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Building Back Equitably

Allison Kelly
Chief Executive Officer
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ABOVE: Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Reign Free, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Alex Padilla, Luz Urrutia of Accion Opportunity Fund, Allison Kelly, and Accion Opportuniy Fund's Gwendy Donaker Brown, at Red Door Catering in Oakland on April 5th, 2021.

The word intention is important here because ideas, systems and products that were once acceptable as being implicitly fair or inclusive, are now challenged to be explicitly, and intentionally, inclusive. This important distinction has driven ICA’s work since inception and is reflected in the breadth and depth of service we provide to companies: 68% of the high-potential companies ICA has worked with in the last 5 years have been led by people of color; 62% have been led by women, and 87% have been led by a person of color or a woman.

This commitment is ingrained in our mission and reflects the fact that our organization has seen first-hand how lack of support inhibits businesses run by people of color and women from growing at the same rate as their white, male, counterparts. We have also seen how companies thrive when business leaders get the coaching and capital they need. 

Inequity and structural racism run deep in our communities. They show up in our economy and in the ways in which traditional programs and capital pipelines are designed. At ICA we’re working hard to build a continuum of services and investment that brings equity to these pipelines, delivers the services our companies need, and intentionally works to close the persistent, structural gaps that exist in our financial system. 

Earlier this year we launched The Lab at ICA, which is designed to bring resources and capital (a new micro equity product) to earlier-stage, growth-oriented entrepreneurs. These efforts together are intentionally developing a pipeline for our Accelerator, which is designed for growth-stage businesses, seeking growth capital. Together, these advising and investing activities create a continuum of support so local businesses can “build back better and bolder”, as Congresswoman Lee says.

Along our ever-evolving journey to better meet the needs of our community, we’re grateful and humbled by the steadfast support of our funders, partners and community members who continue to help us make this work possible. Thank you.

Allison Kelly is Chief Executive Officer of ICA.

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