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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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Online Tool Helps in Finding Grants and Tax Incentives

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Black-owned fintech and finance company Novae LLC announced the launch of a new online tool designed to help small businesses to find grants and tax incentives that can help them to grow exponentially.

Called Novae Grants, the new tool will allow users to search a database of thousands of financial assistance opportunities from both the government and the private sector. Tax credits that small businesses may qualify for will also be included in the database.

Novae founder Reco McCambry says that the grants his team is gathering for inclusion in the database range from $500 to $5 million in size, and are designed to help business owners serve their communities. The grants include town- and city-based grants to revitalize local businesses and create jobs, and federal and think tank grants to support renewable energy, tech, and innovation.

“The idea is to make it as easy as possible for small businesses to locate the support they need to grow,” McCambry says. “Whether you’re a mom and pop shop or a good-sized startup, you may be doing something that one of these agencies wants to promote for the sake of the public good.”

McCambry notes that most of the grants which have so far been located and placed in the Novae Grants database are intended for small businesses with 6-100 employees, though some are also intended for larger businesses and sole proprietor startups.

“We know that local businesses make us more secure,” McCambry told me in our interview, “and we know that innovation often comes from startups. There are a lot of organizations that recognize this and offer funding to support these missions. But not many people know how to find these grants, and many assume they won’t qualify because they aren’t in some specialized public service role. Our mission is to change that and bring this money into our communities.”

The Novae Grants search engine is now available at novaemoney.com. In addition to grants, Novae also helps companies build business credit, provides access to traditional business funding, and offers businesses the ability to provide consumer financing for their high-ticket offerings.

Novae and CEO McCambry’s mission to increase access to financing for businesses and customers in underserved communities has helped the company and its CEO to earn numerous awards and distinctions in recent years. Novae has been included on the Inc 5000 list of the 5000 fastest-growing businesses in America for two years running, while McCambry was recently named Innovator of the Year at the annual Bank Customer Experience Summit and received an Outstanding Leadership Award at Money2.0 this Spring.

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Cullen/Frost announces election of Joseph A. Pierce

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Joseph A. Pierce has been elected to the board of directors of Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. He has joined the board’s Corporate Governance and Nominating, Compensation and Benefits, and Technology committees.

Cullen/Frost Chairman and CEO Phil Green said, “(Pierce’s) legal, financial services and marketing expertise will be very useful as we pursue our organic growth strategy, and he is a great match for the Frost philosophy and our core values of integrity, caring and excellence.”
Headquartered in San Antonio, Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. is a financial holding company with $51.8 billion in assets as of June 30, 2022. Founded in 1868, Frost has helped clients with their financial needs for three centuries.

Pierce is the senior vice president and general counsel of AMB Sports and Entertainment at The Blank Family of Businesses. In that role, he counsels and advises across all areas of the organization, including the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United and the PGA Tour Superstores. Previously Pierce held positions including senior vice president and chief legal officer at Hornets Sports and Entertainment, overseeing legal and business administration for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. He has also served as senior vice president and associate general counsel of global marketing and corporate affairs at Bank of America, Comcast Sports Television Group, and Jacksonville Jaguars Ltd.
Pierce holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Georgetown University, and dual Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees from the Wharton School of Business and University of Pennsylvania Law School.

While he lives in Atlanta, he grew up in San Antonio and is very familiar with Frost.
“My family banked with Frost, and that’s how I knew of the bank’s customer service and the impact of Frost family in the community,” Pierce said.

In a 2018 NBA article on Pierce, he told the story about one of his track teammates, Ray Humphrey, who was a role model for him in juggling athletics and getting a law degree at the same time. Pierce said he used many of his experiences as a collegiate athlete to help him in his career and education.

He also shared in that same article that three of his four grandparents had doctorate degrees, which is not typical in many families but unusual in African-American families at that time. They all taught at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and were influential role models in his life.
“Growing up, I saw the impact of what education was able to do for them in their own lives, but more importantly, I saw the impact they could make with their own students that they taught. Going through life and meeting people that were students of my grandparents was great to see and really showed a lesson that it’s important to give back and make sure you do what you can to help other people grow,” Pierce said in the NBA article.

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City of San Antonio to Launch $500,000 Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program to Grow Local Small Businesses

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In the ongoing effort to support local small businesses, this week the City of San Antonio Economic Development Department, and the San Antonio Economic Development Corporation (SAEDC) launched the Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program administered in partnership with Alamo Surety Bonds.

This program will provide surety and bond assistance to eligible local small, minority, and woman-owned businesses seeking City construction contracts. This assistance is designed to establish, enhance, and increase the program participant’s bonding capabilities and capacity, which should lead to an increase in the number and size of City construction contracts they are both bidding on and awarded.
 
Eligible program participants will be provided a tailored needs assessment that includes educational, technical, and financial literacy components for success. In addition, program participants will be provided one-on-one bonding counseling, project support if awarded a City contract, and access to a $500,000 revolving pool of funds for those in need of assistance to cover costs related to City bonding requirements in order to bid on a City solicitation.
 
For more information on how to apply for the City of San Antonio Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program, visit www.sanantonio.gov/edd or call program administrators, Alamo Surety Bonds, at (210) 930-5550 or email at Jim@alamobonds.com.  

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