For decades, the NAACP has partnered with organizations to help provide valuable resources and visibility to issues affecting the Black community. Now, in an unprecedented move, the institution is aiming to achieve true equity by becoming part-owner of a company dedicated to helping underserved communities grow.
NAACP Empowerment Programs announced today they will partner with venture-backed technology company Hello Alice, and founders Elizabeth Gore & Carolyn Rodz, to support the NAACP’s proactive mission of improving the lives of African Americans and their communities through increasing economic opportunities and building generational wealth.
Hello Alice, the largest digital platform helping small businesses launch and grow through access to capital. The announcement is a first for the NAACP Empowerment Programs and will provide substantial resources towards advancing the organization’s goals for economic equality for Black communities.
“To champion true racial equity, we need to address the long-standing economic inequality that has left Black communities underfunded and undervalued for centuries,” said NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson.
“That’s why we’ve taken the unprecedented step to join as a part-owner of Hello Alice. Our Black-owned businesses, who already faced long-ingrained institutional barriers to success, continue to recover from the devastation thrust upon them by the pandemic. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, today there are an estimated 2.6 million Black-owned businesses, and this first-of-its-kind partnership is a pivotal step towards putting the Black business at the forefront of our economy and as a result, building generational wealth and economic power for Black communities.”
In an effort to support Black-owned businesses on a long-term basis, the NAACP Empowerment Programs first began partnering with Hello Alice to create the Black-owned Business Resource Center that includes capital and networking opportunities for Black small business owners throughout the country. Forty-four percent of small business owners on the Hello Alice platform identify as Black business owners. As part-owner, NAACP Empowerment Programs now hosts voting rights and fully vested equity in Hello Alice. As Hello Alice grows its valuation and revenue, NAACP Empowerment Programs will receive the same financial earnings as other investors on the cap table, to benefit both the organization and the communities it serves.
“It’s time for the word equity to hold its full meaning in business,” said Elizabeth Gore,
Co-founder and President of Hello Alice. “Black business owners are the most entrepreneurial of any ethnicity in our country, and a critical customer set of our business. As a platform focused on the new majority, the NAACP Empowerment Programs share our values to ensure all small business owners have access to the capital they need to scale. This is the
best economic bet we can make.”
The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated inequalities that Black-owned businesses were already facing. TheBlack-Owned Economy Report surveyed 79,303 owners on the challenges they’re facing and found the biggest one to be raising capital. In addition to distributing four million dollars in grants, the NAACP Empowerment Programs and Hello Alice launched several initiatives to help these businesses stay afloat and support their communities. Some of these programs included: the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation to launch the Power Forward Small Business Grant, the Backing the B.A.R initiative in collaboration with Bacardi, Beyoncé’s BeyGOOD Black-Owned Small Business Impact Fund, and finally Daymond John’s Black Entrepreneurs Day.
The NAACP has long believed that economic equity is crucial to racial equity, and an inclusive economy means everyone can contribute and earn with fair access to resources and opportunity. Closing the revenue gap between Black and white businesses would generate an additional $290 billion for the U.S. economy.
NAACP Empowerment Programs joins other Hello Alice investors that include QED Investors, SVB Financial Group, How Woman Invest, Green Book Ventures, Backstage Capital, Harbert Growth Partners, Serena Ventures, Phyllis Newhouse, and Jean Case.