wells fargo donation

Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson, right, accepts a giant check from Natasha Mata, Wells Fargo West Region President, while Darick Simpson, Community Action Partnership executive director, looks on.

Wells Fargo stopped the music for just a bit Saturday at the Uptown Jazz Festival, but the crowd cheered anyway.

That's because representatives from the bank were handing over a giant check representing a $175,000 investment in North Long Beach. It is part of the Everyone In campaign started two years ago by Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson.

According to its published implementation plan: "Everyone In is a call to action to all segments of the Long Beach community to reevaluate how we engage in economic development so that we are putting every resident, in every part of town, at the center of our efforts," and the new Community Development Corporation (CDC) will have a primary focus of "expanding opportunity and improving the overall quality of life, through economic development goals, social, and health objectives."

Richardson said the goal is economic inclusion that includes everything from housing to business opportunities. On June 11, the City Council agreed to implement that plan, with promises ranging from efforts to make it easier for small companies to get city contracts to assistance setting up the CDC.

That Community Development Corporation is the biggest beneficiary of Wells Fargo's donation — $115,000 of the money will go directly to setting up the help group. Another $50,000 was spent in an Everyone In Phase II outreach grant and Wells Fargo paid $10,000 to sponsor last year's Everyone In economic inclusion summit.

The Long Beach Community Action Partnership, which has its headquarters in the Ninth Council District, is acting as the financial administrator for the CDC. Executive Director Darick Simpson said the stated goals for the CDC fit well with the Community Action Partnership's mission of raising community members up.

"One of its goals is small business development," Simpson said. "We're teaching our youth to be entrepreneurs, and we work to create internships… We're glad to be a part of the CDC."

Simpson said that the Community Action Partnership would be the conduit for donations, but would not administer CDC programs. Everyone In partners, led by Tnua Thrash-Ntuk, still are working on the CDC structure. The Everyone In report targets October this year to launch the CDC, with hiring of a director and staff in the next months.

But there are plenty of goals for the entity. There are seven broad areas of activity — housing and home ownership, entrepreneurship and small business support, workforce and youth development, economic resiliency, creative placemaking (including coordinating the Uptown Jazz Festival), urban agriculture and sustainability, and working with the Uptown Property Business Improvement District.

When the council agreed to the implementation plan, it committed city staff to help with the process, including setting up the CDC. For more information about Everyone In, or to become involved, go to the city's Economic Development Department, 562-570-6099, or the Long Beach Community Action Partnership, 562-216-4600.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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