Chicago Deposits $20 Million into Illinois Service Federal and Loan Association, the City’s Last Black-Owned Bank 

(Photo credit: Nancy Harty via blavity.com)

via blavity.com

The Illinois Service Federal and Loan Association (ISF) is the last black-owned bank in Chicago. According to CBS Chicago, Kurt Summers, the city’s treasurer, has decided to make a momentous investment in the bank. Summers announced Monday that the city will be depositing $20 million into the black-owned institution.

At the announcement, the treasurer called this investment his department’s first step towards addressing the city’s history of segregation, something that he claims is one of the root causes of the city’s current violence. So, what will this investment mean for the city? According to Summers, the contribution will increase the number of successful black-owned businesses in Chicago.”If we’re going to be serious about supporting those communities and supporting community banks and what they do for small businesses, we have to look for opportunities like this,” he said, Business Day reports.

When going to large, national banks, Chicago’s black business owners only receive the full amount of their loan requests 47 percent of the time. White business owners receive all the money they ask for 76 percent of the time. Summers hopes that this investment will give black small business owners some place to go to find funding for their endeavors. “The community banks are often more capable of evaluating the risks of local borrowers than large remote financial institutions,” said Summers.

This is only one of the changes Chicago politicians are anticipating following the deposit. Alderman Roderick Sawyer told CBS that he believes that this investment will help resolve the issue of economic disparity in Chicago, and, ultimately, even violence. Papa Kwesi Nduom, the chairperson of the Illinois Service Federal and Loan Association, agrees with him. Nduom said the deposit will give his bank a “much-needed boost to our financial foundation, ensuring that we can strengthen the economic base of our communities and help people fulfill their dreams.”

The black-owned bank has been providing services to the black communities of the South Side of Chicago for more than 80 years.

To read more: Chicago Deposits $20M In City’s Last Black-Owned Bank | BLAVITY

Rosalind Brewer is Named New President, COO of Starbucks

Rosalind Brewer (photo via thegrio.com)

via thegrio.com

Rosalind Brewer, the former president and CEO of Sam’s Club, was announced as the new head of Starbucks on Wednesday and will continue to serve on the board of directors. “Starbucks is a culture-first company focused on performance and Roz is a world class operator and executive who embodies the values of Starbucks,” Kevin Johnson, Starbucks’ president and COO, said in a statement.

Johnson added that Brewer has been a “trusted strategic counselor” ever since she joined the board of directors in January. “Ms. Brewer has a wealth of experience in retailing, consumers and [consumer packaged goods] markets,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, told CNBC via email. “She is also used to running large, complex organization with a global focus.”

The move comes as Starbucks is experiencing lower retail sales than usual, a problem that Brewer will have to face during her tenure. “[Brewer] was instrumental in making changes at Sam’s Club to bring the retailer more in line with trends around health and wellness,” Saunders said. “She also did a lot in terms of e-commerce and multichannel, and this experience will be valuable for Starbucks.”

Source: Starbucks names Rosalind Brewer as new President, COO | theGrio

All Star Code Founder Christina Lewis Halpern Exposes Boys of Color to STEM Opportunities

All Star Code founder Christina Lewis Halpern with All Star students (photo via allstarcode.org)

via blavity.com

“We all want and need a seat at the table, and then we want to run the table and then we want to have our own table. Coding is the ticket to that,” says Christina Lewis Halpern, the founder of All Star Code, a six-week initiative for high school boys of color to discover innovative career opportunities through a computer science based curriculum.

According to Atlanta Black Star, the New York activist is the daughter of the late Reginald F. Lewis, a Wall Street attorney who became the first African-American to build a billion-dollar company. Her father, a Harvard graduate before dying of brain cancer in 1993, operated TLC Beatrice International, a grocery, beverage and household products distributor.

The month before he passed, Lewis named Halpern, who was only 12-years-old at the time, to the board of his foundation. “My family foundation is committed to social justice and believes in the power of entrepreneurship and investing in our community,” Halpern said. Two decades into the future and Halpern, a professional business journalist, created the All Star Code program “to help the next generation of youth catch the next wave of opportunity.”

So how did she do it? “We seeded this initiative and provided an anchor grant. About 20 percent of the money invested in All Star Code last year was from the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, or Lewis family personal funds,” Halpern explained. Other donors included Bond Collective, Cisco, Comcast, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Chase, MLB Advanced Media and Yahoo!. These corporations in addition to operational support gave $350,000 in funding.

Because of the lack of opportunities in STEM for men and women of color, Halpern’s All Star Code is designed to change that. The nonprofit raised more than $740,000 in 2016 at the annual All Star Code fundraiser in the Hamptons. Due to the generous contributions of the donors, the organization, which started in New York City and has stretched to Pittsburgh, has expanded and continues to grow rapidly.

The number of boys that participated in the Summer initiative skyrocketed from only 20 in 2014 to 160 this year. Halpern says that their goal is to have at least 1,000 high schoolers in 2020.

To read full article, go to: Daughter Of The First African-American To Build A Billion-Dollar Company Exposes Boys Of Color To STEM Opportunities | BLAVITY

Paypal, ApplePay, Spotify and Other Tech Companies Purge White Supremacist Groups from Their Platforms

by Jessica Yarvin via pbs.org

After the violent protests in Charlottesville, tech companies are rethinking their roles in providing online services for hateful groups. The fight is only beginning, as far-right groups and freedom of speech advocates have argued that tech companies are infringing on their first amendment rights by blocking their access to these services. For now, here are the companies who have taken steps to remove white nationalist and other hate groups from their platforms:

GoDaddy: The web domain name provider cut off the neo-nazi website The Daily Stormer, citing that the website had “crossed the line from exercising freedom of speech to provoking further mayhem.”

Apple Pay: On Wednesday, Apple Pay blocked websites that sell white nationalist merchandise, such as clothing with nazi symbols from using their payment services. A day earlier, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to employees where he said “hate is a cancer” and announced donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Discord: Members of the “alt-right” movement, whose beliefs are a mix of white nationalism, neo-Nazism and extreme populism, flocked to this group messaging service due to it’s privacy and anonymity; however, after the violence in Charlottesville, the company booted white nationalist groups and users off the app. In the days leading up to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, the New York Times reported that some white supremacists used the app to organize transportation to and lodging for the event.

Spotify: The music streaming service removed dozens of white supremacist artists that the Southern Poverty Law Center had identified as hate music.

Facebook: Citing violations of the company’s guidelines, Facebook banned eight pages associated with the white nationalist movement, along with the personal page and Instagram account of a white nationalist featured in the Vice News documentary about the Charlottesville rally. Continue reading

In Wake of #Charlottesville, Several National Charities Cancel Fundraisers at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

byvia money.cnn.com

The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and Susan G. Komen Foundation all said Friday they’re canceling events at Trump’s Palm Beach property Mar-a-Lago. That comes after three organizations made similar announcements on Thursday.

The cancellations follow the spectacular implosion of Trump’s business councils this week over the president’s insistence that counter-protesters shared the blame for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The collapse of the councils was an extraordinary rebuke to a president who prides himself on being business-friendly. High-profile CEOs like JPMorgan Chase‘s Jamie Dimon have publicly slammed Trump’s reaction to Charlottesville. Now, Trump’s words appear to be hurting his own business. “The American Red Cross has decided we cannot host our annual fundraising event at Mar-a-Lago, as it has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters,” the organization said in a statement.

The Red Cross said it “provides assistance without discrimination to all people in need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, or political opinions, and we must be clear and unequivocal in our defense of that principle.” According to the Palm Beach Daily News social events calendar, The Red Cross was slated to host its International Red Cross Ball at the resort on Feb. 3, 2018 .The Salvation Army also pulled its Holiday Snow Ball off the venue’s events list.

“Because the conversation has shifted away from the purpose of this event, we will not host it at Mar-a-Lago,” spokesperson Kurt Watkins said. On Thursday, the Cleveland Clinic, the American Cancer Society and an organization that supports disaster relief said they were abandoning plans for fundraisers at the private club.

To read full article, go to: Now charities are dumping Trump, too – Aug. 18, 2017

Airbnb Unites with NAACP to Combat Discrimination and Expand Room at the Inn

(image via npr.org)

by Karen Grigsby Bates via npr.org

Since its inception nearly a decade ago, Airbnb has faced questions from people of color as to whether the company’s worldwide “vacancy” sign really applied to them. The company has been plagued by allegations and several lawsuits, predominantly but not exclusively from African-Americans, claiming discrimination.

Now, as part of its attempt to turn that image around, Airbnb has announced a partnership with the NAACP. The goal is to put teeth in the home-sharing company’s anti-discrimination efforts and to expand the number of people of color who are hosts on the site. The company has revised its policies and introduced more stringent penalties for hosts found to discriminate.

A settlement in California this year involving an Asian woman resulted in the discriminatory host being banned from the site for life. A similar incident in North Carolina involved a black would-be guest. Earlier this year, Airbnb hired Laura W. Murphy, the former director of the American Civil Liberties Union‘s Washington legislative office, to help shape the new policies and put practices in place that would make Airbnb more inclusive.

The announcement comes amid the NAACP’s attempts to bring the organization closer to the younger activist audience that it hopes will be its next generation. While it continues to fight for things traditionally associated with the NAACP — voter enfranchisement, equal opportunities in education and housing — the 108-year-old organization is also stretching in new directions. The NAACP describes the Airbnb partnership as “a landmark national agreement” that will encourage more people in communities of color to consider becoming Airbnb hosts.

“Our fastest-growing communities across major U.S. cities are in communities of color and we’ve seen how home sharing is an economic lifeline for families,” Belinda Johnson, Airbnb’s chief business affairs officer, said in a statement. And it’s not just host families who benefit: the company says Airbnb guests spend money in the neighborhoods where they’re renting.

The partnership is notable in another way: Airbnb has committed to sharing 20 percent of the revenue from its community outreach efforts with the NAACP. It will also work with the NAACP to educate communities of color on the benefits and mechanics of home sharing as part of its planned outreach.

Airbnb also seeks to expand its employee base nation-wide, and has been working with the NAACP to increase the percentage of employees from underserved populations, from its current 9.6 percent to a target goal of 11 percent by the end of the year.

To read full article, go to: Airbnb Unites With NAACP To Expand Room At The Inn : Code Switch : NPR

Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ is Named Most Profitable Film of 2017 

“Get Out” (photo via essence.com)

by Paula Rogo via essence.com

The year is not yet done and Jordan Peele’s horror masterpiece “Get Out” has already been declared the most profitable movie of the year. The movie, which is the highest-grossing original screenplay ever,  had a 630 percent return on investment, according to TheWrap.

Peele was given a $4.5 million budget by Blumhouse Productions to work with on Get Out,” grossing $252 million worldwide. M. Night Shyamalan‘s “Split,” also produced by Blumhouse, had a 610 percent return on investments on a global haul of $277 million. It is the second-highest most profitable film of the year.

To read more, go to: Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ Is Most Profitable Film of 2017 | Essence.com