A VC fund focused on exclusively investing in Black women business owners, a group that receives less than .02 in funding, is being sued by a group founded by the conservative activist who played a pivotal in the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision to ban affirmative action.
The Fearless Fund, founded actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, entrepreneur Arian Simone and corporate executive Ayana Parsons, was launched in 2019 with the intent to provide capital and resources solely to Black woman founders.
According to a report by Reuters, the nonprofit American Alliance for Equal Rights, founded by affirmative action opponent Edward Blum cited section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, a U.S. law barring racial bias in private contracts, to call out that the Fearless Fund is in violation of discrimination laws by making only Black women eligible in the marquee grant competition.
The outlet said the lawsuit alleges that approximately 60 members – white and Asian American – have been excluded from the grant program due to their race.
2022 Crunchbase data showed Black founders got just a 1% cut of total $241 billion Venture Capital, with Black women taking a third of that single percentage, as ESSENCE previously reported. What’s more, as Fortune points out, white founders receive some $35 million more across the funding cycle than Black and brown founders.
Despite this, Reuters reports that Blum says this suit is the first on many he plans pursue.
“The common theme of these organizations is to challenge in the courts the use of racial classifications and preferences in our nation’s policies.”