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The BIPOC Loan Fund is helping small Tucson businesses

A community group in Tucson is working to help small businesses that identify as at least 50% BIPOC — Black, Indigenous and people of color — get access to loans.

The fund was started in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

At that time, the Community Investment Corporation was trying to figure out how it could best help the community and affect change in Tucson. To do that, it started a pool of money with its employees to give to local businesses. Then the group brought together community leaders to manage the loan fund.

Keneshia Raymond is one of them. She’s director of programs and access to capital at Startup Tucson. But, as she’s quick to point out, neither she, nor her colleagues managing the fund, have any banking experience.

The BIPOC Loan Fund started with around $100,000 and gave out 15 loans in the first round. It’s now a revolving fund that reviews applications monthly.

The Show spoke with Raymond to learn more about it. She talked about how the group of fund managers figured out how to do what it wanted to do — both with the logistics of it, but also the idea of how they wanted to distribute the money, to whom and for what.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.