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1st African American USAA Chairman to Retire

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Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Lester Lyles has announced the next USAA’s membership meeting in August will be the last as chairman.
Since 2004 General Lyles has been on USAA’s board of directors. He told members that he deeply appreciates their trust and thanked them “for your loyalty through the years” in a recent letter that was part of the annual membership report.

Born April 20, 1946 General Lyles is a former United States Air Force general, Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, and Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. After retirement from the Air Force in 2003, he became a company director for General Dynamics, DPL Inc., KBR Incorporated, Precision Castparts Corp., MTC Technologies, Battelle Memorial Institute and USAA. Lyles is also a Trustee of Analytic Services and a Managing Partner of Four Seasons Ventures, LLC.

In 2017, Lyles earned $461,034 from his role as board chairman, up from $449,910 in 2016. In 2018, Lyles earned $458,499 in salary for the role, records show.

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One of the Brothers: Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce’s New Chairman

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The Psi Alpha Chapter, known to most in the city as the “Alamo City Ques” is proud to call Brother Gregory Thompson, a 1979 initiate of the Sigma Delta Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated, one of their own.  Brother Thompson was recently appointed Chairman of the Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce.  Established in 1938, the Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce provides a conduit between the City of San Antonio, its agencies, and other governmental entities to foster economic empowerment for businesses and individuals in San Antonio. 

The Chamber’s emphasis is to be part of the economic activity, promote jobs, training, and business referrals to businesses and organizations.  As a member of the board, Bro. Thompson leads a team of 11 advocating for African American businesses in the Greater San Antonio Metropolitan Area.  In addition to his outstanding work serving the community, Bro. Thompson is also the Founder of “Omega Speak,” a newsletter distributed monthly to the Brothers of Psi Alpha Chapter.

Congratulations Mr. Thompson on your new role!

For more information about the Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce please visit https://alamocitychamber.org/ or https://alamocitychamber.org/.

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Investors Buying Entire Blocks in Houston to Revitalize and Bring in Black-Owned Businesses

Real estate developer Chris Senegal and broker Jay Bradley are teaming up to buy several blocks to renovate and revitalize in Houston.

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Real estate developer Chris Senegal and broker Jay Bradley are teaming up to buy several blocks to renovate and revitalize in Houston. Together with Cocoa Collective Xchange, they are helping bring back Black-owned businesses into the Fifth Ward community through a Buying the Block campaign.

The project was started by buying abandoned properties and turning them into new construction homes. It has, so far, attracted a number of young Black professionals to be homeowners as well. New homes for families who have lived in the Fifth Ward for decades will also be built in some of the redeveloped blocks.

More than that, the main purpose of the Buying the Block campaign is to attract more investors into the community in order to fund long-term rentals for businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops, and office space. The campaign has raised more than $720,000 from over 1,100 investors.

“I have enough to complete the project,” Senegal told Chron. “Additional investor funds will be used to acquire adjacent properties to expand the scope of the project.”

For Senegal, the project has been beneficial to alleviate the damage caused by flipping houses. Bradley, who owns the Equinox Realty Group, shares the same sentiments, believing better opportunities come with having strong ties within the community.

“You create opportunities to have something better in the community,” Bradley said. “At this point, it’s really about helping people who are trying to do good things with the community.”

For more information about Buying the Block campaign, visit BuytheBlock.com

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Visa Launches Program Offering $10K Grants to Black Women Business Owners

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In an effort to specifically support Black women-owned small businesses, Visa is extending their partnership with IFundWomen through a new series of grants and educational resources. Ten $10,000 grants will go to Black women in the U.S. to help them run and grow their businesses.

Through this program, Visa is committed to providing Black women entrepreneurs with access to the capital, coaching, and connections they need to grow their businesses during this challenging time.

The program criteria are as follows:

• Must be a Black women-owned business
• Must be located in the United States
• Must have a minimum annual revenue of $24K or more
• Must have been in business for 2+ years
• Must be a business that has a product or service in market and generating revenue
• Must be a growing business
• Must be a consumer product or service (B2C)
• Must have a compelling digital presence and supporting media

“The $10,000 is not a random number,” says Suzan Kereere, Visa’s global head of Merchant Sales and Acquiring told Forbes. “For many entrepreneurs, when they look for seed funding or funding to go from proof of concept to launch, the sweet spot is about $10,000. The $8,000 to $14,000 range is the amount of capital you need to get an ordinary small business off the ground. One of the reasons so few businesses make it into the venture capital stage is the majority will need about that much capital to get started. We’ve got to give them the kind of capacity and elasticity they need that works at the scale the majority live in.”

The deadline to apply is July 31, 2020.

For more details, visit https://ifundwomen.com/visa

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