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Remembering Inez Long

It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that we share the passing of Inez Long, President and CEO of the Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF) Florida, and a cherished board member and co-founder of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs. Inez dedicated her life to empowering Black and minority communities through economic development and support for minority-owned businesses.

Words cannot express the depth of our love and the profound sense of loss we feel. Inez leaves behind an unparalleled legacy of accomplishments through her leadership and unwavering service in advocating for CDFIs, especially Black-led CDFIs.

Inez was not just a visionary CEO of BBIF and our esteemed co-founder and Board member; she was family. Her relentless dedication to equity, her advocacy for Black entrepreneurs and Black-led CDFIs, and her passion for civil rights have left a profound impact on all of us. Her contributions to our community are immeasurable, and her absence will be deeply felt and missed.

“This is a time of mourning for all of us and we cannot adequately express our sorrow and the deep void her passing leaves. Inez’s legacy of leadership, dedication, and compassion has left an indelible mark on our work and our lives,” said Amber Banks-Bond, President of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs. “Inez was a beloved friend and a towering figure in the CDFI community. She was not only a colleague but a mentor and a guiding light for many of us. Her wisdom, kindness and tenacity will be remembered always.”

Through her leadership at BBIF, Inez facilitated transformative changes, expanding access to capital, and creating opportunities for countless entrepreneurs. Her visionary initiatives, such as the establishment of a Community Development Corporation and raising significant funds through the New Markets Tax Credits program, have left a lasting impact on our communities.

In recognition of her exceptional contributions, Inez received the 2020 Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Finance, the highest individual honor in the CDFI industry. Her work continues to inspire and catalyze change, making her a true champion of economic empowerment.

“There are no words to express the void that Inez Long has created in this world with her departure,” said Donna Gambrell, President and CEO of Appalachian Community Capital. “Gone is a woman — a dynamic Black woman — who loved her family, her team, her work and her community. May Inez’s commitment to empowerment, economic self-sufficiency and pride be her legacy.”

We are deeply heartbroken by this loss and extend our heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones. Inez’s legacy of empowerment and community development will live on, inspiring future generations to carry forward her mission.

 

This piece is republished with permission from the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs.

Lenwood V. Long, Sr. is the CEO of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs.

Photo courtesy of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs.

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