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Change is Brewing Across the Nation!

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Ben & Jerry’s new cold brew ice cream supports a new vision for public safety

You don’t have to be a barista to enjoy Ben & Jerry’s newest Limited Batch flavor—a cool combination of cold brew coffee ice cream, marshmallow swirls and fudge brownies. “Change is Brewing” was created to help transform the nation’s approach to public safety to one that prioritizes community needs.

Change is Brewing is part of Ben & Jerry’s ongoing work to advance racial justice, calling for the nation to divest from a broken criminal legal system and invest in services that help communities thrive, like mental health treatment, counseling, substance use treatment, and healthcare.

Ben & Jerry’s is joining more than 70 other organizations in supporting The People’s Response Act, landmark legislation introduced by Congresswoman Cori Bush. The legislation was written to transform a system that disproportionately criminalizes Black and Brown people into a system that provides resources to help every community, and especially communities of color, thrive.

The People’s Response Act was developed in partnership with community organizers, grassroots organizations, and movement partners, including the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL).

“The Movement for Black Lives welcomes Ben & Jerry’s support of The People’s Response Act, which would expand a new vision for public safety rooted in public health; and their investment in local organizations working every day in service of a new future for Black people,” said Monifa Bandele, member of the leadership of M4BL’s Policy Table. “Now is the time for Congress to embrace bold, courageous leadership and join Congresswoman Cori Bush in co-sponsoring The People’s Response Act and ensuring its final passage.” 

“We appreciate Congresswoman Cori Bush for having the courage and vision to introduce the People’s Response Act, legislation that would boldly transform public safety in America,” said Jabari Paul, US Activism Manager for Ben & Jerry’s. “We’ve come to understand that public safety is also a matter of public health. Congresswoman Bush’s legislation begins to make that important link by creating a public safety division within the Department of Health and Human Services.” 

The deep, rich coffee flavor in Change is Brewing is from BLK & Bold, the first Black-owned, nationally distributed coffee company that gives 5% of its profits to initiatives that support youth in need. Greyston Bakery, a values-led supplier and longtime Ben & Jerry’s partner, provides the scrumptious fudge brownies. The bakery has an “open hiring” policy that provides opportunities for people facing barriers to employment. On the pint, Black multi-disciplinary artist Laci Jordan paints a colorful picture of what the world might look like when Black people feel safe and all communities can thrive.

Change is Brewing will be available as a Limited Batch flavor at participating Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops and on store shelves for a suggested price of $4.49-5.69. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Change is Brewing will go to grassroots groups working to transform public safety in America. To learn more, visit benjerry.com/change.

About Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s is an aspiring social justice company that believes in a greater calling than simply making and selling the world’s best ice cream. The company produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and Non-Dairy/vegan desserts using high-quality ingredients and lots of big chunks and swirls. As a certified B Corp, Ben & Jerry’s incorporates its vision of Linked Prosperity into its business practices via values-led sourcing initiatives when purchasing ingredients. Ben & Jerry’s is distributed in more than 35 countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchised Scoop Shops, and via on-demand delivery services. Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality; a fair financial return; and social, racial, and environmental injustice around the globe. The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, guided by Ben & Jerry’s employees, granted $3.4MM in 2020 to support progressive, justice-focused grassroots organizing around the country. For up-to-date information, visit benjerry.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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Robert Smith could be 1st Black NFL Owner

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Robert Smith is a businessman and philanthropist who has had a very successful career in the financial industry. He has been interested in owning an NFL team for some time, but had not found the right opportunity.

The Denver Broncos are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL. They have won 6 Super Bowls and are currently valued at $2.6 billion, making them one of the most valuable franchise in football.

It should come as no surprise that a billionaire from Colorado has emerged as one of the possible bidders for the Broncos. An NFL success story, his efforts will make him the first black team owner in NFL history.

Smith would need to spend $1.2 billion, as the NFL requires primary owners to put up 30% in cash.

According to a Denver Gazette report, six groups are looking to buy the Broncos. One has former quarterback Peyton Manning and former president & general manager of the Broncos John Elway. Others include a group led by Ms. Brittany Bowlen – daughter of late owner Pat Bowlen.

The sale of the Broncos could go for more than $4 billion, making it the richest team sale in the history of American sports. If the team sells for $4 billion, Smith would need to spend $1.2 billion, as the NFL requires primary owners to put up 30% in cash.

Denver native Smith has pledged to pay off student debt acquired by 400-plus of the University’s graduates. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners which he founded in 2000.

Smith has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion and is ranked as the richest Black person in America, according to Forbes. The Broncos have a current value of $3.75 billion, with room to grow to more than $4 billion if sold now.

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