NH Community Loan Fund honored for its DEI efforts
The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund was recently recognized for its work in the area of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion with a 2023 Sustainability Award from New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility.
In presenting the Community Loan Fund with its Measure What Matters Diversity, Equity and Inclusion award, NHBSR noted: “NH Community Loan Fund is making strides in their justice, equity, diversity and inclusion efforts because everyone is engaged in their mission to empower people with their work. Their efforts provide funding and loans to residents and entrepreneurs who have faced racism and discrimination, paving the way for disenfranchised people to participate in our communities and economy fully.”
The award was presented at NHBSR’s annual NH Sustainability Awards, March 8, at Southern New Hampshire University.
The Community Loan Fund’s President and CEO, Steve Saltzman, said, “We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. This employee-led initiative is a reflection of our deep commitment to a culture of belonging for all genders, races, nationalities, sexual orientations, and identities. Our devotion to this work is key to our values, helping us dismantle economic and social barriers and create innovative financial opportunities for our borrowers.”
As a nonprofit CDFI (community development financial institution) that seeks to create, in its words, “Opportunity. For All,” the Community Loan Fund is part of a movement furthering social and economic justice. It provides loans and education, or training, to people and communities that historically have been disenfranchised, including people of color, people with low incomes and/or disabilities, women, and rural residents.
The organization’s three-year effort has been led by a staff committee chaired by its Change Management Officer and Senior Organizational Trainer, Chris Bourcier. He said he’s particularly proud of the willingness of the Community Loan Fund’s leadership and staff to embed the principles of equity and inclusion throughout each department, and their commitment to unearthing and correcting any inequity and exclusivity that exist.
“This can’t be done without staff understanding the importance of the work and their own role in it. Our staff has taken up that charge collectively, and for many on a very personal level,” Bourcier said.
The Community Loan Fund’s justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion activities have included monthly full-staff live learning sessions, orientation for all incoming staff, team-based dialogues, invitations to and promotion of outside learning opportunities, and resource creation and sharing. Equity and inclusion are being built into processes throughout the organization, including hiring, onboarding, benefits, training, promotion, product development, and program delivery.