The Quality Jobs Fund, which was created by the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and is led and managed by the New World Foundation, provided its first investment—$5 million to the Central Valley Fund. The Davis-based investment firm provides flexible capital solutions that facilitate the expansion of small- and medium-sized businesses, creating quality jobs and training employees for better positions.
A press conference was held at Utility Telecom in Stockton, which has received $8.75 million from the Central Valley Fund to help expand its operations.
“Many companies like Utility Telecom can expand and create quality jobs if they have access to capital,” said José Blanco, Managing Partner at the Central Valley Fund. “We thank FHLBank San Francisco for making this extraordinary commitment to workers.”
FHLBank San Francisco seeded the Quality Jobs Fund (QJF) with a $100 million charitable contribution to facilitate quality job creation, finance small business expansion, and support job training in its three-state district of Arizona, California, and Nevada, and in other communities nationally. The groundbreaking initiative will improve the wealth-building potential of working families, help generate future homebuyers, and serve as a catalyst for sustainable, long-term community development programs, especially those in underserved communities.
Specifically, the QJF is supporting innovative programs that upskill low-income workers in vital industries and that finance the expansion of businesses creating quality jobs. QJF investments will focus on helping to increase wages for working families, thereby increasing the pool of potential homebuyers and helping sustain vibrant communities.
Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) noted that FHLBank San Francisco was charted by Congress to help local lenders invest in jobs, housing, and economic growth in their communities. “Through an ongoing partnership with FHLBank San Francisco,” he said, “we can attract more investment and resources to our area, and I look forward to continuing to work together to expand economic development opportunities in our community.”
Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs said the Quality Jobs Fund can provide critical access to capital for small businesses. “For too long, our nation has overlooked small businesses, which are the economic engine creating jobs,” he said. “Stockton residents appreciate the investments that are strengthening our community. The FHLBank San Francisco should be applauded for being a good corporate partner to small businesses and their workers.”
Moreover, Greg Seibly, President and CEO of FHLBank San Francisco, said that after two years of research it became clear that fresh ideas were needed on how to increase the pool of potential homebuyers and that effort had to fortify the financial security of working families.
“The U.S. economy struggles to create quality jobs that offer wages high enough to allow working families to purchase homes in safe, nurturing communities where they can raise their families,” he said. “FHLBank San Francisco began this process two years ago with research on what strategies best fuel successful job creation and small business expansion. It’s exciting to move ahead and start supporting programs and seeing results that will enhance the quality of life for working families.”
The Central Valley Fund’s investments in companies like Initiative Foods in Sanger, California, sustain and create quality jobs for their workers.
After growing up in the Los Angeles area, Antonia Flores moved to the Central Valley in 2004, where the high school dropout with four daughters began working at Initiative Foods as an inventory clerk earning $10 an hour. Ms. Flores, now 48, got her GED, took accounting classes at a community college, and now earns $26 an hour as an inventory accounting supervisor, overseeing much of the company’s accounting work. She is putting her two oldest daughters through college.
“Give people a chance,” Ms. Flores said, “I would love it if more investments helped small companies be successful … when we see support, it gives us that light of hope. Knowing that we’re not alone, and we have help is motivating. It’s hard for small businesses to get help. There are a lot of people who have dreams, not just for themselves, but for their employees. Helping small businesses means helping the communities they are in."
Citing the QJF investment in Central Valley Fund, Lawrence H. Parks, Senior Vice President, Legislative and External Affairs, for FHLBank San Francisco, called it critically important to make investments with companies with track records in expanding quality jobs. “There is so much that is not working,” Mr. Parks said. “The Bank understands that the health of a community depends on creating more quality jobs and increasing homeownership. That scenario gives residents a stake in the well-being of their neighborhood and a path to make their communities strong and sustainable.”
Colin Greer, President of the NWF, applauded FHLBank San Francisco, saying the QJF will enhance the quality of life for working families. “The decision by FHLBank San Francisco to imagine, finance, and bring into being this investment in the futures of children and families in our nation’s low-income communities sets an important example for corporate leaders in the banking, finance, and philanthropic sectors,” he said.