fray

The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion formed in early March, a careful construct out of the Everyone In equity efforts.

Plans called for a ramp-up period to consider different  programs that would have the most impact, then begin putting them in place.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“We were incorporated in March, and thought we might have some programs start by June,” said Bob Cabeza, chair of the LBCEI board and recently retired vice president for community development for the Long Beach Area YMCA. “Then in one go we had to get up to warp speed. We made the decision to really invest in the low income community of color, where the need was immediate.”

Cabeza, his board and interim executive director Jeff Williams looked for where programs could start immediately. They decided to focus on three areas — food needs, lack of technology and help to small businesses.

LBCEI was an outgrowth of the Everyone In equity effort started by Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson, who got approval from the entire City Council to move forward with initiatives. LBCEI is the community development corporation designed to help underrepresented families and small businesses in north, central and west Long Beach.

A budget of $250,000 was set for the #InThisTogether campaign, LBCEI’s response to the pandemic emergency. The money came from Wells Fargo Bank, BRIDGE Development Partners and Richardson’s office. Once the campaign started, United Way, LISC-LA and the Long Beach Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund offered more financial support.

“We partnered with community nonprofits to work on the food security issue,” Cabeza said. “We helped a lot of small business owners fill out grant forms and the like. And we focused on seniors who were isolated and in need of food.”

A partnership with nine churches and nonprofits beefed up a chain of nine food pantries to serve those in need. LBCEI worked with Food Finders and other sources to increase the amount of food available.

At the same time, a partnership with Organic Harvest Gardens allowed delivery of produce and staples to more than 300 home-bound seniors. The United Cambodian Community and Heart of Ida help there.

Williams said in an email that work has begun to make these programs sustainable over a longer period of time.

Cabeza gets passionate when he talks about efforts to help small businesses — especially those owned by Blacks and other minorities.

“It’s in our name — economic inclusion for all,” he said. “We focus on the small, mom and pop stores. This will take you to the underbelly of Long Beach, the poverty that’s the reality for many… The city has to change, to move resources to address these issues.

“Study history, and you’ll see that Black, (Asian), Brown people have been shut out of the White economy. It’s a matter of generational wealth. We can only change that with education and resources. These people need a leg up.”

In addition to helping owners apply for government grants, LBCEI has created a Small Business Navigators program to coach owners with business plans, information and marketing. A Kiva loan fund has been created to offer micro-loans to those needing help through the COVID-19 crisis, and a special focus on more than 150 small businesses in north Long Beach has been carried out.

Another initiative specifically targets barber shops and hair salons. These small businesses have had an especially hard time surviving the shutdown, and again are owned almost exclusively by minorities.

Finally, LBCEI has donated 200 laptop computers to families and students who otherwise would not have access to technology. The agency also is advocating for lower cost internet access.

“We wanted to help those college kids living in cars,” Cabeza said. “We work with those who are going to college despite poverty. Education is their way out, and we want to help them.”

For more information about LBCEI, its programs or to get involved, go to lbcei.org.

Source: https://www.gazettes.com/news/business/community-development-corporation-thrown-into-coronavirus-fray/article_a9886558-bae1-11ea-83e6-4f2631b9cb6d.html

Long Beach Economic Inclusion Center, newly formed, adapts quickly to help people overcome coronavirus

LONG BEACH

The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion faced a test with life-or-death consequences almost as soon as it formed — and has so far, it seems, succeeded.

The center, which grew out of the Everyone In Economic Inclusion Implementation Plan that the City Council approved last year, incorporated in March; its ultimate goal is to launch programs that would create equity in Long Beach, a city that has long seen disparities in various quality-of-life indicators — income, health, technology access —  between the white population and people of color, especially the Black community.

The organization’s initial plan was to have a ramp-up period to consider which programs would have the most impact before putting them in place. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

So the center adapted. It nixed the ramp-up, decided to focus its efforts on reducing food insecurity, improving technology and helping small businesses — hit hard when the stay-at-home orders forced all non-essential businesses to close in an effort to stem the spread of the virus — in low-income communities of color. The center’s #InThisTogether campaign began with a $250,000 budget and has so far helped increase supplies at nine food pantries, provided healthy meals to 300 home-bound seniors, donated laptops to low-income students and helped small businesses apply for government assistance.

“In one go, we had to get up to warp speed,” said Bob Cabeza, chair of the LBCEI board. “We made the decision to really invest in the low income community of color, where the need was immediate.”

Once the pandemic changed the center’s plans, Cabeza, his board and interim Executive Director Jeff Williams worked on securing money to help fund programs they could get off the ground quickly. Money came in from Wells Fargo Bank, BRIDGE Development Partners and the office of Ninth District Councilmember Rex Richardson, who led the creation of the Everyone In plan, which was largely designed to help underrepresented families in north, central and west Long Beach.

Once the #InThisTogether campaign started, United Way, LISC-LA and the Long Beach Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund offered more financial support.

Then, the real work began.

“We partnered with community nonprofits to work on the food security issue,” Cabeza said. “We helped a lot of small business owners fill out grant forms and the like. And we focused on seniors who were isolated and in need of food.”

The LBCEI also worked with the nonprofit Food Finders and other sources to increase the amount of food available at various food pantries and partnered with Organic Harvest Gardens to deliver produce and staples to more than 300 seniors.

Now, the center has begun working to make those programs sustainable over the long term, Williams, the center’s executive director, said in an email.

Cabeza became passionate when he talked about efforts to help small businesses — especially those owned by Blacks and other minorities.

“It’s in our name — economic inclusion for all,” he said. “We focus on the small mom-and-pop stores. This will take you to the underbelly of Long Beach, the poverty that’s the reality for many.

“The city has to change,” Cabeza added, “to move resources to address these issues.”

The center has also helped small-business owners apply for government grants, and created a Small Business Navigators program to help owners come up with business plans, and perform marketing. A loan fund has also been created to offer micro-loans to those needing help during the coronavirus pandemic.

LBCEI’s third goal, narrowing the technology gap, has so far included donating 200 laptops to families and students who couldn’t otherwise afford them. The agency is also advocating for lower-cost internet access.

“We wanted to help those college kids living in cars,” Cabeza said. “We work with those who are going to college despite poverty. Education is their way out, and we want to help them.”

Source: https://www.presstelegram.com/2020/07/01/long-beach-economic-inclusion-center-newly-formed-adapts-quickly-to-help-people-overcome-coronavirus/

Nine new food pantries set to open across Long Beach to serve vulnerable communities

SIGNAL TRIBUNE | May 11, 2020

In an effort to help feed people during the ongoing health crisis, nine new food pantries will be opening across Long Beach.

On Monday, May 11, the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI) announced that it will be working with Councilmember Rex Richardson and Food Finders to open the pantries as part of its “In This Together Long Beach” emergency initiative.

“We are very excited to help add additional pantries in much needed areas in Long Beach,” Diana Lara, Food Finders Executive Director, said in a press release.

“We will provide as much nonperishable and perishable food as we can for these pantries so they can help residents that live in food desert areas that don’t have grocery stores nearby.”

According to a press release, the ongoing pandemic has seen a number of food pantries close– limiting access to fresh, healthy food for many neighborhoods.

The pantries will offer weekly distributions of food, and some will offer additional food services, such as to-go meals.

The new initiative will partner with religious organizations across Long Beach to set up locations across North, West, Central and Downtown Long Beach.

NORTH LONG BEACH:
• Pools of Hope – Thursdays from 2pm-4pm and Saturdays from 11am-1pm at 6801 Long Beach Boulevard
• Church One Ministries – Mondays-Fridays from 11am-1pm at 700 70th Street
• Light and Life Christian Fellowship – Mondays from 12pm-1pm at 5951 Downey Avenue
• North Long Beach Prayer Center – Fridays from 7am-1:30pm at 5239 Atlantic Avenue

CENTRAL LONG BEACH:
• Grant A.M.E. Church – Wednesdays from 9am-2pm at 1129 Alamitos Avenue

WEST LONG BEACH:
• Fountain of Life Covenant Church – Thursdays from 9am-3pm at 2060 Santa Fe Avenue

DOWNTOWN LONG BEACH:
• Urban Community Outreach* – Sundays from 1:30-3pm at 241 Cedar Avenue
• Christian Outreach in Action* – Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-12pm at 515 E 3rd Street
*To-Go meals are also offered at this site

LBCEI and Food Finders plan to stock each pantry with fresh and frozen produce, protein sources and meat, shelf-stable food and dried goods.

Due to the pandemic, Food Finders is expecting to provide an additional three million pounds of food to Southern California residents compared to last year.

To donate, residents can visit Food Finders at 10539 Humboldt St. in Los Alamitos be tween 8am-5pm. To volunteer, visit www.foodfinders.org or look for their volunteer app on any app store.

To find out more about LBCEI and “In This Together” visit lbcei.org/inthistogether.

Source: https://signaltribunenewspaper.com/49090/community/nine-new-food-pantries-set-to-open-across-long-beach-to-serve-vulnerable-communities/

Coalition, Churches Partner To Create Food Pantry Network

THE GRUNYON / GAZETTES.COM | By Harry Saltzgaver | May 11, 2020

A new partnership spearheaded by the Center for Economic Inclusion and relying on area churches has created a network of food pantries in the poorer parts of Long Beach.

Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson announced the coalition last week while promoting a one-time food distribution that took place last Saturday at Jordan High School in north Long Beach. That distribution had people in cars lined up literally for miles, demonstrating the need for food, Richardson said.

In his announcement Richardson said he worked with council members Roberto Uranga (Seventh District) and Mary Zendejas (First  District) to create the coalition. Partners include Food Finders, the Ninth District Council Office and the Center for Economic Inclusion. It is part of the #InThisTogether initiative, Richardson said.

The partnership covers parts of north, west, central and downtown Long Beach, and food was available beginning Monday, May 11. Each pantry is open on a different day, so people needing food can find some every day of the week.

Three of the sites also offer full meals to go. Details can be found at lbcei.org.

The pantries are at:

• Awaken Ministries, 2426 Santa Fe Ave. 10:30 a.m.-noon Wednesdays, 562-363-6457.

• Fountain of Life Covenant Church, 2060 Santa Fe Ave., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursdays, 562-308-6781.

• Church One Ministries*. 700 70th St., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday, 562-633-2515.

• Light and Life Christian Fellowship, 5951 downey Ave., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays, 562-630-6074.

• Pools of Hope, 6801 Long Beach Blvd., 2-4 p.m. Thursdays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, 310-537-2224.

• North Long Beach Ministry Center, Inc., 5239 Atlantic Ave., 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Fridays, 562-422-5090.

• Grant A.M.E. Church, 1129 Alamitos Ave., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays, 562-437-1567.

• Urban Community Outreach*, 241 Cedar Ave., 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sundays, 562-582-1000.

• Christian Outreach In Action*, 515 E. Third St., 9 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and Thursdays, 562-432-1440.

* Serving full meals.

Source: https://www.gazettes.com/entertainment/nonprofits/coalition-churches-partner-to-create-food-pantry-network/article_271661b6-93cb-11ea-b081-ef7cba7ea9ac.html

Initiative to Bring Resources to Hard Hit Areas

LONG BEACH LEADER / PRECINCT REPORTER NEWS | By Dianne Anderson | April 30, 2020

While everyone waits for the go-ahead to return to their new normal, #InThisTogetherLongBeach recently jumpstarted its emergency response campaign of the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion.

The nonprofit LBCEI is rising through the pandemic crisis to help support the community and local businesses and underserved areas of the city. Recently, they held their first board meeting to brainstorm ways of getting essential services and economic help out to those most in need.

Melissa Morgan, spokesperson for the nonprofit, said it became clear that something needed to be done over and above their original focus in light of Covid-19.

LBCEI quickly shifted focus, putting more energy behind essential services and economic opportunities.

They are bringing nonprofits, and community-based organizations together to work with one another through the initiative. To help the hard-hit communities of North, West, and Central Long Beach, $250,000 of funding for allocation is coming from several supporting partners, including Wells Fargo and Bridge Development.

“We’re looking at food security, digital inclusion, and ways to support small businesses and help for people with housing counseling and how to stay in their homes, at their property, or if they’re renting,” she said.

The nonprofit campaign was born out of an initiative with Councilman Rex Richardson and the city’s economic development department. For over two years, they’ve been listening to community concerns to determine persistent areas of need. From there, they engaged community partners around economic equity.

The initiative started in 2017 as EveryoneIn, which included implementing the Community Development Corporation for LBCEI. The nonprofit targets community partner agencies, and other nonprofits to get funding out to local organizations that are already working hard to help the impacted communities.

Morgan said they are still in the process of determining the most pressing areas of need to be able to deploy the resources.

“You have young people that need to be in school but they may not have a computer, they need the internet. Seniors may not be able to go to the grocery store and get food,” she said.

Other priorities include helping Black-owned businesses and hair salons to access support that may be available to them from various sources.

“How are the small businesses doing? What are their needs? Are they trying to operate right now are they aware of the laws? What kind of support to apply for some funding that the government has let out so in the future they can pick up business again,” she said.

Another important aspect of their outreach includes addressing food insecurity. She said there is a great little known organic food garden in North Long Beach that is partnering to provide fresh local food to the community.

“They’ve been growing and we’re helping them deliver it to low-income seniors across the city for free. We’re focusing on seniors. We’re giving about 200 boxes a week in the coming weeks,” she said.

Particularly these days, digital inclusion is essential for all. The nonprofit is partnering with the local nonprofit Human-I-T to give out laptops that can help bridge the digital divide. It is focused on Long Beach City College students.

Housing counseling is their fourth focus area. The outreach will also offer a housing support hotline to provide counseling to residents who are now dealing with the aftermath of Covid19 challenges, such as late rental or mortgage payments.

Eventually, the initiative will shift back to its original focus that had offered several other community development plans. But for now, addressing the pandemic impact to the community is taking precedence, she said.

They are excited to help the people where they are, especially in these challenging times.

“We’ll always be working with small businesses, entrepreneurship support, workforce and youth development, affordable housing and homeownership, economic resiliency, and connectedness,” she said.

For more information, see lbcei.org

Source: https://www.precinctreporter.com/2020/04/30/initiative-to-bring-resources-to-hard-hit-areas/

Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion starts ‘In This Together’ program to support vulnerable communities during pandemic

SIGNAL TRIBUNE | Staff Report | April 21, 2020

The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI) is launching the “In This Together” emergency response project that will focus on improving access to food security, digital inclusion, small-business support and HUD-Certified housing counseling in low income and minority communities during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an April 20 press release by LBCEI.

LBCEI’s Board of Directors decided to give $250,000 of program funding, mostly from Bridge Development Partners, to support families and small businesses in north, central and west Long Beach beginning Monday, April 20.

“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,” Brian Wilson of Bridge Development Partners said.

Additional funding for the program is being provided by Wells Fargo, United Way, Local Initiatives Support Committee-LA and the Long Beach Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the Office of 9th District Councilmember Rex Richardson.

“We are proud of LBCEI and the In This Together 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,” 9th District Councilmember Rex Richardson said. “Together we can continue to provide opportunities for our neighbors to thrive.”

In This Together aims to help communities with racial income gaps and economic barriers overcome the current health crisis.

To increase food security in vulnerable Long Beach communities LBCEI will support eight additional food assistance programs at community-based sites. LBCEI’s partner Organic Harvest Gardens in North Long Beach will also deliver fresh, locally grown food for free to low-income seniors in Long Beach who cannot leave their homes.

LBCEI will also partner with Human-I-T to provide more than 300 laptops to low income families with students enrolled in the YMCA Early Childhood and Youth Institute programs, Long Beach City College students and other nonprofit partners.

LBCEI will aid underrepresented small businesses in north, central and west Long Beach by partnering with “business navigators,” who will connect them to resources offered by the City’s Economic Development Department.

A “Housing Support Hotline” has also been planned for the near future, to provide advice for Long Beach residents dealing with housing insecurity due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“We are grateful that our partners are completely in-tuned with our redirection,” LBCEI Board Chair Bob Cabeza said, “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.”

Source: https://signaltribunenewspaper.com/48690/community/long-beach-center-for-economic-inclusion-starts-in-this-together-program-to-support-vulnerable-communities-during-pandemic-coronavirus-news/

New Community Development Corporation Allocates $250,000 to pandemic response

LONG BEACH BUSINESS JOURNAL | By Alena Maschke | April 21, 2020

The newly formed Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion is allocating $250,000 to programs focused on food security, digital inclusion, small business support and housing security.

With the help of new funds provided by a number of contributors, including Bridge Development Partners, Wells Fargo and the office of Councilman Rex Richardson, the center announced it will launch its In This Together campaign, to “expand opportunities in neighborhoods where the racial income gap and economic barriers are evident.”

After announcing its board of directors in March, this will be the first act of business for the new community development corporation, which received initial funding from the city of Long Beach and the Wells Fargo Foundation in September. While primarily designed to drive forward economic inclusion, the organization announced it would shift its efforts toward emergency response during the pandemic.

“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,” Board Chair Bob Cabeza said. “Equity will always be our focus. We will direct our economic development resources primarily to our city’s neighborhoods with the greatest need.”

The new program will address four core areas:

Food security

In partnership with Organic Harvest Gardens in North Long Beach, the program will offer delivery of 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.

Digital inclusion

Serviced by Long Beach-based nonprofit Human-I-T, the program 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 and other nonprofit partners. 

Small business support

Supported by “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.

Housing security

A housing support hotline to provide HUD-certified counseling for residents dealing with COVID-19 housing challenges will be announced soon, according to a press release.

Source: https://www.lbbusinessjournal.com/new-community-development-corporation-allocates-250000-to-pandemic-response/

Long Beach Economic Inclusion Group Forms Development Corporation

THE GRUNION / GAZETTES.COM | By Harry Saltzgaver | April 3, 2020

An idea first conceived a year ago became reality last week with creation of the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI).

A founding board, led by chair Bob Cabeza, took office and immediately appointed Jeff Williams as the interim director of the agency. Williams is the former executive director of Leadership Long Beach.

The LBCEI is a central component of the Everyone In Economic Inclusion Plan, an effort spearheaded by Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson. It will act as a Community Development Corporation, and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit group providing help to small business owners, workforce development among youth, home ownership and more to make economic opportunity available to more communities.

“With so much economic uncertainty for Long Beach, the timing is right for a Community Development Corporation to step up in ensuring small businesses and working families are a key focus of our relief and recovery efforts,” Richardson said. “I want to thank and congratulate the founding Board of Directors as well as our initial funding partner Wells Fargo Foundation for partnering to launch this important organization.”

Cabeza is the recently retired senior vice president for community development at the Long Beach area YMCA. Other board members are:

• Juan Benitez, Director, CSULB Center for Civic Engagement;

• Rev. Wayne Chaney, Pastor, Antioch Church of Long Beach;

• Sharon Diggs-Jackson, at-risk Youth advocate, retired City of Long Beach;

• Vivian Shimoyama, Founder, Breakthru Solutions (Small Business Advocate);

• Darick Simpson, Director, Miller Foundation, formerly of Long Beach Community Action Partnership.

For more information, email  jeff.williamslbc@gmail.com.

Source: https://www.gazettes.com/news/business/long-beach-economic-inclusion-group-forms-development-corporation/article_0a2216c6-72a7-11ea-9843-d3abc12375cf.html

Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion announces founding Board of Directors

PRESS TELEGRAM | By Hunter Lee | April 2, 2020 

The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion announced the new organization’s founding Board of Directors recently, and with that, also came the announcement of a new resource to help uplift economic development across Long Beach.

The organization’s mission is to expand inclusive economic opportunities to Long Beach residents, focusing on supporting small businesses and entrepreneurship, youth development, housing and home ownership, and economic resiliency.

Chairman Bob Cabeza, former YMCA senior vice president of Community Development, will lead the board.

The rest of the founding directors are:

  • Juan Benitez, director of the CSULB Center for Civic Engagement;
  • Rev. Wayne Chaney of Antioch Church of Long Beach;
  • Sharon Diggs-Jackson, at-risk youth advocate;
  • Vivian Shimoyama, founder of Breakthru Solutions, a small business advocate; and
  • Darick Simpson, director of Miller Foundation and formerly of Long Beach Community Action Partnership.

“This founding board is comprised of amazing individuals who have been doing the real, heavy-lifting work of uplifting small businesses and our low-income families and communities for years,” Cabeza said in a statement late last week. “I am honored to serve alongside these individuals to help put into place an entity that will serve our community for many years to come.”

The organization was established in response to the “Everyone In” Economic Inclusion Implementation Plan, which Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson championed; the plan brought together community stakeholders from across Long Beach to develop a series of recommendations to expand economic opportunity in the city.

“With so much economic uncertainty for Long Beach, the timing is right for a Community Development Corporation to step up in ensuring small businesses and working families are a key focus of our relief and recovery efforts,” Richardson, chairman of the Economic Development Committee, said.

Source: https://www.presstelegram.com/2020/04/02/long-beach-center-for-economic-inclusion-announces-founding-board-of-directors/

New community development corporation shifts focus to coronavirus response

LONG BEACH BUSINESS JOURNAL | By Alena Maschke | April 1, 2020

Less than a month after its first board meeting, a newly-created community development corporation will shift its focus to supporting businesses struggling in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion was created in September, with financial support from the city and the Wells Fargo Foundation, to open up economic opportunities for the city’s underserved communities. 

Launching in the middle of a public health crisis with severe economic impacts, the new organization has temporarily shifted its focus from more general goals like workforce and youth development to immediate emergency assistance for businesses.

The new board has authorized $150,000 to fund efforts aimed at supporting small businesses, assisting with food security, improving digital inclusion and providing housing support services during the crisis. 

“We’re trying to work out the specifics,” Jeff Williams, the corporation’s interim director, said. “It’s all changing very quickly.”

The new board met for the first time on March 11, just days before the city began imposing restrictions on large gatherings and ordering non-essential businesses to close. 

At the moment, the organization is working with the city’s economic development department to identify the needs of community organizations, nonprofits and faith-based communities and create partnerships for the deployment of emergency funds, Williams added. 

Councilman Rex Richardson pushed the development of the new corporation, submitting a request for $125,000 in funds that was approved by the city council in September. The Wells Fargo Foundation has provided an additional grant of $115,000, to help sustain the CDC through its first year.

“With so much economic uncertainty for Long Beach, the timing is right for a community development corporation to step up in ensuring small businesses and working families are a key focus of our relief and recovery efforts,” Richardson said in a press release.

Source: https://www.lbbusinessjournal.com/long-beach-community-development-corporation-launches-amid-crisis/?fbclid=IwAR00lm4sUEluZRkdAC40kwaPulUQu_i1km92vHBx7KNGdmUi5FugX2nJjHg

Carl Kemp

Environmental Health Public Affairs Manager,
LA County Department of Public Health

Carl Kemp is currently the Environmental Health Public Affairs Manager with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and has more than 20 years of experience in communications and public affairs. Prior to joining Public Health, Carl managed his own government affairs and public relations practice with a wide range of clients from international shipping to major non-profits. He also created the Office of Government Affairs and Communication in the City of Long Beach, and went on to create the Office of Government Affairs and Community Relations at the Port of Long Beach.

Kemp has a long history of community involvement in the Long Beach area, including earning a B.A. and MPA from California State University, Long Beach, where he served two terms as student body present. He also has earned a certificate in Executive Leadership from the Harvard University School of Government. He has developed messaging around many major initiatives from local to federal government, including the Green Port Policy at the Port of Long Beach. Over the years, Carl has served on many boards and has been blessed to be involved in numerous initiatives to improve the community and contribute to the people within it.

Carl’s proudest accomplishment is being a father.

VIVIAN SHIMOYAMA

President
Growth Small Business, LLC

Vivian Shimoyama has directed initiatives for public, non-profit, and private sector organizations setting strategic vision, and managing organization growth which resulted in economic impact. She is a recognized expert on small businesses and has advocated for thousands of small business owners through local, state, national and international initiatives. Dedicated to growing small businesses she heads two ventures — Growth Small Business, LLC and is the Chief Operating Officer of Scale Smarter Partners, these firms accelerate business growth through guided tools that allow companies to thrive. She advises and advocates for small businesses in a range of industries with outcomes that lead to opening doors of opportunity for entrepreneurs, strategic positioning, and focus on building operations infrastructure necessary to support growth. 

Most recently, Ms. Shimoyama was the Regional Executive Director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) Initiative for Southern California. She built a regional team and worked with national organizations to create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business and management education program, access to capital, and business advisory support services.

She is the Chair Emeritus of the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board, National Association of Women Business Owners, and NAWBO Education Foundation, and advisor to the California Small Business Education Foundation, and University of Southern California Small Business Supplier Diversity Office. 

As a national and international leader, she has served as an appointee to the National Women’s Business Council, an independent federal government advisory council that advises the President and U.S. Congress on issues important to women owned businesses. Ms. Shimoyama has served as an elected delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business; was a member of the U.S. delegation and facilitator for the landmark 10 Downing Street Economic Summit headed by the U.K. government; U.S. delegate to the Asia-Pacific (APEC) Women and the Economy Summit, bringing together private and public sector leaders for women’s economic empowerment.  

Ms. Shimoyama has been honored by the National Association of Women Business Owners, and received the National Women In Business Advocate Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In 2020, she was selected by the New York Museum of Arts and Design as one of 45 artists that have made significant developments in art jewelry since the mid- century: 45 Stories in Jewelry: 1946 to Now features pieces and jewelry artists in the past eighty years that have broadened the scope and reach of art as a wearable medium. Shimoyama Studio is located in downtown Long Beach where her fused glass artwork is displayed along with her creation The Glass Ceiling Pin that has received national recognition for breaking invisible barriers … glass ceilings.

REV. WAYNE CHANEY

Pastor- Antioch Church, LB

Wayne Chaney personifies the contemporary spiritual leader. He uniquely bridges people from different generations, cultures, and demographics through his relevant teaching and architecture of spirited worship atmospheres. His rich family heritage of clergyman fuels his genuine love for people. He stewards a five-decade legacy left by his grandfather, Joe Chaney, Jr. as he pastors Antioch Church of Long Beach. Wayne’s determination to shift culture is permeated throughout his ministry expression, oratory and brand tentacles.

Wayne has never been satisfied with status quo so whether it is a national television show, radio show, church congregation, regional festival, or by feeding thousands of people every month, he is destined to make a difference. Chaney is the visionary of the Long Beach Gospel Fest, the city’s premier gospel event held on the beautiful shores of downtown Long Beach. This yearly gathering brings politicians, business owners, gospel singers, and over 25,000 people together for inspiration, worship and music. “Beyond the gospel music, we are witnessing the addition of something new and wonderful to Long Beach,” he said to the Los Angeles Times.

He is strongly engaged civically as the former President of the California National African American Network, SBC, Board Member of the National African American Network, and on the Executive Board of the California Southern Baptist Convention. Pastor Chaney serves on the Executive Board of Global Tribe International, whose mission is to rescue those in physical and spiritual poverty, reach communities with the gospel and recruit and empower young leaders. He is also the president emeritus of the Long Beach Ministers Alliance.

Pastor Chaney has added published author to his expanding repertoire as his novel Your Miraculous Potential: Maximizing God’s Creativity, Power and Direction is now available at retailers everywhere.

DR. JUAN BENITEZ

Director, CSULB Center For Civic Engagement

Dr. Juan M. Benitez is a father, educator, and community leader dedicated to Long Beach. He serves as the Executive Director for the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and as an Associate Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).

With over 20 years of experience in higher education, Juan heads university-wide community engagement projects, programs, activities, and initiatives. He has helped raise close to $3 million in funding for projects in the region, working with over 100 nonprofit organizations and community groups as well as thousands of students and community members.

Through his work with the CCE, Juan helped to implement The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative in Long Beach, a 10-year effort to improve neighborhood conditions that contribute to good health. Juan also worked with AmeriCorps and community groups to create a collaborative vision to address youth development, parent engagement, equity and opportunity gaps, and school discipline issues in Long Beach schools.

Juan is also the proud son of hard-working immigrants from Mexico who came to the United States to pursue a better life for their family and achieve the American Dream.

Juan was elected to the Long Beach Unified School District Board, Third District, in June 2018.

Bob Cabeza

Retired Senior Vice President of Community Development,
YMCA of Greater Long Beach

Mr. Cabeza has thirty-nine years of experience in youth development, group work, community development, administration and digital technology programming resulting in the ability to build and lead unique programs designed to better the lives of children, youth and families.  Mr. Cabeza has worked in both community development, community engagement and group work with both children, youth and families for the YMCA, Foundation for the Junior Blind and Village Camps / ETR Tours in Switzerland. His special emphasis has been to help diverse youth develop good interpersonal and working relationships with each other through both the Youth Institute and Change Agent Productions. 

Mr. Cabeza has a special focus on youth development, economic and technology equity for underserved communities as it relates to developing social, emotional, academic and workforce success.  Prior to becoming Senior Vice President of Community Development, he served as Executive Director with the YMCA of Greater Long Beach, YMCA Youth Institute Director, Associate Executive Director of the Ketchum YMCA in Los Angeles, Youth Services Director for the YMCA of Greater Long Beach, and Director of Camp and Recreation Services for The Foundation for the Junior Blind.

He is the founder and creator of both the YMCA Youth Institute and Change Agent Productions social enterprise. He is a fellow of the ZeroDivide Foundation Z-Fellows Program and has been a panelist and presenter at several national conferences.  Mr. Cabeza is the first non-school-based educator to be named an Apple Distinguished Educator by Apple Inc.

DARICK J. SIMPSON

Executive Director - Miller Foundation​

Darick J. Simpson, currently serves as the president and CEO of the Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation — one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the city. He formerly served as the executive director of Long Beach Community Action Partnership.

Simpson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Alabama and a master’s in organizational management from the University of Phoenix, led LBCAP for the last 13 years. The nonprofit assists youth and families to reach self-sustainability.

Under Simpson’s direction, LBCAP became Long Beach’s public access television broadcast outlet and started a training program for youth in the performing arts and broadcast journalism. He grew LBCAP from a staff of 24 with a $1.3 million budget to an agency with a $10 million budget and 80 staff members.

A resident of Long Beach, Darick is a recognized leader in the community. Additionally, Mr. Simpson has served on various national, state, and regional boards including the PBS SoCal Advisory Board and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) Commission.

Sharon Diggs-Jackson

Program Director, Elite Skills Development​

Sharon Jackson’s professional career includes 12 years with IBM where she served as an auditor and administrative branch manager.  Her 20-year career with the City of Long Beach included serving as an Analyst in the Long Beach Police Department’s Narcotics and Crime Analysis Divisions and Coordinator of the Neighborhood Nuisance Abatement Program. For the final 10 years of her career she was the city’s Airport Public Affairs Officer.

Following her retirement in 2009, Sharon, and her husband David, began a journey to discover and connect with their family roots that landed them in Selma, AL, where they purchased and renovated a historic home in Downtown Selma.  The home has been used as a center for racial healing and social action and a learning center for students studying the Civil War, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Movement.

A student of history, Sharon is an trained genealogist and author of, Images of America:SELMA. Published in November 2014, the book has been very well received and is now in its second printing. 

Currently, Sharon serves as the Program Officer for Elite Skills Development, a non-profit organization that provides services to create pathways to self-sustainability for at-risk and under-resourced youth and young adults.

Sharon is a member of the Long Beach City College Citizen Oversight Committee, a board member of the Long Beach African American Cultural Center, the Executive Committee of the Selma Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc-Long Beach Alumnae Chapter and The Links, Inc.

CDC WORKING GROUP

Antioch Church | Carl Kemp

Antioch LB | Wayne Chaney, Jr.

City of Long Beach, Economic Development | John Keisler

City of Long Beach, Economic Development | Rebecca Kauma

City of Long Beach, Health Dept. | Katie Balderas 

City of Long Beach, Health Dept. | Kelly Colopy

Council District 9 | Rex Richardson

Council District 9, City of Long Beach | Alanah Grant

CSULB | Juan Benitez

CSULB Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship | Wade Martin

Elite Skills Development | Sharon Diggs-Jackson

Growth Small Business, LLC | Vivian Shimoyama

Habitat for Humanity | Dinesa Thomas-Whitman

LA County | Herlinda Chico

LA LISC | Tunua Thrash-NtukLandspire Group | Treana Allen

LB Economic Development Commission | Jessica Schumer

LB Forward | Petit Christine

LB Opera | Derrell Acon

LBCAP | Darick Simpson

LBCAP | Marisa Semense

LBUSD | Kim Johnson

LINC Housing | Suny Lay Chang

Our Essence Beauty Supply | Deidre Norville

Pacific6 | Brandon Dowling

PGWIN | Nick Schultz

PGWIN Board | Weston LaBar

POLB | Bonnie Lowenthal

Pride Real Estate Professional Association | Jacqueline Case

PV Jobs | Erik Miller

Ronnie’s House | Shirin Senegal

SHS Connections | Shawna Stevens

SoCal Grantmakers | Seyron Foo

United Cambodian Community, Midtown BID | Susana Sngiem,

Uptown BID | Doris Felix

Uptown BID | Joni Ricks-Odie

Uptown BID | Tom Carpenter

Urban Agriculture Council | Rod Dodd

USC Small Business Diversity Office | Rhonda Thornton

Villages at Cabrillo | Rene Castro

Wells Fargo | Linda Nguyen

Facilitators: 

Elite Skills Development | Sharon Diggs-Jackson 

Office of Councilmember Rex Richardson | Alanah Grant