| By Valerie Dominguez
WASHINGTON – In conjunction with today’s annual Freedman’s Bank Forum, U.S. Secretary of the
Treasury Janet L. Yellen announced the inaugural members of the Treasury Advisory Committee on
Racial Equity. San Antonio leader and LiftFund founder, Janie Barrera was selected as one of 25
members. Mayor Nirenberg was also in attendance today, serving on a panel to speak about San
Antonio’s efforts to advance racial equity through the American Rescue Plan Act.
The first-of-its-kind committee will provide advice and recommendations to Secretary Yellen and Deputy
Secretary Wally Adeyemo on efforts to advance racial equity in the economy and address acute
disparities for communities of color.
Toward that end, the Committee will identify, monitor, and review aspects of the domestic economy
that have directly and indirectly resulted in unfavorable conditions for communities of color. The
Committee plans to address topics including but not limited to: financial inclusion, access to capital,
housing stability, federal supplier diversity, and economic development.
“A critical piece of executing on our racial equity goals is bringing a wide set of outside perspectives and
lived experiences to the decision-making table,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen. “The
Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, made up of members with wide-ranging backgrounds
and expertise, will provide important insight and advice to leadership across the department to bolster
and inform our equity efforts.”
The 25 inaugural members of the Committee come from a wide range of backgrounds including
academia, advocacy, financial services, and local government. Members share a common experience
with and working knowledge of the implications of economic policy decisions on communities of color,
as well as a deep commitment to advancing racial equity.
“For nearly 3 decades, LiftFund’s mission has been to level the financial playing field for communities by
supporting their heart: small businesses. We’ve learned that affordable funding and business support
can build up families for generations. It is my honor to serve on this committee to make sure that the
struggles of small business owners, especially those who have been historically underserved, are heard and that more opportunities are created for them,” says LiftFund founder, Janie Barrera.
Michael Nutter, the David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs at Columbia University and the former Mayor of Philadelphia, will serve as chair of the Committee and Felicia Wong, the President and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, will serve as vice-chair.
“I am deeply honored to have been asked to serve, and provide leadership, for this inaugural effort,” Nutter said. “The creation of this Committee is a shining example and testament to the commitment of Secretary Yellen, Deputy Secretary Adeyemo, Counselor Bowdler, and so many others in the Treasury Department who are focused on the task at hand – how do we find, focus and factor into programs and policies the issue of racial equity. Equity, combined with opportunity, can mean prosperity for all Americans, and especially for so many of us who are members of communities of color. Secretary Yellen and Deputy Secretary Adeyemo have truly created an esteemed group of professionals, practitioners and partners in the struggle for racial and economic equity, and I cannot wait to get to work.”
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Advisory Committee, and for the leadership of Secretary Yellen, Deputy Secretary Adeyemo, Counselor Bowdler, and many others to make racial equity central to the Treasury Department’s mission,” Wong said. “Any efforts to address inequality in the United States must account for the legacy of racial exclusion built into our economy. I look forward to working with this distinguished group of leaders to propose ways to harness Treasury’s power and authority to redress these harms, toward a more just and equitable future.”
Members will serve a two-year term and will work alongside Treasury’s Counselor for Racial Equity, Janis Bowdler. The Committee’s charter is established under agency authority and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).
The Committee is a product of Treasury’s department-wide equity assessment last year, in which the team identified a goal of creating an institutionalized way to gather on-the-ground insights and recommendations on racial equity efforts.
Inaugural Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity Members:
Michael Nutter, David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs, Columbia University and former Mayor of Philadelphia (Chair)
Felicia Wong, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Roosevelt Institute, Roosevelt Forward (Vice-Chair)
Nicole Anand, Deputy Director, Inclusive Action for the City
Janie Barrera, Founder, LiftFund Inc.
Nicole Borromeo, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Alaska Federation of Natives
Dorothy Brown, Professor of Law, Georgetown University
William (Bill) Bynum, Chief Executive Officer, Hope Enterprise Corporation, Hope Federal Credit Union, Hope Policy Institute
David Clunie, Executive Director, Black Economic Alliance
Gary Cunningham, President & CEO of Prosperity Now
Nicole Elam, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Bankers Association (NBA)
John Friedman, PDBF Distinguished Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs, Brown University
Gilbert Garcia, Managing Partner, Portfolio Manager, Garcia Hamilton & Associates, L.P.
Bulbul Gupta, President & CEO, Pacific Community Ventures
Darrick Hamilton, University Professor and Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, The New School
Michael McAfee, President and CEO, PolicyLink
Michael Miebach, CEO, Mastercard
Gina Nisbeth, Founder and President, 9th & Clinton Advisory
Lorella Praeli, Co-President, Community Change & Community Change Action
José Quiñonez, Founding CEO, Mission Asset Fund
Carlos Rangel, Chief Investment Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF)
Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, Co-Founder, Known Holdings & CFO, East Bay Community Foundation
Amanda Renteria, Chief Executive Officer, Code for America
John Rogers, Founder, Chairman & Co-CEO, Ariel Investments
Chiling Tong, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (National ACE)
Barika Williams, Executive Director, The Association for Neighborhood Housing & Development (ANHD)
About Janie Barrera
Ms. Janie Barrera is the Founder of LiftFund. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has grown to become one of the largest small business lenders in the United States. A small business advocate and economic first responder, LiftFund provides loans and business counseling to enterprises of all kinds— from startups to long‐established businesses — and operates in 15 states. Since its inception, LiftFund has disbursed more than $438 million in funding to over 18,000 small businesses – with an impressive 96% repayment rate. Ms. Barrera has worked hard to level the financial playing field for entrepreneurs, who historically have faced considerable obstacles when seeking the financing they need to start and grow their businesses.
Ms. Barrera has received nationwide recognition for her accomplishments, including the Small Business Administration Financial Services Advocate of the Year and the Minority Enterprise Development Consortium’s Corporate Advocate of the Year. The San Antonio Business Journal listed Ms. Barrera as one of “Twenty Defining Players: People Who Have Helped Shape the City.”
Ms. Barrera has served on many national, state, and local boards, including the Federal Reserve Board’s National Consumer Advisory Council. President Barack Obama appointed Ms. Barrera to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, and she was named to the board of directors for the Federal Reserve of Dallas’ San Antonio Branch. In 2015, Ms. Barrera was named to the San Antonio Business Hall of Fame. This year, Ms. Barrera was awarded the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) Impact Award, for being a trailblazer in implementing technological infrastructure in micro-finance work.
LiftFund is a nonprofit small business lender that transforms lives by opening doors and leveling the financial playing field in entrepreneurship. Established in 1994, LiftFund provides responsible
capital and business education to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. LiftFund has supported San Antonio small business owners with over $77.8 million in small business loans since 1994. Since its inception, LiftFund has served over 18,000 small businesses with more than $438 million in funding across its 15-state footprint, which includes: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, New York, and Texas.