Long Beach, CA – The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion (LBCEI) announces the successful culmination of their search process with the hiring of a new President/CEO: Byron K. Reed, former SVP and Head of Community & Local Government Relations for CIT/One West Bank. Starting in July 2021, Mr. Reed will utilize his vast community and economic development experience to continue building the capacity and impact of LBCEI’s programs that serve LBCEI’s mission to expand inclusive economic opportunities to build and sustain wealth for all communities in Long Beach. “As the first President/CEO of the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion, I am extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity to lead the organization around this critical work” says Reed.
Reed has a long history of community involvement, with specific expertise in economic inclusion. At CIT/One West Bank, Reed oversaw a multi-million dollar annual philanthropic grant budget and partnered with key regional elected officials, civic/community leaders, the faith-based community and other nonprofit partners by hosting community forums to educate the community on the multitude of products & services offered by the bank. Reed also currently serves as the Board Chairman of West Angeles CDC, is an active board member of the Los Angeles Urban League, and volunteers his executive expertise to several other nonprofit organizations locally.
“Byron Reed has deep expertise in economic inclusion efforts, and we are just thrilled that he has accepted the charge of expanding this work in our community. He’s had a very successful career doing community development work in the private sector, and I think it makes him uniquely qualified to bridge the gap here in Long Beach to build economic opportunities for all.” – LBCEI Board President, Bob Cabeza
In June 2019, the Long Beach City Council unanimously approved the ‘Everyone In’ Implementation Plan, which included a recommendation to support the establishment of a Community Development Corporation (CDC) that facilitates economic development at the neighborhood-level. Following its approval, Wells Fargo provided a seed grant that was matched by the City of Long Beach to support the CDC’s startup process. With a clear direction set and funding secured, the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion was launched in March of 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic grew in severity and in economic impact, LBCEI quickly began work to meet the growing economic challenges facing our city, especially in the hardest hit underserved communities of North, Central and West Long Beach.
In its first year, LBCEI responded to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 by directing more than $750,000 in resources in the areas of Small Business support, Food Security, Digital Inclusion and Housing Services. Some of the highlights in the first year of the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion include:
- Small Business Support – created a Business Navigator program that over the last 12 months has provided support to more than 150 small businesses; launched a small business economic resiliency program called CEO Forum for minority and women owned businesses; partnered on a collaborative technical assistance program called GO Digital that served 50 small businesses in low-income communities and served as a Kiva Loan trustee to provide no-interest loans to businesses facing challenges caused by the shutdown
- Food Security – created the Long Beach Food Support Network, comprised of 11 community organizations, primarily churches and nonprofits that over the past 13 months has provided free food and produce to more than 1,500 households a week; organized a senior food delivery program that served more than 300 low-income homebound seniors during COVID; supported the city’s COVID education and vaccine distribution efforts through the Food Network
- Digital Inclusion – provided free or low-cost internet to more than 200 students in partnership with Long Beach City College and the YMCA Early Childhood Education program; provided 100 hotspots and laptops to low-income families in partnership with the City of Long Beach Digital Inclusion task force
- Housing Support – partnered with HUD certified counselors to provide free counseling for residents facing home loan challenges and home ownership issues
Overall, in its first year LBCEI partnered with more than 25 community organizations to direct resources and support to organizations and individuals in underserved communities of North, Central and West Long Beach.
Reflecting on the work ahead of him, Reed says “Now more than ever Economic Inclusion is critical in order to create an equitable environment for positive growth and impact throughout the City of Long Beach.”
For additional information about LBCEI, visit www.lbcei.org.