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Greenwood Closes $3 million Seed Round To Build Online Banking Solution for Blacks and Latinx

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Venture founded by Ambassador Andrew Young, Michael ‘Killer Mike’ Render and Ryan Glover

NEWS PROVIDED BYGreenwood Financial 

Michael Render, better known as “Killer Mike,” rapper turned activist, and Ambassador Andrew J. Young, civil rights legend and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Former Mayor of Atlanta, and Ryan Glover, Greenwood Chairman and founder of Bounce TV network are all founders of Greenwood, the first digital banking platform for Black and Latinx people and business owners. They have secured $3 million in seed money from investors

Greenwood’s initial products are savings and spending accounts that come with a stunningly designed black metal debit card for customers who sign up by the end of the year. Advanced features like Apple, Samsung, and Android pay, virtual debit cards, peer-to-peer transfers, mobile check deposits, and free ATM usage in over 30,000 locations are offered with no hidden fees. Customers who invite their friends to open accounts receive cash awards as a thank you from Greenwood. All deposits are FDIC insured by a partner bank.

Additionally, Greenwood plans to work with brick and mortar minority-owned banks to provide deposits to help strengthen historically black banks.

“The work that we did in the civil rights movement wasn’t just about being able to sit at the counter. It was also about being able to own the restaurant,” said Ambassador Andrew Young. “We have the skills, talent and energy to compete anywhere in the world, but to grow the economy, it has to be based on the spirit of the universe and not the greed of the universe. Killer Mike, Ryan and I are launching Greenwood to continue this work of empowering black and brown people to have economic opportunity.”

A mere five days after the October 8 announcement of the company, Greenwood has received more than 100,000 sign-ups to the waiting list for Greenwood’s digital banking platform at www.bankgreenwood.com. This pace illustrates the demand for a modern solution for minority banking and makes Greenwood one of the most successful launches in the history of the financial services industry.

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National CROWN Day 2022

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National CROWN Day 2022 Celebrates Black Hair Independence on the Anniversary of the Inaugural Signing of The CROWN Act

National CROWN Day is the commemoration of the inaugural signing of the first CROWN Act legislation in the United States in 2019 to “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” Presented by Dove and the CROWN CoalitionNational CROWN Day is back for its third year with a week-long celebration leading up to the signature star-studded CROWN Awards on Sunday, July 3, 2022.

We are excited to be back in New Orleans this year to celebrate National CROWN Day,” stated Esi Eggleston Bracey, CEO, Unilever North America Personal Care and President of Unilever USA. “The CROWN Act is a movement, with legislation against hair discrimination now in 16 states! We have a lot to celebrate and still much more to do to get the CROWN Act passed federally in each and every state! Dove stands for beauty inclusivity, and we will continue to galvanize the community to help pass The CROWN Act to eliminate hair discrimination nationwide.”

This year, National CROWN Day is being expanded to a week-long celebration starting June 26th during the 2022 BET Awards and continuing with daily CROWN conversations as we lead up National CROWN Day and the CROWN Awards on Sunday, July 3, 2022.

The CROWN Act legislation addresses unfair grooming policies that have a disparate impact on the Black community and has drawn attention to racial discrimination taking place within workplaces and public charter schools. The CROWN Coalition is the official national supporter of the CROWN Act movement; an alliance founded by DoveNational Urban LeagueWestern Center on Law & Poverty and Color Of Change, along with 90+ CROWN Act supporting organizations. The CROWN Act movement is led by a team of Black women: Esi Eggleston Bracey (CEO of Unilever North America Personal Care), JOY Collective Agency leaders Kelli Richardson Lawson and Orlena Nwokah Blanchard (CEO and President), and ABA Consulting CEO, Adjoa B. Asamoah working with a village of Black leaders and the community who share a desire to end discrimination.

On March 18, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the CROWN Act, and if a companion bill passes in the Senate, it would make hair discrimination based on the texture of natural hair illegal under Titles VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and other Federal civil rights laws. The CROWN Act and laws inspired by the CROWN Act have been enacted in 16 states: California (2019), New York (2019), New Jersey (2019), Virginia (2020), Colorado (2020), Washington (2020), Maryland (2020), Connecticut (2021), Delaware (2021), New Mexico* (2021), Nebraska* (2021), Nevada (2021), Oregon* (2021), Illinois* (2021), Maine (2022), and Tennessee* (2022). Three additional bills are awaiting governor’s signature in Alaska, Illinois* and Louisiana. In 2021, Illinois original bill, Senate Bill 3616 was a protection for schools ONLY; the new amendment to SB3616 would add the protection of workplaces as well.

*Legislation inspired by the CROWN ACT

Dove has also expanded its work to incorporate diversity in swimming, ensuring an end to hair discrimination in the workplace, schools, and pools. The CROWN Coalition members believe diversity and inclusion are key drivers of success across all industries and sectors. For a full list of CROWN Coalition members and Dove research studies that quantify the issue of hair discrimination, visit www.thecrownact.com

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EXPANDING BLACK BUSINESS CREDIT INITIATIVE CLOSES $29M FOR THE BLACK VISION FUND

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The Fund Will Increase the Pipeline of Funding for Black-owned Small Businesses 

The Expanding Black Business Credit network (EBBC) officially announced today the final close of its Black Vision Fund. The fund will lend long-term funds to six successful Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) with long histories of inclusive investing in order to expand their lending activity to small businesses in underserved communities. A primary goal is to reduce the racial wealth gap that plagues the Black community.

“The Black Vision Fund is the result of a network of Black-led/focused loan fund CEOs collaborating to create a fund that will demonstrate that there is a large market opportunity that has been neglected, which is the growing number of successful Black-owned small businesses in the country,” says Gary Cunningham, President and CEO of Prosperity Now.  Black Vision Fund’s CDFI network servicing a variety of markets across the country includes MEDA, Community First Fund, City First Broadway Bank, Black Business Investment Fund, Hope Enterprise Corporation/Credit Union, and National Community Investment Fund.

EBBC members are experienced Community Development Financial Institutions with more than $1.5 billion in combined total assets who currently help support entrepreneurs and small businesses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and California.

The fund will be managed by LISC New Markets Support Company (NMSC), an affiliate of Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and benefits from an anchor contribution from EBBC made possible by a significant grant from Wells Fargo. Additional funding partners include Amalgamated Bank, Ceniarth, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). All of these funders have contributed long-term, low-interest loan capital to the Black Vision Fund which will be on-lent to participating CDFIs.  The CDFIs, in turn, will provide financing to eligible small businesses operating in or benefiting disadvantaged communities, including Black-owned small businesses.

According to the U.S Federal Reserve, while Black-owned businesses were more likely to apply for bank financing, less than 47% of their applications were fully funded. The data found that Black-owned businesses were two times as likely to be turned down for loans as white business owners. Building on EBBC’s commitment to create thriving business ecosystems that strengthen Black-owned small businesses, Black-led nonprofits, and the Black-focused/led CDFIs that help them to succeed, the Black Vision Fund invests in CDFIs serving as a lending intermediary between funders and disadvantaged small businesses throughout the country. 

“Black-led and Black-focused financial institutions locate and invest in Black communities at much higher rates than white-owned financial institutions,” says Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Credit Union in Jackson, Mississippi. “The CDFIs supported by the Black Vision Fund will provide vital capital that will accelerate the growth of Black-owned small businesses.” 

Greater investment in Black-led or Black-focused financial institutions and businesses would have an historic impact on the racial wealth gap and expanding access to credit for Black business owners. Financing Black businesses increases the net worth of families of owners, creates local jobs, provides needed local goods and services, and ultimately contributes to supporting economic growth in Black communities. 

To learn more about EBBC and Black Vision Fund, please visit ebbcfund.org About EBBC 

Expanding Black Business Credit (EBBC) was formed in 2016 as a CEO Peer Learning Network by leaders of Black-led/focused Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to share best practices in lending to Black businesses and prove that there is an attractive market of Black-owned businesses that can be financed by the financial services industry and thereby reduce persistent inequalities of wealth, income and opportunity in Black communities.

They created a report to prove the value of equalizing lending to Black-owned small businesses and developed the Black Vision Fund to execute on it.About Black Vision Fund 

The Black Vision Fund (BVF) approves and invests loans in EBBC member Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that will then provide financing specifically to Black-owned small businesses. It is a vehicle that helps corporate and philanthropic investors put their capital to work to address racial and socio-economic disparities, fueling CDFIs with long histories of inclusive investing and deep connections to the communities they serve.

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Bodka Creek Capital acquires 460 Apt. Units

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Bodka Creek Capital Now Largest Black Woman Owned Real Estate Private Equity Firm in US

HOUSTON, Feb. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Bodka Creek Capital has acquired Valencia Grove Apartments, a 460-Unit Multifamily Complex in Houston, Texas.

Valencia Grove Apartments  was the third acquisition for Bodka in 2021, following the close of two complexes in 1H 2021. The investment establishes Bodka Creek as the largest African-American, woman-owned real estate private equity firm in the United States. Located at 11810 Algonquin Drive, the property features a sparkling swimming pool, resident clubhouse, two dog parks, mature oak trees, spacious courtyards, and three onsite laundry facilities. Valencia is situated between Houston Hobby Airport and the NASA Mission Control Center and neighbors Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital and San Jacinto College South Campus. 

The firm plans to execute a value-add strategy that will drive occupancy and net operating income up, thus increasing the value of the property. Bodka Creek Capital is dedicated to revitalizing the exterior, interior, and amenities of the property to better serve current and future residents. Some of these improvements will include the addition of a new playground and walking trail, updating the resort style pool area, enhancing the property building systems, and renovating unit interiors.

“Valencia Grove exemplifies our multifamily value-add acquisition strategy and our emphasis on utilizing investment as a tool to build and improve communities,” Allyson Pritchett, Founder & CEO at Bodka Creek Capital, said in a news release. “Our past investments showcase our focus on the transformation of properties into high quality / budget friendly housing while building strong communities, a product which is increasingly in short supply. With the Southeast seeing such tremendous growth, we feel investments like these will be ever more important for the region into the future.” 

Investment Partners included RTC Global Investments, Value Investment Partners, Trinity Investors, Impex Capital Group and Melifera Partners.

Vernon Beckford and Eric Andrew of Diversified Lending Solutions and Dwight Mortgage Trust’s New York Office secured the debt financing.

About Bodka Creek Capital
Bodka Creek Capital, LLC (http://www.bodkacreekcapital.com) is a privately held real estate private equity firm, engaged in the acquisition and active management of commercial property. The Houston-based company focuses on value-add and ground up development strategies in the multifamily, mixed-use, and self-storage sectors. Bodka Creek Capital currently manages a $100 million commercial real estate portfolio with almost 1000 multifamily units totaling more than 1,000,000-square feet of commercial space. The firm will continue to pursue value-add opportunities across the Southeast.

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