Advancing Equitable Electric Mobility and Ensuring Equitable Implementation

Addressing systems of inequity and racism in transportation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17,2021

PORTLAND, ORE. – Forth and The Greenlining Institute have created the Toward Equitable Electric Mobility (TEEM) community of practice that aims to develop a national agenda for equitable electric mobility.

TEEM includes 21 organizations from across the U.S.focused on equity, public health, transportation, and clean energy. The cohort will build on local and state-level policy and harnesses the potential of growing Federal support for environmental justice and clean transportation as the Biden administration’s clean transportation commitments open up new fields of possibility.

TEEM’s peer-to-peer advocates will share best practices and develop strategies to advance electric mobility and engage local stakeholders to ensure that implementation on transportation programs happens in an equitable and efficient way.

The Biden Administration’s recent Executive Order on addressing climate change outlined an ambitious set of proposals to spur the transition to electric vehicles, promote clean energy jobs, and deliver environmental justice.

“TEEM’s work is based on the belief that we must engage with local stakeholders on these proposals so that implementation happens in an equitable and efficient way,” said Alexa Diaz, Program Manager at Forth. “It is vital that we learn from the existing electrification and clean energy movements already happening across the country and build networks to share best practices and coordinate regional efforts.”

TEEM will focus efforts on building community in the cohort and setting the foundation for equitable electric mobility policies and programs in Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina and Virginia before increasing the scope of the program to additional states. We will also share best practices and lessons learned from Greenlining and Forth’s work in California and Oregon.

TEEM will:

  • Build capacity for equity-focused and mainstream environmental organizations through funding and technical training on topics around racial equity and electric mobility
  • Foster relationships between equity-focused and mainstream environmental and transportation organizations
  • Provide state-specific policy strategizing for equitable electric mobility
  • Co-develop equitable clean mobility tools, resources, and strategies

“A transportation revolution has begun, but if we’re not careful we risk a sort of ‘transportation redlining,’ in which new, clean mobility options go to the white and wealthy first,” said Isa Gaillard, environmental equity program manager at The Greenlining Institute. “For both justice and the state of our climate, we have to do better, and that’s what TEEM is about.”

“SEEA is grateful to be a part of the Towards Equitable Electric Mobility initiative working to ensure that every person benefits from cleaner transportation,” said Anne Blair of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA).

More information can be found here. Please contact program managers Alexa Diaz and Isa Gaillard at alexad@forthmobility.org and isa.gaillard@greenlining.org with any questions.

###

Forth is a nonprofit organization advancing electric, shared and smart transportation through innovation, demonstration, advocacy, and engagement. Learn more at www.forthmobility.org. Media Contact: Kevin Friedman – kevinf@forthmobility.org, 503-381-4085

The Greenlining Institute works towards a future where communities of color can build wealth, live in healthy places filled with economic opportunity, and are ready to meet the challenges posed by climate change. Learn more at www.greenlining.org. Media Contact: Bruce Mirken – brucem@greenlining.org, 415-846-7758

SB 17 Would Create The California Office of Racial Equity

New Office Would Tackle Systemic Inequities

Contact:
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Associate Director for Media Relations, 415-846-7758
Katie Smith, Advancement Project California, Director of Communications, 323-997-2194
Milena Paez, NextGen Policy, Director of Communications, 916-470-8921
Shannan Velayas, Office of Sen. Pan, 916-271-2867
Brandie Campbell, Public Health Advocates, Director of Communications, 844-962-5900 x275

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic bringing racial inequities in California and throughout the U.S. into sharp relief, the California Legislature is considering a systematic approach to curbing racial inequity via SB 17, introduced in the California Senate by Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento). SB 17,  which has now been referred to the Governmental Organization Committee and the Judiciary Committee, builds on the commitment Gov. Gavin Newsom made Tuesday night in his State of the State speech: “When this pandemic ends – and it will end soon – we’re not going back to normal. Normal was never good enough. Normal accepts inequity.”

SB 17 would declare racism a public health crisis and create a state Office of Racial Equity and a Racial Equity Advisory and Accountability Council. These new bodies would be tasked with developing a statewide racial equity framework and concrete strategies for addressing racial inequity across state government.

Data from Advancement Project California’s RACE COUNTS initiative shows that low-income and people of color are less likely to have access to early childhood education programs, have health insurance, own a home, vote, and feel safe in their neighborhood. According to state data, Latino, African American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Californians have suffered disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 deaths. SB 17’s supporters believe the state can and must play a more active role in dismantling racial inequities, particularly those exacerbated by the coronavirus.

If SB 17 is enacted, the Office of Racial Equity and the Racial Equity Advisory and Accountability Council will:

  • Identify existing policies and practices in the state that contribute to, uphold, or exacerbate racial disparities and develop proposals to address these disparities, to be recommended to the Governor’s Office and Legislature.
  • Analyze, develop, evaluate, report on and recommend strategies for advancing racial equity across state agencies, departments and the Office of the Governor.
  • Create and provide a Racial Equity Framework for the state and direct agency Secretaries to develop, adopt and implement Racial Equity Action Plans.
  • Create a budget equity assessment tool to determine whether budget requests and annual allocations benefit or burden communities of color.

SB’17s principal co-authors are Assemblymembers Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco). Additional co-authors are Senators Dave Cortese (D-San Jose), María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) and Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) and Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister).

“Extensive research has identified racism as a public health crisis leading to significant health disparities, including infant and maternal mortality, chronic diseases prevalence, life expectancy and now COVID mortality,” said Dr. Richard Pan. “The state needs an independent body to hold us accountable by examining California’s policies and budget with the goal of achieving racial equity and ending systemic racism.”

“These inequities didn’t just happen by chance, they resulted from policy choices – some deliberate, some inadvertent – and they won’t fix themselves automatically,” said Alvaro Sanchez, Vice President of Policy at The Greenlining Institute. “To address structural racism, it has to be someone’s job to identify it and develop concrete strategies to change it.”

“All of the racial inequities we’ve seen in this pandemic have been decades in the making. We can no longer react to the symptoms of systematic racism or nibble around the policy edges,” said John Kim, Executive Director of Advancement Project California. “Passing SB 17 and establishing a State level Office of Racial Equity is crucial to excavating the intersectional nature of structural racism baked into this state’s public systems and policies. A fully resourced and appropriately authorized office is a powerful mechanism not only to stem the tide of bad, racist policies but also to generate new pathways to close the opportunity gap for communities of color throughout the state.”

“State government has a responsibility to address the systemic impacts of institutional racism on the people who call California home,” said Arnold Sowell Jr., Executive Director of NextGen California. “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people of color at alarmingly high rates and brought to light decades of structural racism embedded in various policies and programs within the systems of government. SB 17 proposes an important and meaningful solution to address these inequities and will put California farther down the path towards an equitable California for all.”

DeAngelo Mack, Director of State Policy for Public Health Advocates said, “The disproportionate harms caused by racism are undeniable. Its negative effects permeate throughout all California systems. Intentional focus at every level of government is necessary to undo centuries of inequitable policies, practices, and treatment towards communities of color. We strongly support SB 17 and this historic opportunity to greatly improve the health and well-being of all Californians.”

SB 17 is co-sponsored by a combination of racial equity, public health, environmental, and power building organizations:

  • NextGen Policy fights for progressive policies to address environmental, social, racial, and economic inequities in California through justice-centered legislative advocacy, grassroots partnerships, and democratic civic engagement.
  • Public Health Advocates brings a public health lens to today’s most pressing problems, helping communities to pass laws, reform systems, and establish norms that foster justice, equity, and health.
  • Advancement Project California is a multi-racial, multi-generational racial justice organization with expertise in research, advocacy, and policy. We work with partners and communities to expand educational opportunities for California’s children; create healthy and safe neighborhoods; ensure communities of color have a voice in our democracy; strengthen movement-building; and shift public investments toward programs that benefit all Californians—not just the privileged few.
  • The Greenlining Institute envisions a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to economic opportunity. Greenlining advances economic opportunity and empowerment for people of color through advocacy, community and coalition building, research, and leadership development.

### 

THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

“Caste” Author Isabel Wilkerson to Headline Greenlining Economic Summit

Virtual Summit on Racial Equity Expands to Two Days of Programming May 5-6

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the bestselling books Caste and The Warmth of Other Suns, will headline Greenlining’s 2021 Economic Summit, Momentum: A Virtual Summit on Racial Equity, The Greenlining Institute announced today.

Caste dramatically reconsiders how America has dealt with race, looking at American society through the lens of longstanding caste systems such as that of India. America’s modern caste protocols, Wilkerson writes, “are like the wind, powerful enough to knock you down but invisible as they go about their work.” The Warmth of Other Suns, the epic story of the Great Migration, won the National Book Critics award and was named to Time magazine’s list of 10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade.

“As we emerge from the crises of 2020, many of us feel a sense of renewed hope and optimism, but also a realization of the great challenges we face,” said Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann. “We’re delighted to have one of this nation’s most eloquent and provocative writers on racial equity join us for our most ambitious virtual Summit ever.”

This year, Greenlining’s Economic Summit – one of the nation’s largest racial equity conferences – expands to two days of online programming May 5 and 6, featuring a variety of discussions, panels, speakers, music and more. Discounted early-bird tickets are available through March 22. Members of the media wishing to attend should email Bruce Mirken at brucem@greenlining.org.

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.

(Photo of Isabel Wilkerson by Joe Henson)

### 

THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
www.greenlining.org

The Greenlining Institute Releases New Report Examining Biased Algorithms that Invisibly Limit Opportunities for Marginalized Groups

Human-designed algorithms and artificial intelligence can create redlines and roadblocks to getting a job, receiving healthcare, and investing in neighborhoods

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, brucem@greenlining.org, 415.846.7758

Oakland, CA —  Today, The Greenlining Institute released a report titled “Algorithmic Bias Explained: How Automated Decision-Making Becomes Automated Discrimination.” The report examines how biased algorithms discriminate against people of color, women, and people who earn lower incomes. Often the discrimination is invisible to its victims. The findings of this research shine a light on what Greenlining calls algorithmic redlining and provides recommendations on how to update laws to address this growing problem.

Decision-making algorithms work by taking the characteristics of an individual, like the age, income, and ZIP code of a loan applicant, and reporting back a prediction of that person’s outcome — for instance, the likelihood they will default on a loan — according to a certain set of rules. That prediction is then used to make a decision — in this case, to approve or deny the loan. But, if the training data is biased then the algorithm can “learn” the pattern of discrimination and replicate it in future decisions. For example, a bank’s historical lending data may show that it routinely and unfairly gives higher interest rates to residents in a majority Black ZIP code. A banking algorithm trained on that biased data could pick up that pattern of discrimination and learn to charge residents in that ZIP code more for their loans even if they don’t know the race of the applicant.

“With this report, Greenlining Institute elevates the harm algorithmic redlining is causing to marginalized communities, and puts forth specific recommendations to promote accountability and transparency,” said Vinhcent Le, Technology Equity Legal Counsel, Greenlining Institute. “We have an opportunity to ensure the decision-making tools our society uses are building equity instead of advancing disparities.”

Despite the massive impact algorithms have on the day to day lives of citizens, there are currently no laws effectively holding governments, companies, and organizations accountable for the development, implementation, and impact of their use.

Algorithms are designed by people. Often, people may have gaps in their knowledge, biases, or want to do things the cheapest, simplest way. That’s been shown to lead to flawed algorithms that make bad decisions. Algorithmic accountability laws would allow us to identify and fix algorithmic harms and to enforce our existing laws against discrimination. Algorithmic transparency and accountability measures can include algorithmic impact assessments, data audits to test for bias, and critically, a set of laws that penalize algorithmic bias, particularly in essential areas like housing, employment, and credit. California’s legislature is now considering a bill, AB 13, which would take the first steps toward regulating algorithmic bias.

We need to update our discrimination laws to reflect the realities of today’s technological world,” said Debra Gore-Mann, President and CEO of Greenlining Institute. “Instead of a defensive strategy aimed at limiting discrimination and preventing disparate impacts, we promote an idea called algorithmic greenlining. This approach emphasizes using automated decision systems in ways that promote equity and help close the racial wealth gap. This means that algorithms go beyond simply not causing harm to addressing systemic barriers to economic opportunity.”

Additional Examples of Biased Algorithms at work:

  • Housing and Development — Over 25 cities use a tool called the Market Value Analysis Algorithm (MVA) to classify neighborhoods by market strength and investment capital. Cities use MVA maps to craft tailored urban development plans for each type of neighborhood. These plans determine which neighborhoods receive housing subsidies, tax breaks, upgraded transit or greater code enforcement. Cities using the MVA are encouraged by its developer to prioritize investments and public subsidies first in stronger markets before investing in weaker, distressed areas as a way to maximize the return on investment for public dollars — essentially repeating the patterns of redlining that discriminated against low-income communities of color. In Detroit, city officials used the MVA to justify the reduction and disconnection of water and sewage utilities as well as the withholding of federal, state, and local redevelopment dollars in Detroit’s “weak markets,” which happened to be its Blackest and poorest neighborhoods.
  • Mortgage Lending — Online banking algorithms can be a way to combat racial discrimination present in traditional, face-to-face lending. However, a UC Berkeley study showed that both traditional and online lenders overcharge Black and Brown borrowers for mortgage loans to the tune of $765 million a year compared to equally qualified White borrowers. Researchers found that banking algorithms still give White borrowers better rates and loans than Black ones. UC Berkeley researchers suggest that this bias is due to geographic and behavioral pricing strategies that charge more in financial deserts or if a customer is unlikely to shop around at competing lenders. This raises serious questions about the fairness and legality of using data unrelated to credit repayment risk, such as shopping behavior, to make decisions about loan terms and rates.
  • Government Programs — When Arkansas implemented a Medicaid access algorithm, hundreds of people saw their benefits cut — losing access to home care, nursing visits and medical treatments. Arkansas Legal Aid filed a federal lawsuit in 2016, arguing that the state failed to notify those affected, and that there was also no way to effectively challenge the system, as those denied benefits couldn’t understand what information factored into the algorithm’s decisions. The process for appealing these decisions was described as “effectively worthless” as less than 5% of appeals were successful. During the court case, the company that created the algorithm found multiple errors due to miscoding and miscalculations. An estimated 19% of Medicaid beneficiaries in the state were harmed one way or another.

# # #

THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE is a multi-ethnic public policy, research and advocacy institute that envisions a nation where race is never a barrier to economic opportunity and communities of color thrive. www.greenlining.org. @Greenlining

 

AB 946 Would Create 23,000 First-Time Homebuyers by Closing Mortgage Interest Deduction Loophole on Second Homes

CONTACT: 
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758
Sylvia Aguilar, Managing Director, California Community Builders, saguilar@ccbuilders.org, 510-868-0991
Matt Lewis, California YIMBY, press@cayimby.org

Oakland, Calif. California’s mortgage interest deduction for second homes has served as a tax break for the wealthy, costing taxpayers $230 million annually while only benefiting less than 3% of California homeowners. AB 946 by Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San Jose) would end this tax break on what are primarily vacation homes and instead direct these funds to the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) MyHome Assistance Program and other programs that support moderate-income homeownership. This change would make it possible for approximately 23,000 families to become first-time homebuyers.

California’s history of redlining has for decades restricted homeownership for communities of color. By helping moderate-income families become homeowners, AB 946 is a critical step in reversing the pervasive discriminatory practice that has denied generations of Black and Brown families the unique wealth-building power of homeownership. Only 30% of Californians can afford to buy a median-priced home, and as a result the state’s homeownership rate is the second lowest in the nation. Only 34.5% of Black people and 41.9% of Latinos are homeowners.

“Closing this loophole is common sense. It’s great that some families are able to buy a second home, but taxpayers should not have to foot the bill when most Californians can barely afford their first home.” said Adam Briones, Economic Equity Director, The Greenlining Institute. “Redirecting this critical funding will enable hard working Californians, including teachers, firefighters, nurses, service workers, and many others to buy their first home and live in the communities where they work.”

“California has the second-lowest homeownership rate in the country because working families cannot afford the $700K price of entry for a modest home,” said Brian Hanlon, CEO of California YIMBY. “Assemblymenber Alex Lee’s bill, along with efforts to accelerate homebuilding, will help more Californians afford a home and will reduce the racial wealth gap by enabling more Californians of color to build wealth through homeownership.”

“First-time homebuyer assistance programs boost homeownership and equalize opportunity — 65 to 70% of CalHFA first-time home loans go to communities of color,” said John Gamboa, President of California Community Builders. “Increasing investment in these programs by reallocating a subsidy benefiting those who can afford two homes is long past due.”

Elimination of the mortgage interest deduction on second homes would have no effect on most California homeowners and minimal financial impact on most of those who currently take advantage of the interest deduction on second homes. People who rent out their second home and use it as a residence for at least 14 days, or occupy the unit for 10% of the number of days it is rented out, whichever amount is greater, are not impacted by this change because they do not currently qualify for the mortgage interest deduction on a second home. Of the less than 2.8% of Californians who currently write off mortgage interest on vacation homes, the average owner would owe an additional $1,000 a year in taxes. The reallocation of this subsidy would create a $230 million loan and assistance pool to support first-time homebuyers.

“We need more common sense solutions to solve California’s housing crisis, and tackling a tax break for the fortunate Californians who own more than one of them just makes sense,” said Assemblymember Alex Lee. “Redirecting those funds can help open the door to homeownership for middle class families and it’s the right thing to do.”

CA first-time homeownership facts:

  • Saving enough money for a down payment is the largest obstacle to first-time homeownership in California, especially because rentals are generally more than 30% of household income.
  • In the 1960’s the average California home cost three times the average household income. Today it costs more than seven times more.

CalHFA borrower profile:

  • 71% of loans go to people making less than $100,000 annually.
  • 65-70% of CalHFA first-time home loans go to Black, Indigeneous, People of Color helping reverse historic redlining policies.
  • CalHFA’s operations are funded by revenues generated through its mortgage loan programs. $230 million in annual investments with compounding returns will result in more than 23,000 additional homeowners after only a few years.

Follow this link for the full text of AB 946.

#    #    # 

About The Greenlining Institute

Founded in 1993, The Greenlining Institute envisions a nation where communities of color thrive and race is never a barrier to economic opportunity. Because people of color will be the majority of our population by 2044, America will prosper only if communities of color prosper. Greenlining advances economic opportunity and empowerment for people of color through advocacy, community and coalition building, research, and leadership development. We work on a variety of major policy issues because economic opportunity doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Rather than seeing these issues as being in separate silos, Greenlining views them as interconnected threads in a web of opportunity.
https://greenlining.org/

About California Community Builders

California Community Builders’ mission is to reduce the homeownership gap as a means of closing the racial wealth gap. Through the promotion of affordable homeownership, we seek to mitigate one of the most egregious root causes of increasing poverty and widening the wealth gap experienced by communities of color in California. Across every social measurement, homeownership has proven to be the doorway and pathway out of poverty and into the benefits of the middle class including: improved incomes and wealth creation, improved education, better health, safer neighborhoods, entrepreneurship and a strengthened democracy.
https://www.ccbuilders.org/

About California YIMBY

California YIMBY is a community of neighbors who welcome more neighbors. We believe that an equitable California begins with abundant, secure, affordable housing. We focus on housing and land use policy at the state and local level to ensure grassroots organizers and city leaders have the tools they need to accelerate home building.

https://cayimby.org/

 

California Launches “Partners Advancing Climate Equity” to Aid Underserved Communities

Program Helps Frontline Communities  Build Capacity to Address Climate Crisis

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Twenty-two leaders representing diverse California communities will spend 2021 as part of the inaugural cohort of the California Strategic Growth Council’s Partners Advancing Climate Equity Program, designed to help communities most impacted by climate change mount an effective, community-driven response. The program was spurred by legislation cosponsored by The Greenlining Institute.

Frontline communities, including low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous peoples, tribal nations and immigrant communities, suffer first and worst from climate impacts. These communities typically have the least capacity or resources necessary to advance local climate action. PACE addresses the need to invest in local leadership and bottoms-up community development, supporting communities to identify their own needs and visions, develop partnerships, build skills, access capacity building and technical assistance resources, develop projects for grant funding and more.

“Greenlining is thrilled to see the PACE program as an outcome of SB 1072, a law we worked hard to pass and a critical step in the right direction of investing directly in community capacity,” said Greenlining Environmental Equity Senior Program Manager Emi Wang. “Too often the communities hit first and worst by climate change have been least able to mount an effective response or even tap into state funding, because they just haven’t had the resources to do it. PACE gives these frontline communities a fair chance.”

Partners Advancing Climate Equity aims to address this gap by building the capacity and technical assistance infrastructure needed in California’s most impacted communities. It will help fill the need for increased training, resources and capacity to strengthen cross-sector partnerships, create data-driven community needs assessments and navigate complex state funding programs, policies and decision-making processes. Administered by SGC, Partners Advancing Climate Equity aims to increase the capacity of local leaders from across California to advance community-driven, equitable climate solutions at the pace and scale demanded by climate change and ongoing racial,social, and environmental inequity.

Partners Advancing Climate Equity program emerged out of SB 1072, 2018 legislation authored by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and cosponsored by The Greenlining Institute and the Trust for Public Land. SB 1072 sought to level the playing field so that our most under-resourced communities can effectively pursue local climate action.

The Partners Advancing Climate Equity program consists of two phases: a peer-to-peer learning cohort and place-based technical assistance to support local capacity building around community-identified initiatives. SGC is offering the program in partnership with the Local Government Commission, Climate Resolve, Urban Permaculture Institute, The Greenlining Institute, and Movement Strategy Center. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice Grant enables SGC to provide participants with up to $8,000 to support their participation in the program.

The members of the inaugural cohort will work on an array of issues at the intersection of climate and equity, including affordable housing, air quality, youth and resident empowerment, water and wildfire resilience, and urban greening. The cohort primarily comprises individuals working in partnership with broad coalitions or at nonprofit organizations that prioritize and uplift resident-led initiatives.

Recognizing the variety of challenges faced by frontline communities throughout California, the Partners Advancing Climate Equity team prioritized regional diversity within the inaugural cohort. Its members represent coastal and inland Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast, the Sacramento region, the Bay Area, and throughout the North Coast and Sierras. In addition, five members of the PACE cohort represent Tribal governments or indigenous-serving organizations.

The program curriculum advances four primary objectives:

  • Leveraging available resources to advance local climate resilience and social equity priorities;
  • Forming and sustaining cross-sector partnerships that enhance collective impact;
  • Creating data-driven, community-led needs assessments and action plans; and
  • Navigating state funding programs, policies, and resources

During their participation in the program, members of the cohort will develop community-informed needs assessments with a focus on tangible strategies to build long-term capacity with partners.

Follow this link to learn more about the Partners Advancing Climate Equity program and meet the 22 members of the cohort.

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.

###

THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

New Report: Green Investments Don’t Always Reach Where They’re Needed

The Greenlining Institute Urges Financial Firms to Consciously Address Communities of Color 

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Investment in green technologies, clean energy and climate adaptation continues to grow, and financial institutions are taking an increasing interest in this field. But many of these investments never reach communities of color and low and moderate income communities that are most in need of both the environmental and economic benefits of such investments, a new report from The Greenlining Institute finds.

“Lots of money is going into clean energy and other green technologies and programs, but far too few of those dollars reach the communities that need them most,” said report co-author Rawan Elhalaby, Greenlining’s Senior Economic Equity Program Manager.

The report, Investing in Climate Equity, looks at how banks and financial institutions presently support green investments in low and moderate income communities and communities of color, and what might be gained by incorporating green investments into the Community Reinvestment Act

It also considers how local and state governments have incentivized investments by financial institutions in green technologies in underserved communities and how such investments can translate into wealth and asset building opportunities for these communities. Finally, it makes recommendations for banks and community development financial institutions, urging them to be bolder and more specific about using green investments to help communities of color become healthier, more sustainable and more prosperous, and proposes regulatory changes to help make this happen.

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.

###

THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Newsom Budget Proposal Short-Changes Environmental Equity Programs

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Gov. Newsom’s proposed 2021-22 California budget short-changes programs financed by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund that reduce pollution and boost the economies of underserved communities, The Greenlining Institute said today.

“The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is meant to cut pollution and greenhouse gases in our must impacted communities,” said Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debvra Gore-Mann. “Funding for wildfires should come from the utilities whose recklessness led to so many problems, so that we can maximize funds needed to fight pollution and build resilience in low-income communities of color.”

Sanchez noted that while some of the expenditures listed in the Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan include important funding for programs with strong equity design and implementation like Clean Cars for All, it also continues to prioritize funding for AB 617 implementation, which needs fundamental, equity-centered improvements in order to better meet community needs — including emission reductions that are accountable to community priorities. “Real equity addresses the community’s priorities, driven by the needs of those in the most polluted and underserved neighborhoods,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez. “California has great programs designed to do that, like Transformative Climate Communities and the Regional Climate Collaboratives created by SB 1072, but those programs get no money at all in this proposal.”

While the proposed budget includes important investments in broadband, housing, clean transportation and relief for families and small businesses, including $575 million in much-needed aid for small businesses and nonprofits, gaps remain. For example, critical investments are still needed to eliminate growing utility debt for low-income families, Gore-Mann said. “These important programs should be funded by taxing California’s growing population of billionaires.”

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.

###

THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Greenlining Institute Congratulates Georgia Winners, Urges Bold Agenda

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute congratulated Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff today on their victories in Tuesday’s Georgia Senate runoff elections. Greenlining President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann made the following statement:

“We congratulate senators-elect Warnock and Ossoff on the confidence Georgians have shown in them. The election of Georgia’s first-ever Black U.S. senator, the pastor of Martin Luther King’s church, is a truly historic moment, and politicians of all parties should note the decisive role played by voters of color and by Black, Latino and Asian American movement organizers.

“Without the constraints of divided government, this is the time for the Biden-Harris administration and congressional leaders to think big. America can now enact a bold, courageous agenda, an agenda that starts with a real plan to end the pandemic and provide ongoing relief to struggling families and small businesses, but also goes much farther.

“We need strong, decisive action to protect democracy, fight systemic racism, end economic inequality and harness the fight against climate change to build a prosperous, healthy and just economy. The needs have never been greater, but neither has the opportunity. President-elect Biden and congressional leaders must seize this moment, reject half-measures and achieve change on an audacious scale.”

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.

###

 THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Greenlining Institute Launches Diversity Guide for Cleantech Start-Ups

Contact:
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)
Sona Mohnot, Greenlining Institute Senior Policy Analyst and Program Manager, 504-377-7594

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – With climate change and environmental justice rising higher on the national agenda and startup companies bringing new ideas into the cleantech arena at an accelerating pace, The Greenlining Institute has released a guidebook designed to help these emerging companies address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Communities of color have disproportionately borne the burdens of pollution and climate change, and we need to ensure that they reap the full benefits of the growing clean energy economy,” said report co-author Parwana Ayub, Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Fellow. “Cleantech startups will play a critical role in this economy, and we want to help them be as welcoming as possible to a diverse workforce and diverse customers.”

The guide, Building a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Cleantech Industry, was inspired by Greenlining’s ongoing work with companies participating in the California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development Initiative, or CalSEED. It includes sections covering:

  • Definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • The moral and business cases for diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Increasing workforce and leadership diversity
  • Creating an inclusive workplace culture
  • Promoting accessible cleantech products and services

“Early stage companies may have a small staff, limited resources and no formal HR department, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make progress on diversity, equity and inclusion,” said report co-author Sona Mohnot, senior policy analyst and program manager for Greenlining’s Environmental Equity team. “We hope this guide will give them the tools they need to get started.”

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.

###

 THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute
www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining