Greenlining Institute Announces Grants to Close Oakland’s Digital Divide

“The Town Link” Grants Fund Digital Inclusion/Literacy, Provide Tablets & Computers

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute is pleased to announce grants to 10 grassroots Oakland organizations working to close the digital divide. The program, called “The Town Link,” is a partnership between Greenlining and the City of Oakland aimed at increasing internet adoption and digital literacy in communities that have lacked internet access, including communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. In a report released last year, The Greenlining Institute found a startling correlation between East Bay neighborhoods lacking broadband access and neighborhoods that had been redlined beginning in the 1930s.

“What we’re doing here is really new, involving local community organizations that haven’t traditionally been involved in broadband work but who have strong links to the community, and using those community links to target the digital divide,” said Greenlining Institute Technology Equity Legal Counsel Vinhcent Le. “We’re proud to partner with the City of Oakland on this effort to build digital inclusion and digital literacy, make residents aware of free and affordable broadband plans, and provide computers to residents who need them. You simply can’t participate in the modern economy without broadband, and no Oaklander should be left behind.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said, “As an incubator of innovative policy ideas and an advocate for transformative change, Greenlining exemplifies the values of an #OaklandUndivided leadership partner. Together, our collective impact will ensure that all Oakland public school students have access to the tools at home necessary for a 21st century education: a personal computer, reliable internet, and culturally responsive tech support. Congratulations to the 10 community-based organizations selected to champion outreach and digital inclusion. Together we are Oakland Undivided!”

The 10 local organizations receiving $10,000 each, funded by the City of Oakland, are:

  •         Allen Temple Baptist Church
  •         Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS)
  •         Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI)
  •         El Timpano
  •         Homies Empowerment
  •         Oakland Workers Fund
  •         Roots Community Health Center
  •         St Mary’s Center
  •         The Unity Council
  •         Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay

The funding from Town Link will enable the groups to provide computers and tablets to residents who lack devices, and to conduct trainings and educational workshops in their communities.

“Our community has shared the need for computers, education and affordable, reliable internet,” said Homies Empowerment Partnerships Coordinator J.P. Hailer. “We are very grateful that Town Link is giving us the opportunity to meet the needs of our community by providing technology and digital literacy services so that individuals and families are empowered with the skills and resources they need for daily living.”

“Investing digitally in the AAPI immigrant community is like investing in the next generation of innovation and corporations,” said Shirley Gee, Executive Director of the Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay. “You never know when a genius is born — note immigrant founders like Steve Chen of YouTube, Eric S. Yuan of Zoom, or Eric Thich Vi Ly of LinkedIn, to name a few.  Not only is The Greenlining Institute bridging the divide with broadband connectivity and digital literacy for communities like ours in the short term, they may very well be seeding the next generation of AAPI corporate founders.  Stay tuned!”

With the announcement of these grants, partners can begin working on their campaigns to be complete by the fall of 2022.

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

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE works toward a future when 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.

www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

With Recall Over, California Must Boldly Move Forward on Equity, Greenlining Institute Says

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – With the whole nation watching, Governor Gavin Newsom has survived the attempt to recall him from office, buoyed by progressive voter turnout. The Greenlining Institute is calling for California to reenergize the push for true racial and economic equity and to reform the state’s dysfunctional recall process.

“Communities of color are California’s majority and it looks like they turned out in serious numbers to reject candidates who claim that systemic racism doesn’t exist, who deny climate change, and who make preposterous claims of voter fraud before the polls were even closed,” said Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann. “Our communities are still weighed down by the effects of centuries of systemic racism, which are exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and climate disasters. That came from deliberate policy choices and can only be fixed through deliberate policy choices.”

“We urge the governor and legislature to show their commitment to racial equity by moving forward with SB 17 (Pan), which would create a statewide Office of Racial Equity to identify and eliminate racism in state policy and address inequality in state programs,” Gore-Mann said. “It’s time for California to take a systematic approach to ending the racial wealth gap and ensuring that all our state’s communities can prosper. And it’s time to move forward energetically with policies to fight climate change that put equity front and center.”

The Greenlining Institute has been encouraged by recent passage of critically needed climate equity funding. Public opinion polling has consistently shown that, by a greater than two to one margin, Californians think we need to accelerate our actions to fight climate change. The margins are even greater among Black, Asian American Pacific Islander and Latino voters.

“Tackling climate change and confronting systemic racism are not disconnected,” Gore-Mann said. “They are two sides of the same coin, and our communities deserve leadership that understands these realities.

The Greenlining Institute rejects the problematic narrative that falsely pits economic well-being and health against climate action. When we prioritize equity with bold solutions, we can move beyond a zero-sum game and benefit all.

“And finally, California needs to rethink this undemocratic recall process,” Gore-Mann added. “The current system makes it too easy for a small, well-funded minority to replace a leader who has broad public support with someone supported by far fewer Californians.”

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

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE works toward a future when 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.

www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

CA State Budget Bills Fund Critical Climate Equity Priorities

Urgently Needed Dollars Go to Climate Resilience, Transformative Climate Communities and More 

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

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – With climate disasters in the headlines worldwide, The Greenlining Institute applauded the California State Legislature for passing legislation, SB 155 and SB 170, that provides vital funding to help California’s most underserved communities fight climate change and cope with its increasingly dangerous effects. Earlier this summer, the governor and state legislators passed a budget that included $3.7 billion in spending for climate resilience programs. These budget trailer bills flesh out the details of how that money will be spent.

“California continues to lead by example with this unprecedented level of investment in climate resilience,” said Greenlining Institute Vice President of Policy Alvaro Sanchez. “This funding represents a critical down payment on what must be a long-term effort to protect our climate and build resilience in frontline communities. Communities of color and low-income Californians disproportionately bear the brunt of the climate crisis, and it will take sustained effort to ensure that our communities not only survive but thrive.”

“We thank Gov. Newsom for including these priorities in his May budget revision and the legislature for agreeing to fund them,” Sanchez added. “This couldn’t have gotten done without their collective action and the tireless efforts of countless community advocates.”

Key priorities included in the legislation include:

  • Transformative Climate Communities. This groundbreaking but underfunded climate change program funds local communities to develop integrated programs to cut carbon emissions and create more livable neighborhoods, linking elements like clean transportation and clean energy with affordable housing and more. Despite being chronically underfunded in years past, the program received $115 million for the 2021-22 fiscal year and a commitment to $420 million over three years. The Greenlining Institute will release a detailed equity evaluation of this landmark program later this year.
  • Capacity Building. Environmental racism has left too many communities without the resources needed to compete for investments to cope with increasingly severe heat waves, droughts, floods, etc. The budget provides $10 million this year and a commitment to $10 million next year to launch the Regional Climate Collaboratives program, which builds the capacity of impacted communities to make critical investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Low-Income Weatherization Program. This vital program, which in some years has gone completely unfunded, helps low-income families weatherize their homes, save energy and preserve health and safety during extreme weather. The program received $15 million in the new budget year targeted at multifamily housing.
  • Zero-Emission Vehicles. The budget provides $150 million in the first year and a commitment to $400 million over three years for equity programs like Clean Cars 4 All, which helps lower-income drivers replace their old, polluting cars with clean vehicles.
  • Urban Greening and Urban Forestry. These programs, which reduce carbon while bringing needed shade and cooling to communities lacking tree cover, receive $60 million for 2021-22 and a commitment to a total of $250 million over three years.
  • Community Resilience Hubs. The legislation also calls for a total of $200 million from 2022-2024 to create a new grant program for community resilience hubs, which would provide integrated delivery of emergency response services in community institutions like libraries and health clinics.

“We’re encouraged by much of what is in this budget legislation, but it’s important to remember that only the first year of funding for these critical programs is guaranteed,” said Sona Mohnot, Greenlining’s Associate Director of Climate Equity. “At The Greenlining Institute, we will keep fighting to ensure California’s frontline communities get the resources they need over the long haul to fight climate change and build healthy, prosperous neighborhoods.”

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

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE works toward a future when 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.

www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

New Report: Fintech Lenders – Not Banks – Dominate Mortgage Market, Regulations Must Catch Up

Fintech Lenders Have 2/3 of the Market but Aren’t Regulated Like Banks

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Fintech (financial technology) lenders, referred to officially as nonbanks, now dominate the home mortgage market in California and across the U.S., a new report from The Greenlining Institute finds. But these businesses are not subject to the same rules as banks, meaning their positive potential could be outweighed by risks of discrimination and threats to the stability of the financial system and housing market.

A Fair Financial System: Regulating Fintech and Nonbank Lenders, released today, lays out these risks and proposes new regulatory approaches at both the state and federal levels.

“The U.S. mortgage market has shifted radically since 2009,” said lead author Rawan Elhalaby, The Greenlining Institute’s Senior Economic Equity Program Manager. “Two thirds of mortgages aren’t written by banks, but by fintech lenders who don’t have to follow the same rules as banks. We know almost nothing about their lending patterns or whether or not they discriminate, and there are reasons for concern about their stability. It’s time for financial regulations to catch up to reality.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • Fintech lenders now write two thirds of U.S. mortgages, a 660% increase in market share since 2009. The top three mortgage lenders in California are all nonbanks.
  • We don’t know how this shift in the industry is impacting redlined communities and borrowers of color because of a lack of transparency and reporting requirements. In particular, fintech lenders — which have no branches and take no deposits — are not subject to the federal Community Reinvestment Act, a landmark anti-redlining law designed to encourage banks to invest in underserved communities.
  • All this is occurring as traditional banks close branches in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, effectively abandoning their CRA obligations. This has led to increased market share for nonbanks among Black and Latino households.
  • The lack of transparency and reporting requirements raises serious questions about the financial stability of fintech lenders. There are few overarching federal regulations covering nonbank mortgage lenders, which tend to have little cash on hand and large amounts of debt.

The report offers several policy recommendations to address these concerns, calling on Congress to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act to cover fintech lenders, and states to act quickly. The report outlines how states like California can enact state-level regulations, including requiring increased lending transparency through the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, as well as passing a state version of the Community Reinvestment Act. In Illinois, the most recent state to pass a state-level CRA, advocates partnered with legislators to advance a racial equity slate that included these crucial regulations for nonbank lenders.

“State and federal regulations need a drastic overhaul to keep up with these trends and avoid another financial crisis caused by predatory mortgage lending,” said Debra Gore-Mann, President and CEO of The Greenlining Institute. ”These institutions are targeting communities that have been historically denied access to financial products and services from traditional banks. If they continue to be unregulated, that house of cards will collapse on Black and Brown communities first and worst.”

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

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE works toward a future when 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.

www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Automated Decision Systems Accountability Act Passes Key Committee

AB 13 seeks to prevent algorithm-driven systems from resulting in discrimination

SACRAMENTO – Today, the Senate Committee on Judiciary approved Assembly Bill (AB) 13, authored by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D–Monterey Park). This bill would bring accountability and transparency to algorithm-driven systems used by public entities, which rely on machine learning or artificial intelligence to make decisions affecting people’s lives.

Specifically, AB 13, titled the Automated Decision System Accountability Act, would create the first statewide algorithmic accountability framework, which sets forth criteria for the procurement of high-risk automated decision systems by government entities in order to minimize the risk of adverse and discriminatory impacts resulting from their design and application.

“Poorly designed algorithm-driven systems can create unfair, biased and inaccurate results, causing disproportionate harm to low-income families and communities of color while also undermining trust in the public sector,” said Assemblymember Chau. “Without clear oversight of these systems by the very government agencies that purchase and use them, we would fail in our responsibility to ensure these systems do not create new harms or result in discriminatory decisions that affect our legal rights.”

According to a 2019 report by The Brookings Institution’s Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative, “algorithmic or automated decision systems use data and statistical analyses to classify people and assess their eligibility for a benefit or penalty.” The application of these systems can assist with credit decisions, employment screening, insurance eligibility, as well as the delivery of government services, criminal justice sentencing, and probation decisions. And, according to a report entitled Algorithmic Bias Explained: How Automated Decision-Making Becomes Automated Discrimination, from The Greenlining Institute, algorithmic bias occurs when an algorithmic decision creates unfair outcomes that unjustifiably and arbitrarily privilege certain groups over others. This matters because algorithms act as gatekeepers to economic opportunity. The Greenlining Institute is the sponsor of the Automated Decision System Accountability Act of 2021.

When it comes to the acquisition of these systems by government agencies, we must examine the state’s procurement policies. A report from the AI Now Institute recommends the adoption of impact assessments by public agencies during the procurement process, to ensure that automated decision systems are more accurate, fair and that potential concerns are addressed before the system goes live and begins to impact the public. The Automated Decisions Systems Accountability Act increases agencies’ internal expertise and capacity to evaluate the systems they procure, helping them avoid public backlash and anticipate concerning issues such as disparate impacts or due process violations.

”We must ensure that our government and public agencies understand the risks and potential impacts when they purchase high-risk algorithms that control access to housing, credit, government services and economic opportunity. We’ve seen time and time again that when these systems fail, communities of color and low-income families bear the brunt of the harm,” said Greenlining Institute Technology Equity Legal Counsel Vinhcent Le., who is “The Greenlining Institute thanks the committee for their support of the Automated Decisions Accountability Act which takes key first steps towards ensuring our government algorithms are fair and unbiased. This is critical if we are to close the racial wealth gap and rebuild eroding public trust in government and technology.”

The Greenlining Institute is the sponsor of the Automated Decision System Accountability Act of 2021.

Assemblymember Ed Chau represents the 49th Assembly District, comprised of the communities of Alhambra, Arcadia, El Monte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Temple City and portions of Montebello, and South El Monte.

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Equity Analysis Resolution Approved by California State Assembly

HR 39 encourages lawmakers to adopt equity analysis for legislation

Contact:

(SACRAMENTO, CA, July 5, 2021)– Today, HR. 39, a house resolution authored by Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson), and sponsored by The Greenlining Institute, passed the Assembly floor with 55 co-authors. H.R. 39 encourages lawmakers to incorporate an equity impact analysis into the existing committee and floor bill analysis processes, which currently covers fiscal impact and related legislation. 

“My hope is that when we take a closer look at legislation through an equity lens, it ensures that our constituents have equal access to services such as quality health care, financial aid for higher education, and homeownership,” said Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson. “Putting equity at the forefront of our work will help identify any gaps in our decision making process as we introduce or vote on pieces of legislation.” 

H.R. 39 will include the critical and necessary data points about the impact of proposed legislation for vulnerable communities. 

“We applaud the Assembly for making this commitment. As California moves to restart our economy and build a just recovery from the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we look closely at the impact of any proposed legislation on people of color, low-income Californians, and others whose concerns have too-often been neglected,” said Debra Gore-Mann, President and CEO of The Greenlining Institute, which sponsored the legislation. “California has the opportunity to be a leader in making equity real and ensure we don’t repeat the past mistakes of intended and unintended consequences.”

COVID-19 is exacerbating the well-documented health and economic inequities that low-income people and people of color are experiencing, including persistent economic hardship, high rates of unemployment, preventable negative health outcomes, housing insecurity, community trauma, among other issues. Elected officials need more information about the equity impact of bills in order to make informed decisions and prevent unintended consequences of legislation that widen disparities.

“California has the opportunity to be a leader in operationalizing equity, not just talking about equity, and we are one step closer to that vision with the passage of H.R. 39,” said Kelsey Lyles, Senior Program Manager of Transformative Racial Equity at The Greenlining Institute. “We look forward to working with the Legislature to adopt equity analysis tools and relevant data sources in order to prioritize bills that reduce racial wealth and health gaps.”  

Earlier this year, President Biden issued an executive order requiring all federal departments and agencies to “recognize and work to redress inequities in their policies and programs that serve as barriers to equal opportunity.” Five states — Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Oregon, and New Jersey — have adopted and implemented policies requiring racial equity impact statements for certain types of proposals.

“I am pleased with the equity measure H.R. 39 being introduced by Assemblymember Mike Gipson and myriad of joining Assemblymembers,” said Wayne Ford, former Iowa State Representative who is the author of the nation’s first minority impact statement. “This is a monumental step towards greater racial and minority consideration within the legislative process here in the great State of California.”

The Greenlining Institute and stakeholders can now work with Capitol staff to support the implementation of the equity analysis. 

 

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE works toward a future when 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.

www.greenlining.org

@Greenlining

ASSEMBLYMEMBER MIKE A. GIPSON proudly represents the 64th Assembly District. The district includes the cities and communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor Gateway, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, South Los Angeles, Torrance, Watts/Willowbrook, and Wilmington.

State Budget Makes Key Investments to Address Recovery

As COVID-19 and systemic racism continue to exacerbate the racial wealth gap, more is needed to ensure a just economy for all. 

Contact: Molly Tafoya, Director of Communications, The Greenlining Institute, molly.tafoya@greenlining.org; 808-256-7064 (cell) 

(Oakland, CA, July 1, 2021) -- The new fiscal year begins today in California with the FY 21-22 state budget taking effect. Earlier this week legislators passed a historic budget package totaling over $262 billion with investments in education, expanding healthcare access, and economic stimulus, including allocating billions of dollars in federal recovery money to communities still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. These critical and significant budget investments reflect the real needs of the state today, but fail to make the down payment on a just recovery that prioritizes communities hit especially hard. 

“Existing inequities in our society are the result of deliberate policy decisions that we have an opportunity and an obligation to reverse. In turn, our commitment to policies show up in our budget allocations. And, with a historic budget surplus and federal recovery investments, this was the year to get this right,” said Debra Gore-Mann, President and CEO of The Greenlining Institute. “The Greenlining Institute’s budget priorities reflect our ongoing commitment to equity and moving towards a just economy where all can thrive. Unfortunately, this budget fell short.” 

This state budget includes many critical investments that The Greenlining Institute celebrates including expanding Medi-Cal health insurance access to everyone over 50 years of age regardless of immigration status, $8.1 billion in direct relief to Californians, and over $12 billion for various housing and homelessness programs. After a year in which low-income people, particularly people of color, have seen their health and economic well-being devastated by COVID-19, Governor Newsom and legislators made considerable investments to address immediate recovery efforts. 

Unfortunately, the budget ultimately fails to leverage the historic budget surplus to make key, long-term equity investments in the following ways: 

  • Office of Racial Equity: The budget line-item vetoed $10 million in funding for SB 17 which would have funded the creation of an Office of Racial Equity. We are disappointed that Governor Newsom could not reach an agreement with the Legislature, and deprioritized this opportunity to institutionalize their commitments to racial equity with the formation of a dedicated office.
  • Zero funding increases for equitable clean transportation programs: The budget approved $150 million over two years for equitable clean transportation programs--a status quo level of funding from previous years, despite approving the largest single year funding amount ($3.4 billion) for zero-emission-vehicles. This approach of underfunding programs targeted at Californians most in need while also committing large amounts of funds to consumers who don't need financial support to access electric vehicles must change.
  • No transparency on the approved $3.7 billion “Climate Resilience” package: Legislative leaders and Governor Newsom agreed to spend $3.7 billion over three years for climate resilience and adaptation efforts, but the agreement lacks any details. The administration and the Legislature will negotiate these details in the coming days and weeks, adding to what has already been a confusing and frustrating budget process that has left much of the public in the dark as to how spending decisions are being made. Californians deserve more transparency and accountability from our budget process. 

Here are the highlights of the 2021-22 FY Budget as it relates to The Greenlining Institute’s priorities: 

  • Utility Debt Relief. The Greenlining Institute celebrates Governor Newsom and the Legislature's critical commitment to addressing utility debt by providing $1 billion for energy arrearages relief. However, this amount is not enough to protect impacted communities on the long road to recovery. We call on the governor and legislators to protect all Californians from power shut-offs by extending the disconnections moratorium to all those who are still vulnerable to losing energy service, especially during heatwaves and wildfires.
  • Zero Emissions Vehicles. The budget approved $3.4 billion over three years for clean transportation, including $1.4 billion for clean trucks and buses, represents a historic step forward. However, we are disappointed by the status quo level of funding for electric vehicle equity programs compared to the robust commitment of funding to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. The budget approves $525 million over three years for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project which explicitly excludes solely targeting low- and middle-income residents despite multiple studies finding that CVRP mainly benefits higher-income households. While the Greenlining Institute believes that transforming the car market to electric vehicles is important, it is time for the decade-long investment in CVRP to start ramping down, and to shift future investments to programs that prioritize and provide direct benefits to low- and middle-income households.
  • Climate Resilience. In order to advance a true equity budget, legislators need to ensure that community resilience is prioritized alongside natural resource resilience as the details of the budget are finalized through the summer. The budget approved a lump-sum $3.7 billion package for climate resilience but included no details on what is included or how the funding would be disbursed. The Greenlining Institute along with 60+ organizations support the following investments in key, equity-forward programs including: 
    • Transformative Climate Communities (TCC). This innovative program that funds community-led climate projects that integrate clean energy, transportation, affordable housing and more, would be a critical investment that will transform long-neglected neighborhoods into models of economic and environmental sustainability. We urge the Legislature to fully fund TCC at $500 million. 
  • Urban and Community Forestry. California’s urban forests sequester carbon and are critical to helping the most vulnerable populations adapt to climate change, create community resilience and preserve their mental and physical health. The Greenlining Institute calls on the Legislature to invest $200 million for this program.
    • Low-Income Weatherization Program. We encourage legislators to increase their support of the LIWP program to $375 million. This critical program helps low-income households cut their utility bills and improve health and safety while saving energy, creating jobs, and preserving affordable housing. 
    • Urban Greening. Vulnerable populations too often lack access to parks and green spaces within walking distance of their homes. The Urban Greening Program helps to mitigate these inequalities. Governor Newsom’s proposed $200 million over two years represents a solid beginning.
    • Community Resilience Centers. The Greenlining Institute supports the development of a new program for community resilience centers that focuses on placing facilities closest to vulnerable communities that address the growing needs of working class communities of color. As these communities face converging climate, economic, public health crises, we urge leaders to fund this important program at $350 million.
    • Regional Climate Collaboratives. Implementation of SB 1072 (Leyva, 2018) to create the Regional Climate Collaboratives program will build the capacity of local communities to make the transition to a climate resilient future, building community-driven leadership, knowledge, and skills. We urge the governor and legislators to invest $35 million.
    • Vulnerable Communities Platform. The Greenlining Institute calls on the Legislature to invest $5 million under community resilience for this program. The mapping platform will provide California with a tool that holistically and comprehensively displays the data needed to identify communities most vulnerable to climate change impacts.
  • Housing and Rent Relief. Housing unaffordability is an existential crisis facing California’s communities of color. The budget includes $12 billion for housing and homelessness relief over the next two years. While the details are still to be determined, the budget did include $1.75 billion for affordable housing construction, $300 million to preserve existing housing, $130 million for farmworker housing, and $600 million for grants to local governments. The State Legislature and Governor Newsom also announced a deal to extend the eviction moratorium through September 30, and made a commitment to utilize $5.2 billion in federal recovery funds for rent relief.
  • Broadband. The final budget allocation of $6 billion towards open-access middle-mile broadband networks, municipal broadband, and last mile infrastructure is a critical investment that will provide Californians with long-term benefits, while ensuring families can afford the internet while these new networks are built.
  • Stimulus Payments. The budget includes $8.1 billion to Californians with an income up to $75,000 with payments ranging from $500 to $1,100. This is an essential step in ensuring that families still struggling due to COVID-related economic impacts do not fall farther behind. We applaud this investment and look forward to additional innovative thinking to address other areas of racial and social inequality.

“This budget is another step in the long road to recovering from COVID-19, but we cannot and will not return to business as usual,” concluded Gore-Mann. “At The Greenlining Institute, we are committed to ensuring these historic levels of investment are allocated rapidly and equitably so that vulnerable communities are prioritized. Our work over the last three decades has shown us that racial equity will not just ‘happen’. It will be created with intentional, decisive, immediate action.” 

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE works toward a future when 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.

www.greenlining.org

Greenlining Receives Major Gift from MacKenzie Scott to Advance Transformative Racial Equity Agenda

Press Contact:
Molly Tafoya, Director of Communications, The Greenlining Institute, molly.tafoya@greenlining.org, 808-256-7064 (c)

(Oakland, CA)–The Greenlining Institute expresses our profound gratitude for the generous gift from MacKenzie Scott. This significant investment will be transformational in supporting Greenlining’s long-term efforts to build a world 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. These resources will allow us to stabilize the organization for the near term, and lay a strong foundation to expand and accelerate Greenlining’s impact as articulated through our recently adopted strategic plan.

“We are honored to be selected among so many dedicated and deserving organizations. We applaud the efforts to prioritize frontline communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice organizations that are tackling the root causes of economic disparities,” says Greenlining President & CEO, Debra Gore-Mann. “At a time when communities of color are suffering most, we feel an immense responsibility to take intentional, decisive, and immediate action to confront systemic racism at its root. And that massive undertaking requires sustainable resources and investment. This gift invests in Greenlining’s bold, creative, and ambitious vision as we confront the systems that perpetuate inequity.”

As we reflect upon the vast underinvestment in our social infrastructure, we commend MacKenzie Scott’s commitment to redistributing her wealth to communities that have been most undervalued and disenfranchised in our economic system. We recognize MacKenzie Scott for modeling a shift in philanthropy by quickly deploying unrestricted resources and trusting us to focus on the work that we have honed over decades working on issues of economic and climate equity. We look forward to working hand-in-hand with our diverse partners to continue to drive solutions that ensure that race is never a barrier to opportunity.

CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY ADVANCES GROUNDBREAKING LEGISLATION TO LIMIT ALGORITHMIC BIAS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY ADVANCES GROUNDBREAKING LEGISLATION TO LIMIT ALGORITHMIC BIAS

June 1, 2021 – Today, the California State Assembly passed The Automated Decision Systems Accountability Act (AB13), taking a major leadership role in regulating algorithmic decision making systems. AB 13 would encourage businesses and public entities in California that provide benefits or services using artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision systems to establish processes to test for biases during its development and usage. This is a major step forward in requiring that businesses and public entities take responsibility to ensure that racial inequities do not result from their algorithms.

Among the first legislation of its kind in the country, AB 13 will protect Californians from biased and inaccurate automated decision systems by requiring algorithmic accountability for “high-risk” public sector algorithms that impact Californian’s legal rights, employment opportunities, health and access to economic opportunity.The bill now advances to the Senate. 

Vinhcent Le, Technology Equity Legal Counsel of The Greenlining Institute and Board Member of the California Privacy Protection Agency said the following on the bill’s passing out of the Assembly: 

“Inaccurate and biased government AI costs taxpayers millions of dollars, harms disadvantaged communities, and erodes trust in government. AB 13 is an important step in modernizing government systems and ensuring that algorithmic biases don’t harm our state’s most vulnerable residents. We are incredibly proud that California is leading the way to fairer, more equitable technological practices.” 

Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), author of AB-13, further commented: 

“As we seek to rebuild our economy in an equitable way following the COVID-19 pandemic, bills such as AB-13 are more important than ever. This is especially true as government agencies seek to utilize algorithm-driven systems to improve operations and meet the needs of citizens in new ways. It is therefore important that we establish a clear accountability framework to ensure these algorithms do not discriminate against Californians. I’m encouraged that this bill passed out of the Assembly today, and I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to do the same.”

 

Newsom Budget Boosts Revolutionary California Climate Effort

Transformative Climate Communities, Seen as National Model, Gets $420 million Over 3 Years

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

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – In his May budget revision, California Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed a game-changing increase in and stabilization of funding for one of California’s most creative and effective climate programs, Transformative Climate Communities.

Based on legislation passed in 2016, authored by Assemblymember Autumn Burke and sponsored by The Greenlining Institute and the California Environmental Justice Alliance, Transformative Climate Communities offers a model for fighting climate change, building economic prosperity and redressing historic injustices by funding community-developed climate projects in the state’s most under-resourced communities.

“Transformative Climate Communities is unique in two ways,” said Greenlining Institute Vice President of Policy Alvaro Sanchez. “First, it places communities first, requiring that plans and projects be developed with community leadership, based on what residents need and want. Second, unlike most government programs, it puts the pieces together, linking things like clean energy, transportation, affordable housing near transit and more in ways that both cut carbon emissions and create healthier, more liveable, more prosperous neighborhoods.”

“TCC should be a national model for how to do climate policy right, putting communities first and connecting the dots between energy, transportation, housing and jobs,” Sanchez continued. “We applaud the governor for proposing a level of funding in California that can truly tap into this program’s potential, with stable funding of $140 million a year for the next three years. We hope  legislators will go even farther and raise it to the $500 million level that environmental justice advocates have proposed. Congress and the administration should use this as a model as they look at proposals like the Green New Deal for Cities Act.”

TCC elevates community ownership by requiring that all projects develop a collaborative governance structure between stakeholders such as local government, community-based organizations and residents. This ensures that projects are derived from resident-identified needs, assets and visions, and gives community members who know best more ownership over the changes taking place in their own neighborhoods. It also requires applicants to develop plans for community engagement, workforce development, displacement avoidance and climate resilience.

Although hampered by inadequate funding since its inception, TCC has still produced some remarkable results. In Stockton, for example, a $10.8 million TCC grant is funding streetscape improvements, solar installations on over 100 single-family homes and several multi-family housing complexes, energy and water efficiency upgrades for more than 500 households, the planting of over 1,500 trees plus weekly healthy produce boxes for 50 families – simultaneously fighting climate change while providing a better quality of life for residents and promoting jobs and economic opportunities. The Greenlining Institute is presently analyzing TCC’s implementation thus far and will be releasing its findings later this year.

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

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE works toward a future when 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.
www.greenlining.org
@Greenlining