Just Economy Conference – May 3, 2021
Jesse Van Tol, CEO, NCRC
Van Tol 0:01
Good afternoon, or good morning to those of you on the west coast. I’m Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. And on behalf of our staff, our board and NCRC members across the nation, welcome to the 21 just economy conference. This is NCRC’s biggest annual event. This is also an especially big year for NCRC. Because it’s our 30th anniversary this year! 30 years of fighting for a just economy.
Today, we’ve grown into an association of more than 600, community based organizations 637 to be exact, and a community of individuals who support our independent nonprofit research, publishing investigations, training, advocacy in a variety of programs to ensure a just economy for all Americans. You may know us for just one of those things, but I hope you’ll appreciate the scope and impact of our programs and interests. We renovate and build affordable homes for low and moderate income families. We provide counseling business building expertise and capital to entrepreneurs. We train and support housing counselors. We test monitor and challenge discrimination in financial services. And in housing. We facilitate dialogue between financial institutions and community networks to increase lending investments in philanthropy and neighborhoods that need it. Since 2016, those efforts have produced community benefits agreements, with 15 banks worth an astounding $300 billion dollars to the communities we serve committed by those banks. That includes an $88 billion commitment we just announced last week with PNC Bank, our largest community benefits agreement ever. Of course, we also publish essential research and analysis and advocate for policies to close the racial wealth, divide, address inequality, and make adjust economy a national priority and a local reality. You’ll get a sense of that scope over the next couple of days in this conference. And over the next two weeks when our conversations continue in the just economy sessions. Today, nothing makes me prouder than to announce we have more than 2000 people registered for this conference from all over the country. It’s the biggest turnout ever for this conference. And it’s especially meaningful to us to have you with us on our 30th anniversary fighting for a just economy. And we’ve got a great program scheduled this week, including a lineup of speakers who will begin in a moment more than two dozen lightning talks short one speaker sessions, and also time scheduled so you can meet each other and share ideas with other conference participants. Then we go deep on many other topics starting Wednesday and adjust economy sessions. There are people here today who have been with NCRC in the fight for a just economy for as long as we have existed. And there are others who are with us for the first time. For those of you who are with us every year. Thank you. Thank you for your continuing commitment and support for our work. If you’re new to this conference, or new to NCRC, thank you for showing up for your curiosity and interest in a just economy. I hope what you see in here will inspire you to do more to become a member, either as an organization or as an individual, and then get involved and support our work. And our programs. Join today – ncrc.org/membership.
Of course, I hope we’ll be able to meet in person next year, and feel good about that. But this year, we’re here on our screens socially distanced, in the middle of a catastrophe, a devastating pandemic. That’s now into its second year. That’s also why I’m fired up even more this year, to propel us into the recovery and make the recovery and reinvention that will take many more years after this. a year from now, if things go well with vaccinations, I hope we’ll be able to meet face to face. But even then, we’ll still be talking about recovery and how to not only rebuild but rethink systems that were broken before COVID. That’s the course we’ve got to set now. That’s why a conference and a national network of leaders committed to a just economy matters so much. Also why this conference begins not with a speech but with a commitment and an invitation to you. Because where our nation goes next depends on all of us. So today we’re introducing the just economy pledge. The invitation is for you to join me and take the pledge, sign your name to it, and share it and ask others to join you got a bill we’re pushing for in Congress or some kind of new rule for banks or housing regulators. It’s a simple statement of vision, a set of principles expressed in simple language to guide and shape and united around the nation. We want to just economy pledges a commitment to ourselves into our children, to call to action to government, business, nonprofit faith, and foundation leaders and to individuals everywhere to imagine create a just economy to wait for different organizations, networks and business leaders focused on so many critical challenges to join hands to unite and rally our collective will around a common idea. I’m committed and I hope you’ll take the pledge with me, urge the companies and organizations you do business with to sign the pledge, and then live up to it, embrace it. Tell our leaders at every level. This is what we expect for America. This is what building back better looks like. We need to end all forms of discrimination inequality in business and community life. We need to unite to advance equitable and inclusive access to credit capital jobs, housing, health, education, knowledge, financial security and personal well being. Our leaders, our institutions, and ourselves can make a commitment to that. So we are, please join me then share with your colleagues at work, your CEO, your staff, your teammates, your friends, family, business, and political leaders to sign the just economy pledge. The minute, then live up to it, pursue it. Ask everyone you know to sign and commit to it. It’s online, adjust pledge.org. Now, as we get into our first session, a few reminders. Please use the chat to interact with your fellow attendees and pose any questions you may have. If you have any technical difficulties, you can reach the support team through the support button on the navigation bar. On the left side of your screen. Please share what you hear on social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or hashtag everywhere is hashtag just economy. New this year, we have a conference game, check out event game in the navigation bar to see more details and compete against your fellow attendees for a chance at awesome prizes just by participating in the conference. Finally, I want to thank all of the sponsors of the just economy conference. You can see them listed on the conference website or app. And in particular, I want to give a shout out to our platinum and diamond sponsors, which include Morgan Stanley, Truist financial City Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Santander, Wells Fargo, and Aqua.