A Black venture capitalist is using her business acumen and resources to revitalize underserved areas in Washington, D.C. Through her company EB5 Capital, Angelique Brunner is intertwining community restoration, job creation and citizenship for foreign investors, Fast Company reported.
Brunner moved to the nation’s capital nearly 20 years ago and discovered neighborhoods that were in dire need of help, the news outlet writes. Many of the predominately Black communities that had been ravaged by the 1968 riots following the death of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were left with abandoned buildings and nearly no businesses for decades. Determined to evoke change in these neighborhoods, Brunner launched EB5 Capital. The company gives investors from other countries the opportunity to put money towards rebuilding D.C. neighborhoods in exchange for green-cards and a smoother journey to U.S. citizenship.
Brunner—who was once the only Black woman in the venture capital world from the New York City to Atlanta area—believes the program is beneficial for all parties involved. “People are willing to invest in the United States for an expedited visa process. The only hitch is that you have to create jobs with the money they invest,” she told the news outlet. “We are focused on job creation, but livable cities require jobs and affordable housing. You can actually have financial gains in a neighborhood that don’t necessarily change the racial fabric of a neighborhood initially. To me, the only way to address the addition of economic opportunity is to consciously create mixed-income neighborhoods.”
EB5 Capital has worked on projects that include the City Market at O Street and the city’s Columbia Place development. There have been several efforts to rebuild underserved communities throughout the country. In August, it was reported that former NBA star and business mogul Earvin “Magic” Johnson has his sights set on revitalizing neighborhoods in Baltimore.