April 7, 2020 / By Bernie Navarro
After Hurricane Andrew, Alvah Chapman successfully led a campaign named “We Will Rebuild” to motivate and encourage Miami in a time of despair. After this current crisis is over, I know the Miami of 2020 will REBUILD stronger and better than ever. But first, we must ALL lay the groundwork to ensure that the Miami that emerges is more resilient than the one that entered this pandemic.
In his famous inaugural address, John F. Kennedy said these immortal words: “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” It was a call to action for the public to do what is right for the greater good. As we all have some time to ponder the future, I ask, what will you do for Miami? What can we start thinking about doing today that will change our lives and our companies to ensure that we rebuild a stronger community? I know the context of these questions may be difficult to answer as our minds are preoccupied with our health, our jobs, our businesses and the future of the economy. Contrary to the 2008 economic collapse, where there were clear winners and losers, this crisis has affected everyone. We are all hurt. However, we may get out of this situation more quickly if we start thinking about how to make a better community now.
At the Benworth Capital family of companies, we are doing our small part to work with our community throughout this situation. Our main business, Benworth Capital, has retooled to be an information resource for the $2 trillion stimulus package signed by President Trump this past Friday. The CARES Act, the largest aid package in US history, should help businesses cope with their hardship for at least 8 weeks by providing a forgivable loan. We established www.SBABizHelp.com and www.SBAAyuda.com as information repositories to help businesses navigate through the maze of requirements to apply for Small Business Administration (SBA) 7a loans and the State of Florida disaster relief loan. At a time when other companies ramped up lending operations to take advantage of people facing a desperate situation, Presto Payday, our cash advance and microlending business, has stopped lending to help keep borrowers in our community from building up debt that they cannot repay.
At Miami Dade College, where I have the honor of serving as chairman, and at all our area schools and universities, we have accelerated the inevitable shift to remote learning modalities in record time and unleashed many innovations.
How do we want the next chapter of Miami to read? We all have a part in being the authors. We are #MIAMISTRONG!
Bernie Navarro (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College (MDC) and founder and President of Benworth Capital family of companies, a private equity fund located in Miami, Florida.