To achieve economic equity, we must prioritize investing our money into the wealth and health of local communities and the environment. Public banking is a promising strategy with a century-old history that can help us align how we spend our tax and fee dollars with the values and needs of our communities. A public bank is owned and controlled by the people of the city, state, or region it serves. Profits earned are recycled back into the local government, helping to support social services and economic development activities. It is capitalized by local public funds; providing financing for local businesses, housing, and infrastructure; and reinvesting profits back into the community.
The first and only functioning public bank in this country started in 1919 in North Dakota. In October 2019, California passed AB 857 signing public banks into law and providing another avenue for equitable investment in affordable housing, small business sustainability, greening communities, and more. An effort is now underway to open California’s first public bank, Public Bank East Bay, by 2023. Northern California Grantmakers, San Francisco Foundation, and East Bay Community Foundation are pleased to invite you to an informational session on public banking and to share details of the Public Bank East Bay that will serve our region.
The session will center on an expert panel made up of David Chiu, San Francisco City Attorney and author of the 2019 California Public Banking Act; Eric Hardmeyer, retired CEO of the public Bank of North Dakota; Henry (Hank) Levy, Alameda County Treasurer; Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation; Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, CFO of the East Bay Community Foundation; David Cobb, Humboldt County, and George Syrop, Board Member of Friends of the Public Bank East Bay.
Fred Blackwell, CEO, San Francisco Foundation
Fred Blackwell is the CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country. The San Francisco Foundation works hand-in-hand with donors, community leaders, and both public and private partners to create thriving communities throughout the Bay Area. Since joining the foundation in 2014, Blackwell has led it in a renewed commitment to social justice through an equity agenda focused on racial and economic inclusion. Blackwell, an Oakland native, is a nationally recognized community leader with a longstanding career in the Bay Area. Prior to joining the foundation, he served as interim city administrator for the city of Oakland, where he previously served as the assistant city administrator. He was the executive director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Development in San Francisco; he served as the director of the Making Connections Initiative for the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the Lower San Antonio neighborhood of Oakland; he was a Multicultural Fellow in Neighborhood and Community Development at The San Francisco Foundation; and he subsequently managed a multiyear comprehensive community initiative for the San Francisco Foundation in West Oakland.Blackwell serves on the board of the Independent Sector, the Bridgespan Group, the dean’s advisory council for UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, and the community advisory council of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. He previously served on the boards of the California Redevelopment Association, Urban Habitat Program, NCG, LeaderSpring and Leadership Excellence. He is a visiting professor in the department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. He holdsa master’s degree in city planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College.
David Chiu, City Attorney, San Francisco
David Chiu is the 15th City Attorney of San Francisco and the first Asian American to hold the post. The City Attorney’s Office provides legal counsel to the Mayor, Board of Supervisors and over 100 departments, boards, commissionsand offices that comprise the City and County of San Francisco’s government.Before becoming City Attorney, David represented eastern San Francisco for 7 years as a State Assemblymember, authoring 75 state laws and chairing the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee and California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. Previously, as District 3 Supervisor, he served as the only President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors elected to that post for three consecutive terms. Beforeholding public office, David was a civil rights attorney, criminal prosecutor, Democratic Counsel to the US Senate Constitution Subcommittee, a Ninth Circuit law clerk, and general counsel to a public affairs technology company. The son of immigrants, hereceived his undergraduate, master’s in public policy and law degrees from Harvard.
Eric Hardmeyer, Former President and CEO, Bank of North Dakota
Eric Hardmeyer is a Mott, North Dakota, native, and a graduate of the University of North Dakota and the University of Mary. He joined the Bank of North Dakota in 1985 as a loan officer. In 2001, he was named president and CEO. He retired in 2021.
Hank Levy, Treasurer-Tax Collector, Alameda County
Hank Levy is a CPA who has served as Alameda County’s Treasurer-Tax Collector since 2017 with oversight over a $7 Billion public portfolio, half of which is utilized for Alameda County-based public schools. He collects $12 Billion annually in tax receipts from the State and County residents and businesses and is the sole Plan Officer and Trustee for public employee trust funds.
Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, CFO, East Bay Community Fundation
Valerie Red-Horse Mohl of Cherokee ancestry, is the CFO of East Bay Community Foundation, whose mission is to eliminate structural barriers and advance racial equity. In this role she brings her experience as a financial professional to lead initiatives focused on 100% mission alignment of portfolio investments, impact investing, racial equity, social justice, ESG and diverse manager selections. She is also a Co-Founderof Known Holdings, a financial services platform dedicated to equitable distribution of capital and CEO/founder of Red-Horse Financial Group, Inc. Red-Horse Mohl has more than 25 years of in-depth experience in the financial services industry with specific expertise in asset management and investment banking.Red-Horse Mohl has raised, structured, and managed over $4 billion in capital (primarily for Native American tribal clients) and currently holds seven FINRA registrations.Red-Horse Mohl is the former Executive Director/CEO of Social Venture Circle, a non-profit leading the way in the field of impact investing.She is also the CEO/founder of Red-Horse Native Productions, Inc., a film and television production company focused on bringing important documentaries to the screen for which Red-Horse Mohl directs, produces, and writes.She is the Advisory Board Chair of Stanford University’s Center for the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and teaches two undergraduate courses on Entrepreneurship for Social Impact and Racial Equity at Stanford. She serves as Board Chair for the National Boys and Girls Clubs Native Services; and is Board Co-Chair of American Sustainable Business Network. Red-Horse Mohl has been married since 1982 to former NFL professional Curt Mohl and they have three children.
George Syrop, Board Member, Friends of the Public Bank East Bay
George is a community organizer born & based in Hayward. He served as a peer-counselor for the Berkeley Free Clinic
. He’s designed tech tools for social workers, progressive causes and candidates. George founded the Hayward Community Coalition
(HayCoCoa) which spurred a city-wide conversation around racial justice, public safety, and police spending. He is a Community Services Commissioner for Hayward and a candidate for Hayward City Council