Thursday, March 15, 2018

Black Americans Are Earning Less Today than 2000; What Is Impact Investing?; The Economic Siege of Black America on Television; Williams Towns, Benefit Chicago and $100 Million in Impact Investing

Table of Contents
African Americans are the
only U.S. racial group
earning less than in 2000
By Heather Long,Washington Post
September 15, 2017
African Americans were worse off financially in 2016 than they were in 2000.The median income for an African American household was $39,490 last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released last week. It was $41,363 in 2000. (Both figures are in 2016 dollars, so they have been adjusted for inflation).
African Americans are the only racial group the Census Bureau identifies that has been left behind. White, Asian and Latino households have all seen at least modest income gains since 2000.
The uptick in incomes for so many Americans helped lift the overall median U.S. household income to $59,039 last year, the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau. That figure surpassed the previous record set in 1999, during the last period of strong economic growth. Median household income means half of U.S. households earn more and half earn less. It's an important indicator of the health of the middle class.
But the overall trend masks that African Americans, as a group, have not recovered.Black Americans have struggled for years to move up the economic ladder. They have a harder time finding jobs. Merely having an "African American sounding name" makes an employer less likely to hire someone, a National Bureau of Economic Research study found.
The blackunemployment rateis nearly double the white unemployment rate. It's been that way since the Labor Department began keeping track of unemployment by race in the early 1970s. Black Americans also receive substantially lower wages than whites and Asians.
"Character, talent and insight are evident in individuals from all income classes. But not all individuals get an equal chance to prove their mettle," said Mary Coleman, senior vice president of Economic Mobility Pathways, a Boston-based nonprofit group.
The Census data also showed that almost 1 in 4 black households lives in poverty. The poverty rate among African Americans (22%) is more than double the poverty rate among whites (9%).
African Americans have the lowest earnings of any racial group by far. While median household income for African Americans was just over $39,000 last year, it was over $47,000 for Latinos, over $65,000 for whites and over $81,000 for Asian American households.
Lower incomes make it harder to get by, let alone get ahead. African Americans are much less likely than whites to own homes or invest in the stock market, in part because low wages leave them with limited extra income to save up for a down payment.
African Americans also are more likely to lack health insurance. The Census released data this week showing that the uninsured rate for the nation overall was 8.8%, an all-time low. But it was 10.5% for African Americans.
Williams Rodgers, chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development atRutgers University, co-wrote a report last year for the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute that found that black-white wage gaps are larger today than they were in 1979.
Click Here to Read Full Story
How You Can Make A Difference (And Money) With Impact Investing
By Allyson Brooks
March 13, 2018

With impact investing, you can make an investment in an organization with a mission of providing a positive environmental and social impact and receive a significant financial return. Impact investment opportunities can be found in developing and emerging markets.

What Is Impact Investing? The goal of these type of investments is to improve business and growth opportunities for socially minded businesses. The businesses role is to provide you with two types of returns on investment: your desired social or environmental outcomes and financial capital. Organizations looking for impact investors will present a clearly defined objective. The goals of impact investing can include, but aren't limited to, improving education, reducing crime, increasing job opportunities, and sustainable agriculture.

How Can I Start Impact Investing? While most capital for impact investing comes from large, socially or environmentally conscious companies or corporations, it is possible to invest on your own. Consider the following:

Mutual funds- This is considered the easiest way to begin impact investing. There are various mutual funds that promote environmental and social improvements. Once shares of these mutual funds are purchased, an investor will make money on their capital growth or dividends.

Sustainable Agriculture - This involves making investments with local growers who provide their products directly to customers. It removes the step of shipping, processing, and provides fresh food. It's possible to join an investor network and provide money for individuals to purchase land, equipment and other items. Look into community supported agriculture (CSA) initiatives in your community.

Microfinance - These are very small loans provided to people or businesses in underdeveloped countries. The money provided usually helps with startup costs, like building renovations or buying land. There's no need to find these people as there are organizations dedicated to connecting them with investors.

Energy- Invest in energy efficiency by purchasing shares of companies dedicated to providing alternative energy. This includes businesses focused on providing solar energy, wind energy, or efficient building materials. Many of these companies are traded on the exchange.
Watch the Video for
The Black Star Project's
Public Policy and
Economic Empowerment
Lecture Luncheon Series #1
George S. Wright
Researcher, Economic Strategist and Historian
Standing center - George S. Wright. Left to right Yvette Moyo, Paul McMickle andHelen Hammond Redding.
Speaking on
View the program online by Clicking Here.
Qualifying High School
Students Across Chicago Metropolitan Area Can
Apply for this Sholarship
Click Here for More Information
Boston Welcomes Boys and
YoungMen of Color
Dear friends and supporters of COSEBOC,
I am very pleased to announce the date and location for the12th Annual COSEBOC Gathering of Leaders. It will take place in the great city ofBoston, MA, from May 29-31, 2018. The venue is the historicBoston Park Plaza Hotel. The highlyacclaimedYoung Men's Passagewill convene on these same dates in a nearby location.
TheBoston Public Schoolsand theMy Brother's Keeper Boston Programwill co-host both events. These host partners are equally excited about the return of the Gathering of Leaders to their hometown. For any of you history buffs, Boston is a city of many "firsts". Here are just a few:
  • The Massachusetts 54th, the 1st Regiment of Free Black Men
  • Boston Latin H. S., America's 1st Public Secondary School
  • The Liberator, the 1st Abolitionist Newspaper
These historical facts also illuminate our theme for 2018, which is:Boys and Young Men of Color: Liberated, Empowered and Educated. The power of this theme will set the tone for a stirring, productive and engaging convening. I also predict that the impact of our collective and individual learning will continue the positive momentum in service of boys and young men of color across this nation.
Every aspect of our preparation and programs will be inextricably linked to this year's theme. You will receive information regarding registration, lodging, the call for workshop presenters and vendor applications. Watch for updates here on our websiteand via email.
This letter officially launches the12th Annual COSEBOC Gathering of Leaders.If you have attended a COSEBOC Gathering in the past, I am sure that you share in my excitement about this year's convening. If this is your first opportunity to attend, we welcome and look forward to meeting you.
See you in Boston!
Ron Walker
Executive Director
Click Herefor more information about this Gathering of Leaders.
The Black Star Project's
Public Policy and Economic Empowerment Luncheon Series #3
William Towns
Executive Director
Benefit Chicago
Topic: Delivering $100 million in impact investments 
for nonprofits and social enterprises working throughout the Chicago region.
12:00 noon
Thursday, March 22, 2018
The Black Star Project
3509 South King Drive
Chicago, Illinois
William W. Towns is a scholar activist and practitioner dedicated to helping solve civic and urban issues at the structural level. William is the inaugural executive director of Benefit Chicago, a collaboration between The Chicago Community Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and Calvert Impact Capital, to create a $100 million impact investment fund targeting the social enterprise sector in the Chicago region. His responsibilities include strategy development, investor and media relations, and deal sourcing.
Recent Deals that Put Money in the Hands of Chicago Organizations include:
AutonomyWorks is a for-profit social enterprise that provides meaningful employment for adults with autism. The $600,000 loan will be used to expand marketing and training activities to increase the number of people hired.
CNI is a Community Development Corporation (CDC) and certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that engages in comprehensive revitalization work in Chicago's economically challenged neighborhoods. Proceeds from the $2 million loan will be used in part to facilitate the completion of the 111th Street Retail Gateway in Pullman, which is currently under construction.
Garfield Produce Company is an indoor, vertical hydroponic vegetable farm that creates sustainable local employment and generates wealth in disinvested neighborhoods through the production and sale of high quality fresh produce year-round. Garfield Produce will use its $500,000 loan to expand production capacity and hire additional employees.
Sweet Beginnings, a wholly owned for-profit subsidiary of the North Lawndale Employment Network, uses the production of beelove™ - a line of honey-based products - to provide job training to community residents who, due to former incarceration or other circumstances, have found it difficult to procure gainful employment. The $500,000 loan will be used to expand production and sales, which will make it possible to increase the number of individuals served and their length of employment.
This Luncheon Includes:
  • A presentation by Mr. Towns
  • Lunch provided by a Black-owned restaurant or caterer
  • Sponsorship of a community not-for-profit
  • Networking with top Chicago business people
  • Free admission to two college students
Cost: Members - $35.00
General Public - $45.00
Please Click Here to RSVP or call 773.285.9600 by 3/20/2018.Free parking available in the rear.Short taxi ride from downtown Chicago. Click Here to see video on the work of Benefit Chicago
If the Cost of Freedom Was 15 Cents a Day; $1.00 a Week;or$50.00 a Year, Would You Buy It? Please Support the Mind and Spirit Freeing Workof The Black Star Project. Click Here!!!
If You Know of Another Organization "Doing the Work"
of The Black Star Project, please support them. If not, please support us!
Standing center - George S. Wright. Left to right Yvette Moyo, Paul McMickle and Helen Hammond Redding working on an exercise from Public Policy and Economic Empowerment Lecture Luncheon Series. (Photo by Hurley Green III)
Dear Propsective Members:
The Black Star Project is one of the few Black-led organizations in America working in the space of Public Policy, Advocacy and Economic Empowerment.
Our programs include:
  • The Public Policy and Economic Empowerment Lecture Luncheon Series
  • The Hour of Power Leadership Forums
  • The "Circulate Black Dollars in Black Communities" Campaign
  • Financial Literacy Classes for Youth
  • Creating "Policy In Action" papers for our members
  • Information Distribution through Radio, Television, Eblast, Youtube, Etc.
  • Our nationally famous email distribution with news that you don't get from your morning newspaper.
Communities will either produce the organizations they need, and support them, or they will be forced to take the organizations they are given.
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  • If you invest $10.00 per week or $500.00 per year, you will become a leader of The Black Star Project
  • If you invest $20.00 per week or $1,000.00 per year, you will become a visionary of The Black Star Project.
Just click the orange DONATE NOW button (orCLICK HERE) to make a positive difference in the lives our communities, our families and our children.

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