Revolutionizing an equitable economy for all

Black-owned businesses are two times as likely to be denied loans as white-owned businesses, with four in 10 completely denied loans and lines of credit on average. Mercy Partnership Fund investee Revolutionary Economy for All Local People’s Fund (REAL People’s Fund) is helping Black-owned businesses, and businesses owned by other communities of color, access the financing they need for their businesses to thrive.

REAL People’s Fund, a community organization generating economic power and expanding opportunity for entrepreneurs of color in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in California, addresses systemic failures preventing entrepreneurs in BIPOC communities from accessing needed financing. As a collaboration of six grassroots organizations, the fund connects Bay Area organizers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and financial activists committed to building power of entrepreneurs of color to make meaningful and measurable economic impact, alongside business advisory services from Uptima Entrepreneur Cooperative, fund administration from Community Vision, and program development and management from RUNWAY.

The fund has helped Reem’s, an Arab street corner bakery and worker-owned cooperative in Oakland, actualize visions of a resilient community with good jobs, equitable opportunities, and holistic spaces connecting cultures and experiences. Launched in 2015, Reem’s brought a community home to the heart of Fruitvale Station in Oakland. During the start of the COVID pandemic, they partnered with the nonprofit World Central Kitchen to produce more than 100,000 meals for homeless populations and frontline workers, a testament to their commitment to the intersections of food and social justice. While building the business, Reem’s became a worker-owned profit-sharing cooperative to advance opportunities for employees alongside the business’s success.

One of more than 60 Mercy Partnership Fund investees, the REAL People’s Fund continues to be a catalyst in investing toward a collective vision of equity, care, accessibility, and power building for people of color, as well as a trailblazer within the larger movement toward an inclusive and restorative economy for all. Read more about the impact of Mercy Partnership Fund’s investees around the world.

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