The Equity Investment Act passed the House today.
The Equity Investment Act creates the Economic Equity Investment Program administered by Business Oregon with a $15M fund providing grants to culturally-responsive community-based organizations serving individuals suffering from two or more economic equity risk factors. We achieved what we came together to do 19 months ago. We felt the state needed to invest in Black, Indigenous and Latina/o/x communities whose wealth has been stripped and stymied, and who are being economically left behind. The bill centers investment in BIL communities, rural Oregonians, and other economically disadvantaged communities to create a program with the express goal of closing the wealth gap in Oregon.
The bill’s passage is really just the start. The rulemaking will turn these words into a program that puts families in their own homes, helps people launch businesses, and does so equitably for the communities that usually don’t get to achieve the stability and resilience of their peers.
CBOs with experience working with Business Oregon or other agencies on similar programs are encouraged to stay engaged through rulemaking. We’ll continue the Thursday workgroup meeting in a limited capacity going forward. We’ll have next week’s meeting, then transition the meetings to once a month. Reminder, in a future session, we have to request an ongoing funding source for the Program and increase the biennial allocation.
A big thanks to our rural CBOs and community members who helped their Republican representatives see this bill is good for rural communities. The bill passed today with a handful of Republican votes. All House Democrats voted yes. Wilde, Sosa, Fahey, and Smith spoke. We had many other champions along the way this session. Thank you Sen Frederick, Sen Jama, Rep Bynum, Sen Manning, Rep Ruiz, and Rep Meek who were early and often supporters.
And, special, special thank you to Senator Akasha Lawrence Spence and Representative Julie Fahey. Both of these leaders and the whole power of their offices showed up for our communities.