April 24, 2024

Dartmouth College
high speed rail

A small college, and yet there are those who love it.

Today is the 25th annual Denim Day, recognizing survivors of sexual violence, and I see that many have arrived attired for this day of awareness.

I’d like to recognize yesterday’s passing of Rev. Cecil Williams, founder of Glide Memorial, the largest provider of social services in San Francisco and a giant in the community who fought for the poor and marginalized.  I cherish the experience of serving meals at Glide. He will be missed but never forgotten.

Also, on this day in 1779, Eleazar Wheelock died during the Revolutionary War. You would be forgiven for not recognizing this historical figure. He was a minister and avid proponent of the Great Awakening.  He educated a Mohican student, Samson Occum, who also became a prominent minister.

This experience led Wheelock to open a school for Native Americans. He raised funds placed under the trusteeship of the Earl of Dartmouth, and acquired land in what became Hanover, NH for the relocation of his school where he could add a college. The first donation was contributed by John Phillips who would later establish Phillips Exeter Academy.

While Occum and the Earl were both opposed to adding a college and shifting emphasis towards white colonists, Wheelock obtained a charter from King George III in 1769 “for the education and instruction of youth of the Indian Tribes”…among others, and named the school Dartmouth College.

Wheelock was less than successful in recruiting Indian students. The college would struggle for many decades but made noteworthy contributions by beginning to educate black men as early as 1775, and with the landmark 1819 Supreme Court decision Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward.

Per Wikipedia, this “decision settled the nature of public versus private charters and resulted in the rise of the American business corporation and the American free enterprise system.” It established a momentous precedent, overturning the New Hampshire legislature’s attempt to pass a law to invalidate the contract between the Trustees and King George in order to turn the college into a public institution.

While Dartmouth maintains a renewed commitment to educating Native Americans today and Mr. Wheelock may have had noble original intentions, the college acknowledges having done little to actualize its founding commitment for much of its history – from the misappropriation of the philanthropic funds intended for education of Indians rather than colonists, to the misguided mission of “civilizing and christianizing children of pagans,” to Wheelock’s own life as a slave owner.

As an alum serving on the board of Dartmouth’s center tasked with preparing students to live a life of purpose and address the most pressing societal problems, I was on campus last week and thought of its history. Society is undergoing a period of reexamining the histories of our institutions under a more honest light.

Many of us are doing so relative to our schools and their namesakes uncovering a blemished record that disrupts our cherished memories and connections. Nearby, from Leland Stanford’s role with Chinese exclusion and eugenics, to Serranus Hastings’ massacres of Native Americans, to the slavery and racist pasts of George Berkeley and John Boalt, among so many others.

In his closing statement in front of the Supreme Court, the attorney representing the college in 1819, an alum and future Secretary of State named Daniel Webster, moved the justices by stating “It is a small college, and yet there are those who love it.” I share that sentiment and we can all hope to contribute a very small part to help address past shortcomings.

Information Items
This has been an exciting week for IBank:

Lender Matching Tool
This morning, IBank, in partnership with Next Street, US Treasury and Community Reinvestment Fund, hosted a launch event for the California Small Business Loan Match. This capability has been 2 years in the making and is a new lender matching tool for business owners to access vital capital.  It is a free, one-stop solution that brings together more than 20 mission-driven lenders across the state.

The goal is to empower entrepreneurs, particularly those who are socially and economically disadvantaged, through responsible lending that is backed by IBank guarantees. Funds for the launch and marketing of this site are provided by the Initiative for Inclusive Entrepreneurship.

Monday was Earth Day and I attended a historic groundbreaking in Las Vegas for Brightline West, which will be the nation’s first fully-electric, emission-free, high-speed train. At the January Board meeting you approved up to $3 billion of bonds to be issued by IBank for this $12 billion project. This train has been 2 decades in the making and the subject of my very first meeting at IBank over 4 years ago.

The train is scheduled to be operational by the 2028 Olympics and will take passengers from Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga in around 2 hours, half the normal drive time. It will create more than 31,000 construction jobs and more than 500 permanent jobs in CA, while displacing 3 million cars from road and 3 million passengers from the air annually – eliminating 275 million kg of carbon emissions.

Secretary Buttigieg, Governor Lombardo, and a full delegation of congressional, labor and business leaders were on hand to express enthusiasm for this long-awaited project to help restore America’s path back to global leadership in infrastructure.

Solar for All
Also on Monday, the US EPA announced 60 winners from the 150 applicants for the $7 billion Solar for All competition, one of three programs under the Inflation Reduction Act’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. California’s application was awarded the highest amount at $250M, which will be distributed to a coalition of state agencies to expand and build new capacity for solar + storage in disadvantaged communities.

While IBank served as the lead applicant on behalf of the state coalition of climate and energy agencies, IBank did not seek funds for itself and the implementation of the grant will be led by other agencies.

National Clean Investment Fund
Previously on April 4th, US EPA announced its awards under the $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund competition of the GGRF. IBank and our colleagues at the State Treasurer’s Office, jointly serving as California’s Green Bank, are a subrecipient in the Coalition for Green Capital’s application, which was awarded $5 billion. We expect to receive up to $450 million of this award for California.

We plan to coordinate with others awarded these EPA funds active in California, to determine if further direct allocations are possible. Priority investment sectors include Zero-Emissions Transportation, Net-Zero Energy Buildings, and Distributed Generation & Storage and the capital will be deployed with Justice40 targets for disadvantaged communities.

We are looking forward to catalyzing private capital into the state’s climate agenda and investing such funds towards a sustainable, evergreen program available far into the future. EPA’s goal is to finalize terms and conditions with the awardees by the end of June and for the funds to flow prior to their statutory deadline of September 30, 2024.

Scott Wu

S. Wu Signature