In 2017, a study by Prosperity Now and Institute for Policy Studies reported the median wealth for Black Americans would fall by $0 in 2053. Of course, this was revealed well before knowledge of a novel virus would spread across the globe, and now just a few years later, all indications signal the shrink in wealth could take place much sooner than that. An already well-established wealth inequity coupled with the after-effects of the pandemic has caused over 1 million black-owned businesses within America closing down for good; resulting in thousands of lost jobs and community resources, and many others are facing touch and go financial uncertainty.
When Black Professionals Summit (2014) and then Black Professionals Network was launched in 2016 our mission was to develop motivated and goal-oriented black professionals into industry leaders for the organizations and communities they served. Connecting them to each other and building up our professional networks across industries, job functions, and interests. Tugging on the age-old adage “your network equals your net worth.”
However, with black businesses still among the top source for black employment and corporations providing opportunities at a slower than expected pace, the viability of black communities rests on a few. Our mission, while still relevant needed an update to reflect the current needs and to recognize many of our professionals are already equipped and ready to serve. What is missing is a pathway to key connections and resources that would raise our earning potential and community impact. This must be prioritized more than ever now. Not just part of a feel-good campaign but an intentional and concentrated righting of wrongs.
For us, this called for a clearer vision and goal to serve as our North Star in building a social-learning organization that provides our professionals the connections and resources they need to excel and thrive well before the doomsday report of 2053 and the fallout caused by COVID-19. So, what’s new?
A bold commitment to serve and provide 1 million black professionals the resources and connections they need to excel and thrive. This means:
Bridging Relationship: The work of the bold and gifted can no longer remain on a need to know basis. Connecting our professionals across cultures and forming equitable partnerships to increase access to opportunities is integral. Our revamped programs balance preparing our professionals for the future of work and connecting them to the companies and partners seeking their talent and brilliance.
Innovation Connections: Investment in the technology and software that assists us in strengthening community. Seredepitious and cultivated meetings with professionals at every stage across every industry. Creating space for professionals from all over to host group virtual events right from the platform. Promote their work and make new connections.
Black Professionals Business Directory: While many directories focus on products and goods, we know there was a need to find lawyers, doctors, tutors, grant writers, creatives, realtors, and so much more. Ensuring that everyone from our corporate partners to the community at large could find black service providers. Add your business today.
While we have a bold new vision, one thing remains true: together each achieves more. Our company principle still remains a core tenant as we usher our professionals along thriving pathways to increase their influence, knowledge, and net worth. This work, however, can not be done alone. We can achieve great heights by setting aside differences in age, social status, race, ethnicity, and/or disability. A world that allows any willing black professional to reap the benefits of their hard work, talent, and skills while finding trusted guidance and allies along the way.
So join our #InvestInBlack call to action. There are several ways to be apart of this: (1) Donate – support our efforts to increase equity and access; (2) Become a member – whether as an individual or corporate member, membership provides great value and ensures we invest in our trusted stakeholders; (3) Join the team – as a non-profit we are always looking for collaborative and service-driven professionals to propel our mission forward. As always, we welcome feedback. Let us know how we can improve and what solutions we can implement to make a difference in our community. Let’s make black equity a reality together.