Bank on DC

Attending school in the District of Columbia, Josh has a unique perspective on the role anchor institutions such as universities play in their communities. D.C. has some of the highest income disparity in the nation. In one quadrant one can find extreme wealth – multimillion-dollar homes, low crime, and prestigious universities that have luxurious residence halls with names like “Ivory Tower.” In an adjacent quadrant, extreme poverty, high crime, food deserts, and homelessness are prevalent. While policy change at the local and national level is preferable, there is still much that can be done by nongovernment factors to alleviate the effects of disparity. Through his joint Blueprint with YP4 alum Zach Komes ‘13, Josh hopes to change GW procurement and investment policy to better serve the D.C. community. Their initiative, “Bank on DC,” asks George Washington University (GW) to invest $250,000 of its cash-on-hand in a local Community Development Bank (CDB). CDBs are community banks that are required to provide a certain amount of loans to low-income residents. By investing in CDBs, GW can help serve the underbanked residents in the District that don’t have access to traditional financial services and mitigate the effects that predatory check cashing stores have on underbanked communities. Josh hopes to see their Blueprint will eventually be carried out at campuses around the country.