It is with great honor and excitement that I assume the role of Board Chair at Boston Impact Initiative. I first want to express my profound gratitude to our visionary founder, Deborah Frieze. She stands as a remarkable and visionary leader in the impact investing and social justice fields, driven by the profound goal of closing the racial wealth gap. Deborah’s systems-change approach has made her a trailblazer and catalyst for place-based investing using integrated capital. She consistently challenges us all to think expansively, to innovate, and to share our learnings, while centering local leaders and communities building just and inclusive economies.
Deborah, thank you for paving the road towards economic justice together with us. Your leadership has truly left a mark on how we collectively move towards a solidarity economy. We are proud to have you as our Founder and President Emerita.
As we embark on this new chapter, I am thrilled to announce our new board officers: I assume the role of Board Chair; Lisa Owens as the Vice Chair; and Betty Francisco as the President and CEO. Additionally, Becky Regan remains the Treasurer, and Rose Felix Cratsley the Secretary of BII. Together, with BII’s staff, we form a passionate and dedicated team ready to lead BII into the future.
Our commitment remains steadfast—to reimagine the economy based on the values of the Solidarity Economy: equity, mutuality, sustainability, democracy, and pluralism. BII stands on solid ground, thanks to our exceptional staff, community partners, investors, and funders. We are confident in the collective strength of our community.
Moving forward, our foremost priority is to continue advancing our mission. We envision a future where entrepreneurs of color and their communities hold the financial, social, and political power to create a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable economy for generations to come. This transition also presents an opportunity for introspection and strategic planning. We will engage in a dialogue around organizational strategic questions that will shape the next phase of BII’s journey.
We invite you to join us on this journey and look forward to building this future together with you.
About Juan Leyton
Juan Leyton is the Director of Organizing at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. NCRC is an association of more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, job creation and vibrant communities for America’s working families. His past work experience includes working for Madison Park Development Corporation, Local Enterprise Assistance Fund, MIT Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) and the Solidago Foundation. He also served as executive director of Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts and City Life/Vida Urbana in Boston, and as director of community building at NeighborWorks America. He has been a Barr Foundation and MIT Community Innovators Lab fellow. He holds master’s degrees in community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University and in public policy from Tufts University.