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A subsidy program for black women business owners is discriminatory, an appeals court has ruled

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NEW YORK (AP) – A U.S. federal appeals court panel has suspended a enterprise capital firm’s grant program for Black women business owners, ruling that a conservative group is prone to prevail in its lawsuit arguing that the program is discriminatory.

The ruling against the Atlanta-based Fearless Fund is one other victory for conservative groups waging a large-scale legal battle against corporate diversity programs that focus on dozens of firms and government institutions.

The case against the Fearless Fund was brought last yr by the American Alliance for Equal Rights, a gaggle led by Edward Blum, the conservative activist behind the Supreme Court case that ended affirmative motion in college admissions.

Blum praised the ruling, saying that “programs that exclude certain people based on race, such as those designed and implemented by the Fearless Fund, are unfair and polarizing.”

Fearless Fund CEO and founder Arian Simone said the ruling was “devastating” for the organizations and women through which he invested.

“The message these justices sent today is that diversity should not exist in corporate America, in education, or anywhere else,” she said in an announcement. “These judges bought what a small group of white men were selling.”

Alphonso David, general counsel of Fearless Fund, who serves as president and CEO of The Global Black Economic Forum, said all options are being considered to proceed fighting the lawsuit.

Legal efforts to dismantle workplace diversity programs have also suffered some setbacks, reflecting polarized opinions amongst liberal and conservative justices on the problem. Last week, for example, a federal district judge in Ohio dismissed a lawsuit against insurance company Progressive and fintech platform Hello Alice, difficult a program that offered grants to assist Black-owned small businesses purchase industrial vehicles. Similar lawsuits have been dismissed against Amazon, Pfizer and Starbucks.

The case against Fearless Fund has been closely watched by civil rights groups, philanthropic groups, employment lawyers and the enterprise capital industry as a guide to how courts view programs geared toward equalizing opportunities for racial minorities and other groups which have historically faced discrimination. in enterprises and workplaces.

In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the eleventh Circuit in Miami said Blum was prone to prevail in her lawsuit, claiming the scholarship program violated Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits sex discrimination. . the premise of race in enforcing contracts. Reconstruction-era laws were originally intended to guard formally enslaved people from economic exclusion, but anti-affirmative motion activists are using them to challenge programs designed to profit minority-owned businesses.

The court ordered the Fearless Fund to suspend its Strivers grant competition, which provides $20,000 to firms majority-owned by Black women, for the rest of the lawsuit pending in federal court in Atlanta. The ruling overturned a federal judge’s ruling last yr that the competition should proceed because Blum’s lawsuit would likely fail. However, the grant competition was suspended in October after a separate panel of a federal appeals court quickly granted Blum’s request for an emergency injunction while he was difficult the federal judge’s original order.

The appeals court panel, consisting of two judges appointed by former President Donald Trump and one appointed by former President Barack Obama, rejected Fearless Fund’s arguments that the grants weren’t contracts but charitable donations protected by First Amendment rights to free speech.

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“The fact remains, however, that Fearless simply — and categorically — refuses to consider applications from business owners who are not ‘black women,’” the court’s majority opinion said, adding that “any act of racial discrimination” could be considered expressive conduct, in response to the argument Fearless Fund.

The appeals board also rejected the Fearless Fund’s claim that Blum lacked standing since the lawsuit was filed on behalf of three anonymous women who had not demonstrated that they were “ready and able” to use for the grant or that that they had been harmed by the inappropriate motion. is to do it.

Judge Robin Rosenbaum, an Obama appointee, disagreed, expressing a fierce dissent, likening the plaintiffs’ claims of harm to football players attempting to win by “flapping on the field, faking injuries.” Rosenbaum found that neither plaintiff had demonstrated that that they had an actual intention to use for the grants in the shape of what she called “cookie-cutter declarations” that were “trivial and devoid of substance.”

The court’s ruling was not surprising given its conservative bias and former skepticism of the Fearless Fund’s arguments, said David Glasgow, executive director of the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging on the New York University School of Law.

“We will see some pro-DEI results in liberal circles and anti-DEI results in conservative circles,” Glasgow said.

Glasgow said he expected one in all the lawsuits to go to the conservative-dominated Supreme Court. Still, he said it is unlikely that a single ruling could resolve the legal debate surrounding corporate DEI due to complexity and wide-ranging programs and policies that fall under this category.

The Strivers Grant Fund is one in all several programs run by the founding division of the Fearless Fund, which was created to handle the wide racial disparities in funding for businesses run by women of color. According to the nonprofit group digitalundivided, lower than 1% of enterprise capital funding goes to firms owned by Black and Latina women.

The National Venture Capital Association, an industry group with a whole lot of member VC firms, has filed an amicus temporary defending the Fearless Fund grant program as a “modest but important” step toward ensuring equal opportunity in an industry that has historically excluded Black women.

In 2022, only 2% of investment professionals at enterprise capital firms were Black women, in response to a biennial study by Deloitte and Venture Forward, the nonprofit National Venture Capital Association and consulting firm Deloitte. The study, which included 315 firms with 5,700 employees and $594.5 billion in assets under management, found that just 1% of investment partners were Black women.

However, in his statement, Blum said that “our nation’s civil rights do not allow for racial disparities because some groups are overrepresented in various endeavors, while others are underrepresented.”

Philanthropic groups are also watching the case due to its possible implications for charitable giving.

“If legal decisions limit people’s ability to give back in ways that are consistent with their values ​​or experiences, it will harm not only philanthropy and nonprofits, but our entire country,” said Kathleen Enright, president and CEO of the Council on Foundations. whose organizations have filed a friendly temporary in support of the Fearless Fund with the Independent Sector nonprofit.

This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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National mortgage lender to provide $20 billion in loans to Black borrowers by 2028.

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Mortgage Lender, Black Borrowers, Home


Aiming to close the homeownership gap, the national mortgage lender has pledged to make $20 billion in latest home loans available to Black borrowers by 2028.

As a part of this commitment, the New American Funding program was launched NAF Black Influence, rebranding initiative previously called NAF Dream. The lender states that these efforts support Black people and the community in their pursuit of homeownership. Starting in 2016, the initiative provided $2.25 billion in loans to Black people to reach its goal over the subsequent three years.

The remaining $17.75 billion will go to potential black homebuyers. This includes helping to address the systemic barriers that keep homeownership gaps open for many individuals years.

LOWEST HOME OWNERSHIP RATE FOR BLACK AMERICANS

The implication is that some assistance is actually needed because the black homeownership rate continues to lag furthest behind the white homeownership rate report. It showed that the speed for white Americans in 2021 was almost 73%, higher than the 44% for Black Americans. The homeownership rate amongst black Americans was also lower than that of Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans.

New American funds (NAF) is an independent mortgage lender with a portfolio of over 263,000 customers valued at roughly $69.1 billion and over 250 locations nationwide. The company sees its latest move as a “critical step” toward closing the racial gap in home ownership.

Company co-founder and CEO Patty Arvielo stated, “For us, this is much more than a rebranding initiative. This was a necessary step to demonstrate our responsibility to the Black community.”

She added: “NAF Black Impact means we’re committed to providing access to mortgages and financial resources to help more Black families achieve home ownership. We imagine that by providing the support we’d like, we are able to make a difference and create a fairer society for all.”

Said NAF Black Impact BLACK ENTERPRISES that in 2023, loans to Black borrowers accounted for 12% of all loans. The company added that lending in the primary five months of 2024 was relatively flat compared to 2023. 70% of those loans were government loans (FHA and VA) and 30% were conventional loans. While the 12% figure reflects the U.S. black population rate, the corporate said it could increase its efforts and see annual NAF growth of 1-2% this yr.

Addressing the unique nuances of THE FACE OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY

NAF states that its commitment to the Black community is different from other lenders since it tailors processes and programs specifically to address the unique nuances of “buying a home while black.”

Mosi Gatling, NAF’s senior vice chairman of strategic development, says the corporate has consciously chosen to approach lending to the Black community in a way that’s as diverse as people.

“Historically, the industry has pigeonholed Black homeownership as ‘assisted or affordable housing,’ but Black ownership is so much more, and the Black community deserves an application-to-closing experience that is more than has been provided in the past.”

DEVELOPING AND PROVIDING MORE SUPPORT TO YOUR FAMILY

For example, Gatling said her company might help Black Americans buy a house with money in order that they can compete with investors buying homes in their community. She added that the NAF Black Impact Housing Advocate certification program allows real estate agents and builders who work with the corporate to meet the Black community where they’re and take away unconscious bias that also exists in 2024.

The business report may even provide the Black community with access to educational resources, products, services, partnerships and market support to meet their sustainable home and investment purchase goals.

Gatling thought, “It’s time to evolve because black homeownership is not universal. Buying a home should not mean poverty or revictimization of the group of people we claim to serve.”

She said: “We want NAF to become a place where all black families feel comfortable and supported in home ownership. We want them to know that NAF is here for them.”

Find out more details in regards to the program Here and apply it place.


This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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Top-earning LIME Painting franchisee celebrates success and community –

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R.L. Hunnicutt, LIME Painting Oklahoma City Franchise


BLACK ENTERPRISES first mentioned by R.L. Hunnicutt in an October 2022 article “Oklahoma City’s only upscale painting franchise is Black-owned and committed to ‘leaving the door open’ for others to follow.” Two years later, Hunnicutt’s LIME painting The franchise continues to grow. This will be attributed to his understanding that a successful business is built on strong relationships and a real connection to the community. Through various community-focused initiatives, Hunnicut actively partners with local organizations, schools and non-profits to support urban development and enrichment projects.

Whether it’s revitalizing community centers, painting schools, or offering free services to underfunded local institutions, Hunnicutt ensures that his work contributes to the well-being of his neighbors. In addition to his hands-on projects, he is devoted to constructing lasting relationships along with his clients, providing exceptional service and maintaining an unwavering commitment to quality. Hunnicutt’s fame for reliability and excellence has made LIME Painting a trusted name within the OKC area, further strengthening his ties to the community.

In honor Junewe caught up with Hunnicutt and asked him to share his insights on how the meaning of the vacation manifests itself in his business.

BLACK ENTERPRISES: Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, empowerment and community. How does your franchise promote and/or have fun these principles?

RL HUNNICUTT: I’m currently working with This is My Community Foundation, which is an initiative that helps underprivileged youth and adopted children and helps families stay together in northeast Oklahoma City. I check with local students about entrepreneurship and offer them internship opportunities with my company. I speak and mentor about 10-15 kids at college. The children are mostly minorities and come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

TO BE: Why is African American business ownership crucial to the American landscape?

HUNNICUTT: African American business ownership is central to the American landscape for quite a lot of reasons. First, it provides diversity to the economy, which helps generate revenue through unconventional and often neglected methods. The black dollar is robust in America and is over a trillion dollars. Then it creates freedom. When you run your individual business, you may dictate what you ought to do. You not must wait to your boss’s approval. Now you control your path. The sky is the limit and you will have the liberty to do what you ought to make a difference.

TO BE: What advice do you will have for young African-Americans about entrepreneurship?

HUNNICUTT: Put God first. Without Him nothing is feasible. Then be consistent and persistent. Finally, eliminate your plan B. If you will have something to fall back on, you will certainly do it. Make sure your corporation is all it’s worthwhile to focus and work on. If you haven’t got anything to fall back on, you will approach every day like a hunter intent on conquering all the pieces in your path!

Hunnicutt is considered one of the best-earning LIME Painting franchise members, showing which you can run a successful business while caring for your community and paying it forward.


This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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Reginald Lewis’ daughter opens Beatrice Advisors

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Christina Lewis, Reginald Lewis, Beatrice Advisors, Reginald Lewis


Daughter of a superstar Black financier Reginald Lewis followed in his father’s footsteps opening Beatrice Advisors to assist families like hers.

Christina Lewis opened an organization publicly on June 13 in New York. It is the primary multifamily office of its kind to be owned by a Black woman. Meredith Bowen, former partner at Seven Bridges Advisors, will function president and chief investment officer. With a few of their assets coming from the family business BFO21 and Lewis’ personal network, the band is pushing to maneuver away from the established order of occupying a particular area of interest.

Lewis’ goal is to spotlight the importance of getting a tax-efficient portfolio for the following generation of heirs, entrepreneurs and multiracial families like hers. He also desires to set a regular for having a solid team of investment managers, lawyers and accountants that clients can trust and never feel obliged to do.

“The next generation may be very uninformed, just like me and my whole family were when my dad died,” she said, recalling her father, who died when she was 12.

“He had all the intellectual capital around investing and financial access, and of course he never expected to die at 50.”

Her father was the one black person on Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans after appearing on the list in 1991 – with a net price of $340 million and an estimated net price of $400 million – which increased in 1992 that very same 12 months he was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and died in January 1993, aged just 50.

His estate was left to his wife Loida Lewis and daughters Christina and Leslie. Now, greater than 30 years later, she lives by the three mantras her father left her: do your homework and follow it, make a plan and follow it, and be good at your job.

Beatrice, apparently named after the landmark Beatrice acquisition, which was curated by Christina’s father and have become the primary Black-owned billion-dollar company, offers clients single-family offices and an progressive and technology-driven approach that encourages clients to tailor their investments to suit their individual goals. The current offer includes three key services: investment management, financial planning advice for clients and own investments.

However, Lewis doesn’t stop there and plans to expand his business over time.

Former vp and financial advisor at Shufro, Rose & CoMichael Hymes will function managing director and head of client advisory on the chief team. Bowen spoke highly of Lewis’s leadership she said she was excited to be a part of a “new level of autonomy”.

“Meeting customers where they are now and where they will be tomorrow, while giving them a new level of autonomy, makes Beatrice’s offering an exciting one,” Bowen said.

“Christina has demonstrated an exceptional ability to drive meaningful change, and I am excited to work with her and the team to build a truly differentiated set of solutions for our clients.”

The latest investment firm owner also serves as vp of the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation and is an executive producer of the upcoming biopic about her father’s life, named after his autobiography, “Why Should White Guys Have Fun?”


This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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