The United States is leading a transformative shift towards an inclusive green climate economy and investing substantial resources to combat the disproportionate impact of climate change on communities of color. Beyond mitigating the effects of climate change, these investments will also generate jobs and new contracting opportunities.

As the green economy takes center stage, we have an opportunity to build a diverse pipeline of businesses, develop the workforce, and support community development finance institutions (CDFI) that uplift underserved communities. From the installation of renewable energy systems to sustainable construction to electric vehicle infrastructure, The Center is focused on ensuring diverse small business owners can seize these opportunities through education, technical assistance, and access to competitive financing through several initiatives.

Launching in March, The Center’s new Contractors Accelerator for Climate Resilience will equip diverse owned businesses with the tools and resources to access new revenue opportunities, raise capital, and accelerate business growth. The accelerator will focus on contractors interested in working on renewable energy and green infrastructure projects in the residential, commercial, and public utility sectors across California.

In addition to programming, The Center is advancing strategies to develop and strengthen the small business ecosystem. Of over 500 host applicants nationally, The Center was one of 65 sites selected to host a fellow for Economic Recovery Corps (ERC). ERC is a new collaborative initiative designed to accelerate recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in under-resourced communities. The program connects organizations, like The Center, with the talent and capacity needed to advance innovative approaches to economic growth.

The Center’s new fellow, Frances Weiner, is an entrepreneur and seasoned business development consultant. For nearly a decade, she has collaborated with businesses, non-profit organizations, and community leaders to build conscious change.

Frances Weiner, Economic Recovery Corps Fellow

Over the next 30 months, Frances will research and develop tools, resources, and strategies aimed at creating healthier and wealthier communities of color and underinvested rural communities. She will develop a toolbox for community development organizations to build the capacity of diverse-owned businesses to acquire zero-emission technologies. Led by The Center, this work is a collaboration with the City of San Fernando, City of Pasadena, Blue Sky Center, and Cuyama Valley in Central California.

Frances shared what she is looking forward to: “I am excited about developing climate resilient communities and working alongside talented professionals, local organizers, and changemakers to solve the biggest challenges of our future. I am eager to apply my psychology, entrepreneurial and community development experience in a new way alongside The Center and hope to move the needle on the creation of climate resilient communities.”

Learn more about the project and the ERC fellowship at

February 22, 2024

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