LBCEI board

Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion founding Board of Directors, from left, Rev. Wayne Chaney, Vivian Shimoyama, Sharon Diggs-Jackson, Bob Cabeza and Darick Simpson. Not pictured: Juan Benitez.

An idea first conceived a year ago became reality last week with creation of the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI).

A founding board, led by chair Bob Cabeza, took office and immediately appointed Jeff Williams as the interim director of the agency. Williams is the former executive director of Leadership Long Beach.

The LBCEI is a central component of the Everyone In Economic Inclusion Plan, an effort spearheaded by Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson. It will act as a Community Development Corporation, and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit group providing help to small business owners, workforce development among youth, home ownership and more to make economic opportunity available to more communities.

"With so much economic uncertainty for Long Beach, the timing is right for a Community Development Corporation to step up in ensuring small businesses and working families are a key focus of our relief and recovery efforts," Richardson said. "I want to thank and congratulate the founding Board of Directors as well as our initial funding partner Wells Fargo Foundation for partnering to launch this important organization."

Cabeza is the recently retired senior vice president for community development at the Long Beach area YMCA. Other board members are:

• Juan Benitez, Director, CSULB Center for Civic Engagement;

• Rev. Wayne Chaney, Pastor, Antioch Church of Long Beach;

• Sharon Diggs-Jackson, at-risk Youth advocate, retired City of Long Beach;

• Vivian Shimoyama, Founder, Breakthru Solutions (Small Business Advocate);

• Darick Simpson, Director, Miller Foundation, formerly of Long Beach Community Action Partnership.

For more information, email Miller at

—Harry Saltzgaver

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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