Image credit: Michael Isabell
We recorded this week’s episode with Aisha Benson in late May, before the death of George Floyd and the protests and unrest that followed. But the interview speaks strongly to the national discussion that’s playing out now, highlighting one way our system can begin to correct the economic injustices felt by African-Americans and other marginalized people.
Aisha is a senior executive at TruFund Financial Services, a non-profit financial organization (also known as a Community Development Financial Institution or CDFI) that facilitates loans and economic development in underserved communities. Her work includes putting money and financial services within reach of minority-owned businesses that might not otherwise qualify under the existing banking system.
“Minority businesses… they need support,” she says. “They are already historically marginalized and underserved with respect to traditional financing. Many are operating in communities with high poverty and unemployment levels. They’re dealing with cultural and language barriers in some cases. And now compounding that, with the effects of Covid-19 which has disproportionately impacted communities and people of color, we really need a vast array of economic supports and tools to combat the inequity.”
Along with her husband Pastor Edward Benson, Aisha has six kids and two grandkids. In this episode, she talks about her family and spiritual life, what she loves about Beacon and the work she is doing on behalf of disadvantaged people.
“When you’re able to… help an entrepreneur that has a vision, an entrepreneur that may not have had the resources that would have helped them to realize the vision were it not for us, I enjoy it so much,” she says. “I get great satisfaction from helping those business owners, but also to see communities revitalized.”