Results tagged as "us"

  • Building from Scratch: A New Ecosystem for Chicago’s Small Businesses

    By Jonathan Brereton, CEO, Accion Chicago July 29, 2016 10:30 AM

    Nearly five years ago, the City of Chicago launched the Chicago Microlending Institute (CMI), a program established to train new lenders to make targeted loans to small businesses. For the first time, a city took action to directly invest in the creation of a more robust microfinance ecosystem that could deliver the financing needed by entrepreneurs to spur small business growth.

    After estimating an unfulfilled demand for nearly $28 million in microloans annually -- a funding gap that threatened jobs and economic stability in already vulnerable areas – CMI’s goal was to increase the capital access needed for small businesses to create jobs in communities that needed them most: the low-and-moderate income and communities of color on the south and west sides of Chicago.

    Since its establishment, more than 250 businesses have received loans from the CMI, for a total of $2.6 million, creating or preserving more than 1,000 jobs. Nearly 70 percent of those loans have gone to communities that have historically seen below- average lending activity. Just as importantly, more than 90 percent of those loans supported women and minority entrepreneurs.

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  • Hello, Greater Washington!

    July 26, 2016 10:00 AM

    Jason Fedash, Director of Business Banking for Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
    Mindy Mercaldo, Managing Director, Market President, Central Southeast Division
    Diana Meyer, Sr. Vice President, Metro Washington Marketplace Manager
    Courtney Ward, Managing Director, Markets and Securities Services
    Candi Wolff, EVP, Head of Global Government Affairs

    The City Profiles series is dedicated to highlighting Citi’s history in some of our key markets around the world. We spoke to five Washington, D.C.-based leaders to get their perspectives on Citi’s ongoing involvement in the Greater Washington community.

    What is your favorite milestone from Citi’s history in Washington, D.C., and how do we continue to enable progress in Greater Washington today?

    Courtney: My favorite milestone is our 1976 financing of bonds for the Metropolitan Transit Authority – the Metro. Now, the Metro operates the second largest heavy rail transit system, sixth largest bus network and fifth largest paratransit service in the U.S.

    Diana: In recent years the city of Washington, DC has made a concerted effort to be more inclusive – to be a city where everyone has the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from the local economy. Promoting entrepreneurship, especially in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, is central to that objective. Citi Community Development has been front and center of these efforts and has built long standing relationships with the City and local community organizations to ensure that all entrepreneurs have access to the capital and assistance they need to start businesses and create jobs. For example, Citi has provided significant financial support and expertise to the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), which has made hundreds of loans to small and micro businesses in Greater Washington, creating new jobs in the communities that need them the most.

    Mindy: In 2016, we opened a Citi Smart Banking branch at Dupont Circle. The branch is one of the first in the country to feature state-of-the art technologies like a digital merchandise wall and a workbench concept. Plus, the smart branch staff is equipped to deliver a more engaging experience to our clients.

    Candi: I’m particularly proud of our support for the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation through our title sponsorship of the Citi Open tennis tournament. Every year in July, the WTEF hosts some of the top-ranked players in the world at the Citi Open. A portion of the proceeds from the Citi Open benefits WTEF’s education and tennis programs, which help underserved children and youth in the city. This year, Citi is also providing a new opportunity for the WTEF called “Citi Open Professional Development Day,” an event that will enable a group of WTEF children interested in the inner workings of the sports and entertainment industry to have an opportunity to shadow a series of professionals behind the scenes at the tournament.

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  • A Conversation with Cities: Mayors on Making Innovation Stick

    By Ed Skyler, Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs, Citi and Chairman of the Citi Foundation July 19, 2016 11:00 AM

    The following blog post is part of the City Accelerator initiative, a collaboration between the Citi Foundation and Living Cities that aims to speed the adoption of innovative local government projects within and across cities that will have a significant impact on the lives of their residents, especially those with low incomes.

    In a period of polarized national politics, citizens are increasingly looking to mayors to solve challenges and get things done. As a financial services institution focused on cities, Citi cares deeply about urban areas and we are proud of our efforts, through our Citi for Cities initiative along with Citi Foundation programming, to help cities manage their growth and thrive. We also know that the challenges facing cities are complex, and that it will take the input and best practices from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to successfully identify and implement innovative solutions.

    For 18 months, the cities of Louisville, Nashville, and Philadelphia have been working to address some of their toughest challenges — from the impact of fires in abandoned buildings to low enrollment in taxpayer benefits to homelessness. While the issues are unique to each city, these cities have a common goal to provide quality services that are accessible to all of their citizens. Each city has collaborated with the City Accelerator to construct tailored strategies to approach their specific challenges. Along the way, they have also had an opportunity to share their obstacles and learnings so that these cities – and many others across the country – can benefit from the process.

    Ahead of their final City Accelerator convening in Philadelphia in July, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney reflected on the changes underway in their cities, and how the initiative has helped their cities to lay the groundwork to ensure their cutting-edge efforts can be sustained.

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  • Urban Manufacturing: An Equity Engine

    By Kate Sofis, Founding Executive Director, SFMade July 06, 2016 01:00 PM

    Inside Nana Joes Granola, the popular handcrafted cereal made in San Francisco, is a secret ingredient. Behind every serving is a thoughtful, nurturing team of producers who grow, learn and thrive together.

    Founded by former pastry chef Michelle Pusateri, Nana Joes Granola sells at more than 70 stores. Yet when asked what about her endeavor she’s most proud of, Michelle will tell you, “It’s one of my missions to ensure that none of my employees will ever have to work in entry-level jobs again.” All of Nana Joes’ current employees started out as dishwashers and worked their way up to production staff, including the company’s production manager.

    With a staff composed mainly of Spanish-speakers, Michelle is in the process of hiring a tutor to empower her team to learn English and to help Michelle with her Spanish. No more garbled recipe translations and, more importantly, the staff will learn a vital skill to bolster their resumes wherever they may go in the future.

    Such is the power of local manufacturing – one of the few sectors in an advanced economy capable of paving a path to middle-class jobs for people eager to work their way up from and out of poverty or a subsistence lifestyle. Nana Joes is just one of the more than 650 SFMade member companies that are creating thousands of such sustainable jobs in San Francisco.

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  • Points of Light Recognizes Citi on Civic 50
    List of Most Community-Minded Companies
    in the U.S.

    By Ed Skyler, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs, Citi June 29, 2016 02:45 PM

    When we think about the many ways that Citi makes a difference in our communities, whether by helping get the lights turned back on in Detroit, volunteering in our neighborhoods or helping young people prepare for jobs in today’s economy, we’re always gratified by recognitions from organizations like Points of Light, the largest organization dedicated to volunteer service in the world.

    This year, for the fourth year in row, we’re honored to be included in Points of Light’s Civic 50, an initiative that honors the 50 most community-minded companies in the U.S. This year’s Civic 50 honorees were selected for demonstrating a consistent commitment to helping to address a wide range of societal challenges through volunteerism, responsible business activities and philanthropic support.

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  • 100,000 Kids Later: Celebrating Citi’s Commitment to Youth Financial Empowerment

    By Will Howle, Head of U.S. Retail Banking, Bill Mills, CEO, North America, and Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development June 28, 2016 01:00 PM

    A child with a savings account is four times more likely to graduate from college. That’s the difference a relationship with a financial institution can make. At Citi, we want to be that difference in a child’s life. And that’s why we’re an active member of the Teach Children to Save campaign.

    Teach Children to Save is the banking industry's largest volunteer effort to encourage youth savings. By visiting classrooms, youth centers, after-school programs and more, bankers use their real-world knowledge and professional skills to encourage kids to start young and save more.

    Citi colleagues have a special opportunity to reach out to young people and leverage our expertise as financial professionals to prepare young savers and their caretakers with the tools and knowledge to build strong financial futures. Financial literacy is the pathway to a college education and many other important opportunities, including homeownership and saving for retirement and emergencies.

    In our 16-year partnership with the American Bankers Association, Citi employees have reached over 100,000 young people through the Teach Children to Save initiative.

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  • Marking 96 Years of Arts and Civic Engagement in New York City

    By Mary Arendt, Manager of Internal Communications, Marketing and External Relations, The Metropolitan Museum of Art June 07, 2016 12:00 PM

    At its annual Spring Gala, The Metropolitan Museum of Art salutes leaders in the business sector for their professional accomplishments and dedication to corporate citizenship. This year, The Met is proud to honor Michael Corbat, Chief Executive Officer of Citi, with the Business Committee Civic Leadership Award.

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  • Citi Celebrates Progress for Youth with the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation

    By Kristin Solheim, Director, Federal Government Affairs May 19, 2016 09:30 AM

    On May 6, Citi was once again the title sponsor of the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF) Tennis Ball Gala. The event was the most successful ever – raising more than $1.2 million to benefit the WTEF, its programs, and the children it serves. For more than 60 years, the WTEF has been improving the lives of underserved youth in the DC metro area.

    Citi was proud to demonstrate its commitment to the community by sponsoring the WTEF Tennis Ball and continuing to support this remarkable organization. Through our sponsorship of the Citi Open, the premier tennis tournament in the greater DC area, we’ve partnered with the WTEF to help underserved youth. The WTEF uses tennis as an entry point to share life lessons and to set young people on the path towards reaching their full potential.

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  • Expanding Access to Venture Capital for Women and Minority Entrepreneurs

    By Yemani Mason, Founder and CEO, May 19, 2016 09:00 AM

    Three of the top five metro areas in the country for distressed properties are in my home state of Florida, according to RealtyTrac. But while rehabilitating and reselling homes can result in a lift to neighborhood property values and provide local investors with wealth-building opportunities, the cost of doing so is often prohibitive even for experienced real estate developers. The average person has very limited access to the information and resources they need to safely pursue these types of investments, which is why I started VestMunity – I wanted to create a platform that connects everyday people to accessible investment opportunities.

    I began building my business the same way that many tech startup founders do -- on my own, spending hundreds of hours blueprinting, coding, testing and debugging the VestMunity platform on a single laptop in my home. While at first I was flying solo, I luckily had enough savings to engage contractors to assist with the technical build-out phase. There were more than a few challenges along the way, however, and as costs mounted, I found it increasingly difficult to both finish building the platform and engage the important non-technical aspects of building a business.

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  • Restoring Opportunity for the Long-Term Unemployed

    By Joe Carbone, President and CEO, The Workplace May 10, 2016 01:00 PM

    At first glance, employment in the U.S. appears to be on a slow and steady march of improvement. After reaching a high of 10 percent in 2010, the unemployment rate is now down to half of that amount– nearly reaching the 4.7 percent it was back in April 2006. But this promising trend obscures the ongoing struggles of those for whom being unemployed is in itself the biggest obstacle to finding another job.

    More than a quarter of all unemployed Americans – 2.2 million people, roughly the population of Houston, Texas – have been without a job for 27 weeks or more, and are considered “long-term unemployed.” These workers are predominantly older (ages 55+), and many have a career’s worth of marketable skills and achievements which ought to give them an advantage in their job search; but as the weeks go by, and the time gap since their last job grows wider, prospective employers begin to overlook them in favor of candidates – even less qualified candidates – who currently have jobs or are only recently unemployed. As despair and debt quickly begin to pile up, the consequences are often financially and psychologically devastating, both for the workers and their families.

    In 2011, we sought to take on this complex challenge by launching Platform to Employment (P2E) – a career readiness program which provides the long-term unemployed with the tools, resources and support they need to rejoin the workforce. Participants receive career coaching and professional skills training, such as resume-writing assistance and mock interviews. They gain access to free behavioral health services and, with support from Citi Community Development, receive financial counseling to overcome some of the challenges that result from long-term unemployment. Once participants complete the five week preparatory program, P2E helps participants find jobs with local employers. A dynamic element of the program is providing employers with a financial incentive to consider hiring participants. P2E offers employers an eight-week wage subsidy to cover a participant’s salary while they are given an opportunity to demonstrate they can do the job. Platform to Employment removes the perception of risk for employers, enabling them to evaluate the candidates fairly and without stigma.

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