FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ralph Mays, firstname.lastname@example.org
New Amicus Brief is Latest Effort by Black Economic Alliance Foundation to Preserve Pathways to Advancing Work, Wages, and Wealth Across the Black Community and Growing Overall U.S. Economy
New York, NY – The Black Economic Alliance (BEA) Foundation, the nation’s leading organization harnessing the collective expertise and influence of Black business leaders and aligned advocates to advance work, wages, and wealth for the Black community, announced today the filing of a new amicus brief urging a federal court to deny the motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the Fearless Foundation, which helps bridge the venture capital funding gap for women of color starting businesses, from providing a grant to Black women entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurship is fundamental to the American dream and one of the surest paths to economic prosperity, yet Black entrepreneurs – and Black women in particular – face systemic barriers that make it harder to start and grow their own businesses,” said BEA CEO Samantha Tweedy. “Fearless Fund helps Black women overcome those barriers, which is good for Black work, wages, and wealth and good for our economy as a whole. Given BEA Foundation’s own recent polling that showed widespread support for businesses taking active steps to reflect the racial diversity of this country, it is clear that those trying to claw back pathways to economic progress for the Black community are out of step with the vast majority of Americans.”
BEA Foundation’s amicus brief focuses on the specific barriers that Black women entrepreneurs face. The brief notes that historically discriminatory systems are fully present to this day: Black women business owners who apply for funding face a rejection rate that is three times higher than that of white business owners and Black women receive less than one percent of venture capital funding. Programs like Fearless Strivers Grant Contest act to address these historical wrongs and, as the brief notes, ensure “…that the economy will benefit and grow as a result of this untapped pool of skill and innovation.”
The lawsuit targeting Fearless Fund is the latest in a series of attempts to claw back gains made in improving racial diversity in the business sector. Recent polling by The Harris Poll and commissioned by the BEA Foundation clearly indicates that the vast majority of Americans across racial, ideological, and generational lines support businesses taking active steps to make sure that companies reflect America’s racial diversity and agree that racial diversity in business leads to greater profitability and innovation.
The Fearless Strivers Grant contest, managed by the Fearless Foundation, aims to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for Black women after centuries of gender and racial discrimination. Venture capital funding for Black-owned startups, especially those led by Black women, is disproportionately low. From 2009 to 2017, a mere 0.0006% of VC funding was directed towards Black women-started businesses. Although there was a slight rise in 2021, with funding for Black and Latina women crossing 1%, the disparity remains stark. Fearless Fund, having invested in over 40 companies in just four years, including renowned names like Slutty Vegan and The Lip Bar, is a beacon of hope in this bleak landscape. The Fearless Fund and Fearless Foundation are being represented by a well-seasoned legal team that includes Mylan Denerstein and Jason Schwartz of the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Alphonso David of the Global Black Economic Forum and Ben Crump of Ben Crump Law LLP.
About the Black Economic Alliance Foundation
The Black Economic Alliance Foundation is the nation’s leading organization harnessing the collective expertise and influence of Black business leaders and aligned advocates to build economic prosperity and generational wealth for the Black community. We partner with leaders across the public, private, and social sectors to champion policy reimagination, develop investment and philanthropic programs, commission research, and elevate national understanding of the inextricable link between the health of the Black economy and the entire American economy. The BEA Foundation is the 501(c)(3) non-profit affiliate of the Black Economic Alliance, a nonpartisan coalition of Black business leaders and allies committed to advancing work, wages, and wealth in the Black community. | https://foundation.blackeconomicalliance.org