Community Vision’s work to advance racial and economic equity is powered by partnership. Whether it is with community-centered organizations or philanthropic partners, we recognize that deep collaboration is essential for driving community empowerment and collective flourishing.
One of the key partnerships that advances Community Vision’s mission is our community of investors. Community Vision’s investors support increased access to flexible, affordable capital for nonprofits and small businesses, entities that are the pillars of a thriving community. Sometimes, our investors go on to support Community Vision in a variety of ways in addition to investing.
For this Investor Spotlight, we are sharing one such story: Ilana Schatz and David Lingren, long-time supporters and investors with Community Vision.
Ilana and David began investing with Community Vision—then still named the Northern California Community Loan Fund—in 2004. After several years of involvement as investors, Ilana stepped into a new role with Community Vision as a member of the Board of Directors in 2010, bringing 30 years of experience in community program development.
During her eight-year tenure on the board, Ilana served on both the Development and Food Programs committees. As a passionate advocate for building more equitable food systems, Ilana helped guide and support Community Vision’s food-related investments and programs.
“Ilana cares deeply about people and the staff of Community Vision, and she brought that dedication to her service as a member of Community Vision’s board,” said Patricia GoPaul, Chair of Community Vision’s Board of Directors. “Ilana played a critical role in Community Vision’s involvement in food systems work. She recognized that inequities in the food system were a major part of the broader inequities facing society and wanted to help Community Vision change this to a more equitable system.”
David and Ilana were continuous supporters of this work, even opening their home to host an event for community investors to learn about and get involved with Community Vision’s work to finance a range of food and agricultural enterprises that would increase healthy food access, strengthen agricultural businesses and support small farms in California.
This commitment to building more equitable communities and food systems extended beyond Ilana and David’s work with Community Vision. Ilana and David are also very involved with their local Slow Money investor community.
Dedicated to catalyzing the flow of capital to local food systems, the Slow Money movement connects investors to the places where they live and promotes principles of soil fertility, sense of place, care of the commons, and economic, cultural and biological diversity. Ilana and David served on the Executive Committee of Slow Money’s Northern California investor’s group.
“In our Slow Money investor community, we have come to know Ilana Schatz for her impeccable and outspoken commitment to her values of justice and equity,” said Arno Hesse, Co-Leader of Slow Money Northern California.
“Investing in local food makers has allowed her to combine her passions for change and for food. We share several investments that we worked on together. Leading with values and being aware of her relative privilege, she has always directed the focus, and money, to disadvantaged and exploited communities, aiming to build a truly equitable food system for all,” added Hesse.
In the group, Ilana and David also modeled a deep sense of community and partnership.
“We also have come to appreciate her strong partnership with David,” said Hesse. “Having met later in life, we found them inseparable. We joke that when we want to talk to one of them, we always have to make an appointment with two of them. When I call one of them, they immediately get the other one on the phone as well. Just another personal manifestation of Ilana’s leadership emphasis of ‘together.’”
In addition to their active roles as community investors, Ilana and David also founded the nonprofit Fair Trade Judaica in 2007. The organization sought to build a fair trade movement in the Jewish community nationally. During its 11 years, Fair Trade Judaica collaborated with artisans internationally to design fair trade Judaica products that would be sold at community events, Judaica stores and synagogues. As Fair Trade Judaica’s founding director, Ilana continued advocating for food justice and wrote about the power and importance of purchasing fair trade foods and products.
Community Vision honors Ilana and David’s deep commitment and active work toward building a more equitable, inclusive and healthy society. Today, they are continuing to support Bay Area communities in personal ways. As they have experienced what it is like to encounter significant health changes related to ALS, Ilana and David created the Chateau Seaview Fund to support those in the community who are also facing the challenges of ALS and need support accessing important resources. You can learn more about IIana and David’s work with the Chateau Seaview Fund and how you can support it here.