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Saying Goodbye to Another Year and a Positive Future

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Looking back at 2022 gives me much promise. The future looks so bright I have to put on shades. Not only did we just celebrate our 12th edition of the Blackbook Yearbook & Directory last week, but I also look forward to celebrating 30 years of Avista Products in April. 

In the next 10 years, the San Antonio to Austin corridor is expected to generate over $40 billion in extra revenue from the manufacturing sector. That is an average of $4 billion per year. Those who move here or get hired will need to find a new place to live, worship, educate, eat, entertain, etc. I think you get the picture. For 2023 the city of San Antonio’s budget is $3.4 billion. Not bad! The business and the people are coming. I’m hoping the Black business community will also benefit from the growth.

Avista Products is heavily involved in technology, with our roots in graphic design. We have seen a lot of changes in the industry. From the beginning of HTML to the metaverse, the tech world has been exploding with Artificial intelligence or AI. This new technology (AI) has helped us produce graphics based on concepts we thought about. Storytelling is part of our culture. You can literally write the words to describe the image you want to create, and AI will create it for you. This week’s cover combines AI and manual input – possibly a perfect collaboration. Technology will definitely make our lives easier. 

In the famous words of Pastor TD Jakes, “Hold on, I’m not finished.” Recently, scientists have announced nuclear fusion stabilization. Of course, nuclear power is not news, but its waste and stability are a risk to the world that’s already experiencing extreme climate change. This new version does not produce a harmful by-product. It’s like announcing the internet is fully developed. It’s expected it won’t be mainstream for another 20 years, but for the wealthy, they will probably get it in five to 10 years. Can you imagine buying your energy once, passing it down to future generations, or buying gas for your car once? Scientists are also experimenting with computers and smartphones that are 100 times faster and smaller. I’m excited about what the future holds. 

Innovation is also coming from Avista Products and Black Life Texas. We are now in 78 locations citywide, including 41 HEB locations and select Jim’s Restaurants. Stay tuned as we increase our event coverage, stories, and culture-engaged commentary. We are proud to provide the San Antonio community with a product that understands the Black community, recognizes and honors its leaders, and is willing to objectively cover issues you likely won’t see in mainstream media. 

Thank you for being a reader. Happy New Year!

Carl Booker
Owner of Avista Products
Publisher – Black Life Texas and Blackbook Yearbook & Directory

Business

Increasing Financial Literacy is Critical in Black Wealth

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The nation’s 44 million African-Americans account for 13% of the U.S. population and significantly impact the economy, with $1.2 trillion in purchases annually. But the financial well-being of African-Americans lags behind the U.S. population and whites in particular. 

The reason for these gaps is increased financial literacy. According to the TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index, there is a strong link between financial literacy and financial wellness among African-Americans. The report examines the current state of financial literacy and financial wellness among African-American adults.

The P-Fin Index measures eight key areas of personal finance knowledge: earning, consuming, saving, investing, borrowing and managing debt, insuring, comprehending risk and uncertainty, and go-to information sources.

Personal finance knowledge among African-American adults lags behind that of whites. On average, African-Americans answered 38% of the index questions correctly, with only 28% answering over one-half of the index questions correctly. The comparable figures among whites were 55% and 62%, respectively.

Financial literacy varies across demographic groups within the Black population. The observed patterns are consistent with variations identified in the U.S. population—financial literacy is greater among men, older individuals, more formal education, and higher incomes.

Insurance is the area where personal finance knowledge is lowest among African-Americans. Other areas where knowledge lags are in comprehending risk, investing, and identifying go-to information sources.

Borrowing and debt management is the area of highest personal finance knowledge among Black Americans.

There is a strong link between financial literacy and financial wellness among African-Americans. Those who are more financially literate are more likely to plan and save for retirement, have non-retirement savings, and to manage their debt better; they are also less likely to be financially fragile.

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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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