The Center by Lendistry is a nonprofit organization that supports diverse small businesses through education, technical assistance, and access to competitive financing. Our mission is to close the racial wealth gap by anchoring small businesses and the communities where they do business.
Who We Are
Small businesses owned by women and people of color disproportionately face barriers to success. Historically, the adverse impacts of economic and financial policies have resulted in an opportunity gap in entrepreneurship, housing, and community development. As a Black women-led nonprofit organization, The Center by Lendistry exists to bridge this gap by providing the resources, technical assistance, and access to equitable lending for diverse small businesses to succeed. Our staff and advisors are driven by a commitment to helping communities access opportunities and solutions for sustainable growth.
The Center is a strategic partner to Lendistry, a minority-led, technology-enabled Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides loans and other financial products to underserved small business owners.
Vice President of Strategy & Operations
As VP of Strategy and Operations, Miranda leads program strategy, resource development and day-to-day operations for The Center. She is an impact-oriented leader passionate about advancing equitable economic development and wealth building strategies in low-income communities of color across the U.S. Prior to joining The Center, Miranda managed a robust set of economic inclusion and capacity building initiatives as Deputy Director at LISC LA. She brings 15 years of diverse experience in program design and implementation, budget management, and partnership development in the community economic development field to support The Center’s growing portfolio.
Senior Program Manager
Christopher is a seasoned community development practitioner. He has 10 years of community development experience in the most critical Los Angeles neighborhoods. Prior to joining The Center, he worked with numerous partner organizations and government entities to transform small businesses in the communities they serve. Christopher’s dedication to community impact and business innovation has expanded small business leadership, community engagement and influenced new business models stimulating local economies.
Christopher is a graduate of San Jose State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in behavioral science with a focus on community change and business management. He is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in project management at Harvard University and is a Certified Scrum Master.
Senior Project Manager
Marina Garcia brings 10+ years of project management experience across various industries. She has a proven record of building strong strategic relationships with clients, C-Suite, partners, and colleagues that have resulted in meeting and exceeding goals. Her skills derive from work in industries such as social security disability law, tax credits and incentives consulting, advertising, cost savings consulting, and most recently, non-profit. Marina developed a new operating department at Disability Group, Inc. that assisted Veterans and disabled Americans in obtaining disability benefits. During her time with Profit Recovery Partners, she identified and implemented $33M in cost savings, which was used to support job creation and security for businesses across the country. Most recently, Marina serves as the lead from The Center for the LA County Rent Relief Program that is providing $68.6M in grants to qualified landlords to help mitigate the detrimental economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marina attended the University of Illinois at Chicago where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication, with a minor in psychology.
Small Business Program Associate
Ritzy Mullings is a Small Business Program Associate with a passion for program management. In her role, she works with small businesses in underserved communities where she plans, coordinates, updates, and documents multi-phase projects. Ritzy’s adaptability and ability to acquire new skills quickly have been pivotal in her role. As a first generation American, with non-English speaking parents, she has firsthand knowledge of the unique challenges faced by small business owners of diverse backgrounds. This personal experience fuels her commitment to helping The Center’s clients succeed.
Senior Legal Counsel
As Senior Legal Counsel, Rob supports program and organizational legal compliance for The Center. Before deciding to obtain his law degree in 2005, Rob worked for several years for companies holding contracts with the federal government, primarily related to law enforcement and defense. He lived for six months in the United Kingdom, where he was responsible for standing up an office to run a contract for the U.K. Ministry of Defence. He is married and has two children, five grandchildren, and two dogs: a German Shepherd and a Cairn Terrier. Rob enjoys reading, traveling, puzzles, and learning. He is conversant in Spanish and Japanese.