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Redefining Debt Dynamics: How to Create a Transparent Lender-Borrower Relationship

Jaclynn Coussa May 27, 2021

Access to loan capital isn’t equitable. The traditional financial sector plays a role in creating and sustaining systemic racial inequality by restricting credit access – curtailing the ability of entrepreneurs of color to to build assets and net worth. 

Carl Phinney, Principal/Owner of Opportunity Construction, a current REDF Impact Investing Fund (RIIF) borrower and grantee, has overcome these hurdles to accessing credit to grow his social enterprise that hires people striving to build a better life and overcome barriers to employment, including those who have experienced incarceration. He brings a unique perspective and invaluable lens that, together with input from other borrowers, has informed RIIF’s practices. Carl will join Emilie Linick, Director of Impact Lending, in a candid conversation about pain points uncovered in our underwriting process and the hard-won lessons learned on our journey to become a more equitable, transparent lending partner. 

We’ll also share how RIIF is working to expand outreach and lending to under-resourced entrepreneurs of color by taking a deep look at our application and underwriting processes, checking ourselves for bias, and exploring non-traditional assessment criteria that takes into account lived experience when making a credit decision.


Fireside Chat

Meta Themes

  • Impact Investing

  • Equity & Inclusion


Purpose and Desired Outcome

Attendees will: Assess their lending practices Learn from RIIF’s fail-forward experiences Connect with like-minded lenders and engage in conversation about accessible practices Know what to look for in a lending relationship


  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Entrepreneurs

  • Intermediaries (Financial Advisers, Investment Bankers)


  • NameCarl Phinney
  • TitlePrincipal/Owner
  • OrganizationOpportunity Construction
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameEmilie Linick
  • TitleDirector of Impact Lending
  • OrganizationREDF Impact Investing Fund
  • StatusConfirmed
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