What is risk and who bears it? Typically, risk is assigned to those with the fewest resources. Investments to low-income communities and communities of color are often denied because they are deemed “too risky.” In this webinar, participants challenge those assumptions and discuss strategies that they implement to shift risk to those who can afford to bear it and facilitate the building of wealth in low-income communities and communities of color. Participating in the discussion are:

  • Deborah Frieze, based in Boston, is president and founder of the Boston Impact Initiative, a place-based impact investing nonprofit that aims to close the racial wealth gap by changing the rules of how capital flows through communities of color.
  • Kate Khatib, based in Baltimore, is co-director of Seed Commons, a national network of locally rooted, non-extractive loan funds that support worker co-op development in over two dozen cities.
  • Ojan Mobedshahi, based in Oakland, California, is finance director of East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative, a community-led cooperative that buys and preserves real estate to keep tenants of color in Oakland.

Among the questions explored in this webinar are the following questions:

  • How does contemporary capitalism assign investment risk? In what ways is risk shifted from those who are wealthy to those who are poor?
  • What is integrated capital and how does it different from traditional capital?
  • How does traditional risk assessment impact communities of color and marginalized communities?
  • What are some promising approaches to “de-risk” community-based projects?
  • What does it mean to use non-extractive finance? How does it differ from conventional business lending?
  • What role can public policy play in shifting who bears business risk?
  • What steps can nonprofits and philanthropy take to help change how risk impedes wealth building in low-income and BIPOC communities?


Oscar Perry Abello, “Worker-Owned Cooperatives are Building Their Own Investment Network,” Next City, January 28, 2021.

Steve Dubb, “Redesigning Capital: Cohort Explores New Ways to Finance BIPOC Businesses,” NPQ, October 6, 2021

Samuel M. Gebru and Courtney J. Brunson, 2021-2022 Massachusetts Black Economy Policy Agenda: Envisioning a New Normal, Boston, MA: Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA), May 19, 2021.

Marissa Kendall, “Historic Oakland blues club to get new life as housing, art space,” East Bay Times, October 18, 2021.

Sarah Miller, “Community-Driven Bay Area Alliance Leads to More Sustainable Housing,” NPQ, September 6, 2019.

Astra Taylor and Eleni Schirmer, “Why Debtors Must Organize: Shifting Risk to Where It Belongs,” NPQ, February 22, 2022.