Communities of Color is a group comprised of professionals and practitioners from cross-sector industries and community based leaders that focus on issues directly impacting communities of color in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Communities of Color is organizing a statewide community engagement initiative. The initiative’s primary focus will be on convening a series of community dialogues on banking with a focus on the Community Reinvestment Act and its impact on the availability of financial service products in underserved neighborhoods across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Working with the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Financial Services, the initiative will start in Boston, followed by community engagement events in Lawrence/Lowell and Worcester.

This initiative is also being planned in collaboration with federal, state and city elected officials, banking regulators and community based organizations. We have identified the following objective for these community engagements:

  • Provide an opportunity for community residents and small business owners to express their banking concerns to policymakers;
  • Provide the community with direct connections to bank personnel;
  • Provide the banks with a pipeline to customers and workforce, and
  • Provide access to information to improve creditworthiness for individuals and businesses.

Our work will culminate in a comprehensive statewide Community Action Plan that will be completed by the end of 2017 and disseminated in early 2018. This initiative will also include the participation of community development corporations and other community-based organizations in the role of outreach partners and advisors on the Community Action Plan. The Plan is intended to provide a framework for policy makers and legislators to address topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • A multi-billion dollar agreement direct in benefits mainly home and small business loans, to low- and moderate-income;
  • Lending to small businesses and low- and moderate-income homebuyers (LENDING);
  • Purchasing goods and services from minority-owned businesses and (MBWE GOODS & SERVICES)
  • Contributing money to business development and job training in lower-income neighborhoods, and (ECONOMIC & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT)
  • Financing community developing for affordable housing projects and commercial real estate sponsored by and for profit and nonprofit organizations (COMMUNITY FINANCING)