FPP: An Open Letter from FPP’s President and CEO, Bill Mills, to FPP Members and Partners (also known as “Florida’s Economic First Responders”):

April 22, 2020

You Are More Important Than Ever!

As “Stimulus 3.5” is getting ready to be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives (perhaps as soon as the next 36 hours), I pondered what message to share with all of you.

At the end of February and early March, I was sharing with my closest friends and colleagues a very unpopular opinion.  I have held it close to the vest because, if expressed, it would make me seem extremely insensitive.  But, I would like to share it with you now.  It is my belief that the economic fallout from the virus will be worse than the virus itself.

Let me explain.

Poverty kills.  The economic fallout is going to cause more to fall into poverty than possibly any other event in our lifetimes.  A study by Columbia early this past decade showed that 133,000 deaths were attributed to individual-level poverty and overall, 4.5% of U.S. deaths were found to be attributable to poverty (Retrieved from URL https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/how-many-us-deaths-are-caused-poverty-lack-education-and-other-social-factors).

Please do not take this as a denial of the extreme effects of the virus.  My deepest sympathies go to everyone who has friends or family members that have succumbed to this awful illness.  But, I am also thinking of what will happen as the economy continues its shutdown (and no, I am not taking a stand on whether it should open or not).

The “Stimulus 3.5” package will definitely be welcomed by small businesses that make up 98.9% of the Florida economy (Retrieved from URL https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/FL_0.pdf).  It is very encouraging that $60 Billion is being set aside and “divided equally — for smaller banks and community lenders that seek to focus on under-banked neighborhoods and rural areas” (Retrieved from URL https://www.foxnews.com/politics/senate-leaders-reach-agreement-phase-3-5-coronavirus-stimulus-package).  Also, remember that the House may change the bill before approval, so we do not know exactly what will be in the final bill.

Whatever amount it is, it will not be enough.  NBC News reported that the previous package “ran out of money within minutes” (Retrieved from URL https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/small-business-loan-program-ran-out-money-within-minutes-some-n1187051).  FPP had called for non-profits to submit their applications early for this last package.  It is hoped that some of them will get approved this time.  But, I have heard talk (not proven fact) that this package will not even be enough to cover all in the queue. (Though you are still encouraged to apply for the stimulus ASAP, just in case.)

Here is the thing . . .

You are here for those you serve.  All Floridians.  You are Florida’s Economic First Responders.  I personally have so much faith in all of you as practitioners who are being deployed to help many more Floridians (and beyond) in the coming months.  Together, FPP and its coalition members will forge our way through this crisis.

The FPP coalition support staff is currently working aggressively to bring to you as much information as possible as this crisis continues to unfold.  The FPP team hopes you are keeping up to date at https://FinCapNow.org.  If you have something that you desire to be shared so FPP coalition peers may be “in the know” and serve at their best, please forward these messages and resources to FPP@FloridaProsperityNow.org.

The FPP staff is also working to expand its multimedia reach to you as Florida and America’s Economic First Responders. There will soon be new and improved ways for FPP coalition members and partners to interact with each other.  More to come on that as funds are procured to finalize these initiatives (almost there . . . with about $2,200 more needed to secure the resources required to optimally serve you).  

The FPP coalition support staff would also like to hear from you, its 2700+ valued members and partners, should you need something or someone specific.  The coalition talent and resource pools are deep.  Together, we are better.  Of this, you already know. 

Thanks for all you do to live the mission of FPP:  To Elevate Financial Capability for All.  Through FPP’s Guiding Principles of Learning, Influence, Connection and Partnership, each of you does what you do at your best to touch lives in Florida and beyond. 

Bill Mills
President and CEO
Florida Prosperity Partnership