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While the work cannot be contained to just one month, February represents a time to celebrate the many Black Americans who have left lasting impacts on society, culture, and business. It’s also a time to reflect on the barriers that people of color continue to face so that we can identify and enact solutions to these challenges.

Two new studies shed light on some of those barriers that still need to be broken. Research from Catalyst, the women’s advocacy group, reveals that 51% of women from marginalized racial and ethnic groups in Australia, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States have experienced racism in their current workplace. Just as alarming, 79% of Black business owners have experienced racism from customers, according to an Intuit survey.

In light of these studies, this month we share several articles that highlight the opportunity for impact investors, entrepreneurs, and leaders from all sectors to play a role in shaping a more equitable future.

Before we dive into those stories, we’d like to spread the word about an opportunity from our friends at Invest for Better. The nonprofit is currently recruiting its next cohort of women to join its movement to empower women to invest with their values. If you have discovered the power of values-aligned investing and would like to help other women activate their capital, visit the Circle Leaders page to get information about training for the Spring Cohort of Circle Leaders, which begins on February 21st.


Mellody Hobson has been blazing trails throughout her entire career. She rose from intern to co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments, the largest Black-led asset manager in the US, and also serves as a director of JPMorgan Chase and as the first Black woman board chair of Starbucks.

Along the way, Hobson has used her voice to advocate for improving diversity in corporate America. She now has a new plan to bring more Black executives into the C-suite, as she explained in a recent interview with Forbes. It’s called Project Black, Ariel Investments’ first private equity initiative. The $1.45 billion Project Black fund aims to buy midmarket companies that are not currently minority owned, as well as Black and Latino-owned businesses, and transform them into certified minority business enterprises with the scale to serve as suppliers to Fortune 500 companies.

Featured in Be Fearless, Mellody Hobson’s impact and success reminds us of the importance of pushing through barriers, being bold, and taking risks.

"Fear holds people back," Hobson told Investor's Business Daily in 2020. But success, she says, “is about bravery.” We can’t wait to see where her commitment to fearless endeavors takes her next and how her work will inspire so many.

Investing in Economic Mobility for Black Americans
A new McKinsey report shines a light on eight socioeconomic pillars that will have the greatest impact in advancing economic mobility for Black Americans: affordable housing, pre-K–12 education, health equity, financial inclusion, business ownership, workforce training and job attainment, the digital divide, and public infrastructure. As impact investors look for ways to address the underlying factors that have historically created barriers for Black communities, the eight pillars represent viable and potentially profitable opportunities to do well by doing good.
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Institutional Investors Ramp Up Sustainable and Impact Investing

Over the past four years, institutional investors have ramped up sustainable and impact investing activity by 81%, finds a new Cambridge Associates survey. Family offices and high-net-worth individuals lag behind other investors, with 52% reporting that they have integrated sustainable and impact investing, compared with 73% of foundations and 69% of endowments.
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Thriving Black Businesses

Black business owners reported a 23% jump in revenue last year—twice the rate of US small businesses overall, according to a recent survey from SCORE, a nonprofit mentoring network. Yet despite this success, Black entrepreneurs still find it difficult to secure funding. A separate study from the Black Owners & Women’s Collective tells a similar story — Black women represent the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs but struggle to access capital, with 95% using personal finances to start their companies. In light of these surveys, Triple Pundit recently highlighted how mentoring programs, venture capital funds, corporations, and individuals can all play a role in helping Black businesses to thrive.
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Startup Boom Continues
The new business explosion sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of burning out anytime soon. Entrepreneurs filed more than 5 million new business applications in 2022, up 44% from 2019. Southern states, including Florida and Texas, saw the biggest peak in applications, thanks to heavy migration to these areas during the pandemic.
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Best Places to Celebrate Black History Month

If you live in a major US city, chances are that you don’t have to travel far to visit cultural sites that tell the stories of Black Americans. U.S. News & World Report and The New York Times recently spotlighted museums, events, and historical landmarks to visit across the nation, from Boston to Los Angeles and many cities in between. If you are unable to travel to any of these impressive sites, you can still read and watch the stories of Black Americans from your own home — check out Essence Magazine’s watch list, the Smithsonian’s Museum of African-American History and Culture, and the 2892 Miles to Go community-led storytelling site.
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