Author Archives: directory

The Kroger Co. Foundation Announces $3 Million Racial Equity Fund Partners

Foundation collectively invests $3 million to advance racial equity through partnerships with Black Girl Ventures, Everytable, LISC and Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The Kroger Co. Foundation (“Foundation”) has announced the recipients of its Racial Equity Fund “Build It Together” grant challenge, an initiative awarding $3 million in grants and forging partnerships with innovative organizations to help build more equitable, inclusive communities. This initiative reflects a focus area of Kroger’s Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan, a ten-point commitment announced in October of 2020 to accelerate and promote greater change in the workplace and in the communities the company serves.

The Foundation invited 14 organizations to apply for up to $1 million in funding through the Build It Together grant challenge, which welcomed organizations to submit proposals aimed at positively uplifting, supporting and impacting communities of color. A panel of judges, including Kroger associates and leaders, external partners, and local community foundations, evaluated the proposals and selected four finalists that collectively will receive $3 million to accelerate their visions.

“We launched our Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan with the goal of harnessing Kroger’s collective energy to advance racial equality in our culture and our communities,” said Keith Dailey, Kroger’s group vice president of corporate affairs and president of The Kroger Co. Foundation. “The intent of The Kroger Co. Foundation’s Racial Equity Fund is to catalyze innovative approaches to help create more equitable, inclusive and stronger communities. The Build It Together cohort reflects a group of enterprising organizations that are committed to creating lasting change for communities of color. We’re honored to partner with them.”

The Kroger Co. Foundation’s Build It Together grant recipients include:

  1. Black Girl Ventures (Washington, D.C.)
    Founded in 2016 by serial entrepreneur and computer scientist Shelly Bell, Black Girl Ventures’ (BGV) mission is to provide Black and Brown women founders with access to community, capital, and capacity building to meet business milestones that lead to economic advancement through entrepreneurship. BGV scales tech-enabled, revenue-generating businesses under $1 million to create racial and gender equity and an inclusive free market. BGV operates five chapters (Birmingham, ALDurham, NCHouston, TXMiami, FL; and Philadelphia, PA) and has funded over 130 Black and Brown women, held over 30 BGV pitch programs across 12 cities, leveraging over $600,000 in funding, and served more than 600 participants.
    BGV will use its $500,000 Build It Together grant to launch two Change Agent Fellowship cohorts, respectively in Cincinnati, OH and Detroit, MI, to achieve the mutual goal of increasing racial equity. The program expands the capacity of Black and Brown women founders, connecting them with sponsors, mentors and peers and providing training through entrepreneurship workshops and access to BGV’s network of investors and partners.
  2. Everytable (Los Angeles, CA)
    Everytable’s groundbreaking social franchise model is pioneering a new way to produce food that dramatically reduces the cost of healthy, fresh, and prepared meals, providing a viable alternative to fast food. The organization’s mission is to transform the food system to make fresh, delicious food accessible to everyone, everywhere through grab-and-go storefront markets in communities with extreme scarcity of healthy food options. Everytable’s social equity franchise program removes barriers to business ownership for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs with the goal to eliminate racial wealth disparities and expand access to healthy food. 
    Everytable will use its $1 million Build It Together grant to expand an innovative public-private funding structure to spur an increase in business ownership for Black entrepreneurs, and people of color (POC) broadly, with the goal of opening 40 POC-owned franchises over the next two years.
  3. LISC (New York, NY)
    The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is the country’s largest community development organization. With offices in 36 cities and a rural program that serves over 2,200 counties in 45 states, LISC’s dedicated team is committed to creating economic opportunity for all.
    LISC will use its $500,000 Build It Together grant to launch a long-term partnership to advance Project 10X, the organization’s ambitious strategy to close the racial health, wealth, and opportunity gaps in America. The organization’s proposal aims to support food-system businesses and community organizations working for equitable food access, led by and serving Black, Indigenous and people of color.
  4. Thurgood Marshall College Fund (Washington, D.C.)
    Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black college community.  TMCF member schools include publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominately Black Institutions (PBIs). Publicly supported HBCUs enroll over 80% of all students attending HBCUs. Through scholarships, capacity building, strategic partnerships, and innovative planning, TMCF serves as a critical access point for students, from college to career.
    TMCF will use its $1 million Build It Together grant to adapt its successful innovation and entrepreneurship program to focus on food insecurity and food waste, particularly in low-income and underserved Black communities. The challenge will combine the program model to bring the winning ideas to market, leveraging expertise from Kroger and its partners like Feeding America, as well as the community focus of HBCUs and the research capacity of these educational institutions. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HBCU leadership is focused more than ever on harnessing expertise to address basic needs – food, shelter, and health – for communities.

The Build It Together cohort will leverage funding from the Foundation to implement innovative programs and initiatives over the next 12 months and beyond.

“We’re eager to partner with these four exceptional organizations to create a brighter, more equitable future for the communities we serve,” said Sunny Reelhorn Parr, executive director of The Kroger Co. Foundation. “As a purpose-led organization, we know that actions speak louder than words. We remain committed to not only illuminating the important, impactful work of groups like these but also sharing our resources and delivering on the promises of our Framework for Action to accelerate meaningful change in our culture and country.”

To learn more about Kroger’s Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan, visit

SOURCE The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR)

SBA Extends 8(a) Assistance for Minority-Owned Businesses By 1 Year Due to COVID-19

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has published an interim final rule effective January 13, 2021, allowing 8(a) Program participants to elect a one-year program extension in the 8(a) Business Development Program due to the challenges of COVID-19.

Eligible 8(a) firms must meet the following qualifications:

  • Any firm that participated in the 8(a) Program between March 13, 2020, and September 9, 2020, has the option to extend its program participation for one year from the end of its program term;
  • Firms that were terminated, early graduated, or voluntarily withdrew from the 8(a) Program during this period are not eligible for the extension; and
  • Firms admitted to the 8(a) Program on or after September 10, 2020, are not eligible for the extension.

Automatic Extensions:

  • Firms participating in the 8(a) Program on January 13, 2021, will receive an automatic one-year program extension unless they decline it in writing.
  • If an 8(a) firm previously elected to voluntarily suspend its program participation in connection with the nationwide coronavirus emergency disaster declaration, the length of the suspension will first be added to the firm’s program term, and the one-year extension will be added to the end of that extension.
  • Firms that elect to extend their participation in the program will not be subject to a higher non-8(a) business activity target (BAT) for the extension period. The same 50 percent  BAT that applies to the ninth program year will apply to the extended program term.

Firms that do not wish to receive the automatic program extension are required to submit notice of decline in writing to:

    • SBA’s Associate Administrator, Office of Business Development, Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street SW, Washington, DC 20416 or email to

Graduated Firms:

  • Firms that were participating in the 8(a) Program as of March 13, 2020, but graduated before January 13, 2021, are eligible for program readmittance.
  • Firms seeking readmittance must notify SBA as soon as possible, but no later than March 15, 2021.   As a condition of readmittance, a firm must certify that it continues to meet all applicable program eligibility requirements. If readmitted, the extension date is the firm’s original program exit date. For example, a firm with a program completion date of April 15, 2020 is readmitted January 25, 2021, their new program end date is April 15, 2021.

Firms must submit readmittance notification to:

    1. Associate Administrator, Office of Business Development, Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street SW, Washington, DC 20416 or email to

SBA will readmit a firm to the 8(a) Program within five business days of receiving a readmittance request. The firm’s new program completion date is one year from the date it initially completed the program, not the date the final rule was published.

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

Flagstar Bank Commits $1 Million to Local Communities for Black, Indigenous and People of Color-Owned (BIPOC) Businesses

Small businesses may apply for grants of $5,000.

Flagstar Bank, the primary subsidiary of Flagstar Bancorp, Inc., is keeping a promise and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the communities it serves by giving $1 million in grants to help small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color whose operating expenses are impacted by COVID-19. Businesses owned by people of color have been especially hard hit by COVID-19, with nearly half of black-owned businesses shuttered by the pandemic.

Qualifying small businesses can submit applications now through Nov. 20 for grants of $5,000. Flagstar has partnered with BIPOC nonprofits in its key banking markets to vet and administer the grants.


Qualifications include diverse ownership, revenues of no more than $1 million, and a location within Flagstar Bank’s footprint of MichiganFort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana; and the High Desert of San Bernardino County, California. Additional qualifications, grant uses and other information are available in the application.

“We hope to combat the narrative that there is no assistance for minority-owned businesses,” said Dwan Dandridge, CEO of Black Leaders Detroit, one of the nonprofit partners. “We were founded to serve the entrepreneurs to do more with less. We are proud to team up with Flagstar to help these businesses survive, thrive and enhance the vitality of our communities.”

“We have a commitment to our communities and to keeping our promises to them,” said Alessandro DiNello, CEO of Flagstar Bank. “Reversing decades of systemic inequities is a marathon, and we are in it to the finish. These grants are an important milestone along the way to making our communities and our company better and more equitable for all.”

All business information submitted with the applications will be confidential. Businesses selected to receive grants will be notified Dec.4, with funds disbursed a few days later.

About Flagstar

Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE: FBC) is a $29.5 billion savings and loan holding company headquartered in Troy, Mich. Flagstar Bank, FSB, provides commercial, small business, and consumer banking services through 160 branches in MichiganIndianaCaliforniaWisconsin and Ohio. It also provides home loans through a wholesale network of brokers and correspondents in all 50 states, as well as 87 retail locations in 29 states, representing the combined retail branches of Flagstar and its Opes Advisors mortgage division. Flagstar is a leading national originator and servicer of mortgage and other consumer loans, handling payments and record keeping for $227.4 billion of loans representing slightly over 1.1 million borrowers.

Corporate Contact: Susan E. Bergesen, Corporate Communications (248) 312-6237

Source: Flagstar Bancorp, Incorporated

BBDO Appoints First Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

Jason Rosario Joins Global Senior Leadership Team

BBDO (Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn) Worldwide has announced that Jason Rosario has been hired as their first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and will begin on September 8, 2020. Rosario brings over 14 years of experience, and a track record for driving change.

Mr. Rosario will be based in New York, report to BBDO Worldwide President & CEO, Andrew Robertson, and partner with senior leadership to impact agency diversity policy and plans, recruitment, retention, training, education, and leverage of the network’s work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion, in the network, the industry, and society at large.

“We have a unique opportunity to transform BBDO, and the advertising industry at-large, through an intersectional and equitable lens. We want to continue to evolve our agency’s mindset to foster a new wave of inclusive culture and accountability, while, of course, doing great and resonant work for our clients. I’m excited to take on this next challenge at such an iconic agency and to see our progress in action,” said Rosario.

Rosario has worked with top clients including Netflix, Yahoo!, Spotify, Verizon Media Group, and Huffington Post, helping brands identify inclusive practices at the enterprise level. In 2017, he founded The Lives of Men, a social impact creative agency that explores themes around masculinity, mental health and culture. He has facilitated numerous workshops on allyship, psychological safety, race, and culture.

Rosario worked previously for Verizon Media Group as Manager of Global Diversity & Inclusion and was the Executive Producer and Host of the Yahoo! News original web series “Dear Men.” He has a background in financial services and is a graduate of NYU’s Stern School of Business. Rosario also sits on the board of Made of Millions, a non-profit organization changing the negative stigmas around mental health. In 2019 he was selected as one of Black Enterprise’s “BE Modern Men of Distinction.”

BBDO’s mantra is “The Work. The Work. The Work.”  Every day, BBDO people in 289 offices in 81 countries work day by day, job by job and client by client to create and deliver the world’s most compelling commercial content.  BBDO is part of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) (, a leading global marketing and corporate communications company.

Source: BBDO Worldwide

Citizens Bank Announces $1.5 Million Grant Program for Minority-Owned Small Businesses

Citizens Bank to award 100 minority-owned businesses with grants of $15,000 each

Citizens Bank has announced that it will award grants to minority-owned small businesses in recognition of the value that they bring as a vital part of our communities. With this program, Citizens will award 100 grants of $15,000 each ($1.5 million total) to 100 minority-owned businesses (customers and non-customers) across the Citizens 11 state footprint (Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont), extending its ongoing small business grant program.

“These grants, part of our ongoing $10 million commitment to promote social equity and advance economic opportunity, extend our promise to building stronger communities in which we operate and are aimed specifically at minority owned businesses to help them realize the positive impact small businesses have in those areas,” said Jack Murphy, President, Business Banking, Citizens Bank.

This program will also include a partnership opportunity (optional to the grant recipient) with Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. If the recipient opts in, SCORE will match the business with a mentor to help build and sustain success.

Small Business Grant Program Details:

What: The Citizens Bank Minority-Owned Small Business Grant Program provides assistance to minority-owned businesses within Citizens Bank’s 11 state footprint. Grant Amounts: 100 grants total, each for $15,000, for total of $1.5 million.

Who: Open to both Citizens business banking customers and other businesses who are not Citizens customers in our branch footprint. This grant will be open to businesses that are at least 51% minority-owned, operated and controlled by an individual who is Asian American, Black American, Hispanic American or Native American, in business a minimum of 1 year, with annual revenue up to $1 million.

When: Applications for grants will open Monday, August 3, 2020, 10:00 AM ET – Friday, August 7, 2020, 5 PM ET. Grant award recipients and disbursement of funds will occur in mid-September.

Where: To enter, please visit

How: Applicants can submit a 150-word essay answering the following question:

How would you use this grant to strengthen your business and community?

Entrants will be judged by the following criteria:

  • Perceived effectiveness of entrant’s plan to use the grant to strengthen and sustain their business (40%)
  • Perceived effectiveness of entrant’s plan to use the grant to help their community (40%)
  • Appropriateness to grant program theme and Citizens Bank brand image (20%)

Source: Citizens Bank

Lowes Increases Its Minority Grant Program to $30 Million

Home improvement retailer increases its minority grant program to $30 million; efforts continue to focus on support for small businesses and nonprofits led by women and minorities in economically vulnerable communities.

In response to the overwhelming need to help support small businesses across the United States, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) has announced it is increasing its minority small business grants from $25 million to $30 million while donating an additional $25 million to its small business grant program with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), doubling the amount already committed. The additional funds will focus on rural communities, which have been hard hit by the pandemic. The total $55 million commitment makes Lowe’s the largest donor to LISC’s Small Business Relief & Recovery Program and COVID Rapid Relief & Resiliency Fund.

“Having grown up in a small town, I have first-hand knowledge of the extraordinary challenges small business owners in rural communities across the country face during the pandemic. We also remain committed to supporting minority small businesses that are being disproportionately impacted. Today’s announcement that we are increasing our minority grant commitment to $30 million while making an additional $25 million grant donation to rural communities reflects our commitment to double down on our small business grant program and is another step in putting actions behind our words to support all the communities we serve,” said Lowe’s President and CEO Marvin R. Ellison. “We cannot solve this need alone, and I encourage other companies to step up and make a difference in supporting small businesses, which are the cornerstone of our economy. Together, we can make a meaningful difference, especially for those in historically disinvested communities and areas hit hardest by COVID-19.”

Nationwide, 7.5 million small businesses may be at risk of closing permanently, according to a survey by Main Street America. Small businesses in rural communities often face even more hurdles than their urban counterparts due to limited access to bank credit, capital and other support services. For the purpose of these grants, rural communities will be defined based on the USDA Rural Development (RD) standard of a population with 50,000 or less. Without the resources, many of these businesses may permanently close, resulting in significant job loss to the area.

“This remarkable commitment from Lowe’s is a game changer for rural America, and as a someone who grew up in a small rural town, I know directly the impact this investment is going to make for the future of rural businesses, residents and communities,” said Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO. “With it, we can help rural business owners sustain operations and protect jobs during the current crisis, while at the same time investing in sustainable growth throughout small towns, agricultural communities and coal country.

These grants will provide immediate relief for critical needs such as rent, payroll and operational expenses to keep businesses running. The donation also helps connect both the applicants and grantees to a network of local small business development, support, advocacy and capital access organizations. These grant recipients will receive one year of technical assistance post-grant to help further ensure their survival over the longer-term.

Source: Lowes

XPO Taps Eduardo Pelleissone for Chief Transformation Officer Post

XPO Logistics, Inc. (NYSE: XPO), a leading global provider of transportation and logistics solutions, has announced the appointment of Eduardo Pelleissone as chief transformation officer.

Eduardo Pelleissone joins XPO with 20 years of experience leading multinational operations in the food, logistics and transportation industries. He was most recently with Kraft Heinz Company and its predecessor H.J. Heinz for six years, where he led key strategic projects and served as executive vice president of global operations. While with Kraft Heinz, Pelleissone transformed the company’s global infrastructure, quality initiatives and financial performance, saving approximately $3 billion in costs while improving operational excellence.

Prior to Kraft Heinz, Pelleissone held executive roles with America Latina Logistica (ALL). His positions with ALL included chief executive officer, chief operating officer and commercial vice president of the agriculture division, as well as chairmanships of two ALL subsidiaries: cargo services provider Brado Logistica and road transportation provider Ritmo Logistica. Pelleissone holds a master’s degree in logistics, operations and services from COPPEAD Graduate School of Business in Brazil, and has completed the executive program of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

About XPO Logistics
XPO Logistics, Inc. (NYSE: XPO) is a top ten global logistics provider of cutting-edge supply chain solutions to the most successful companies in the world. The company operates as a highly integrated network of people, technology and physical assets in 30 countries, with 1,506 locations and approximately 96,000 employees. XPO uses its network to help more than 50,000 customers manage their goods most efficiently throughout their supply chains. XPO’s corporate headquarters are in Greenwich, Conn., USA, and its European headquarters are in Lyon, France.

Source: XPO Logistics

LaQuenta Jacobs Appointed Chief Diversity Officer at XPO Logistics

Leading U.S. logistics company appoints LaQuenta Jacobs to newly created position


XPO Logistics, Inc. (NYSE: XPO), a leading global logistics provider of cutting-edge supply chain solutions to the most successful companies in the world, has announced the appointment of LaQuenta Jacobs to the newly created position of chief diversity officer, effective August 3, 2020. Jacobs will provide cultural leadership and strategic direction as an advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion at XPO, and will report directly to the chief executive officer.

Ms. Jacobs is a progressive human resources executive with 23 years of experience leading organizational development initiatives for global public companies. She joined XPO in 2018 as head of human resources for the company’s last mile business unit, with responsibility for HR and recruiting operations in the United States and Canada. Prior to XPO, Jacobs championed inclusivity in senior HR roles with Delta Air Lines, Inc., The Home Depot, Inc., Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc. and Georgia-Pacific Corporation, among others. She has a degree in psychology from Clark Atlanta University.

Bradley Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer of XPO Logistics, said, “I’m delighted that our first chief diversity officer is such a qualified candidate from within our own organization. LaQuenta is a unique talent – she cares deeply about the human aspects of diversity, and also knows how to advance cultural development within a public company of XPO’s size, with almost 100,000 employees. I look forward to working with LaQuenta in her new role.”

Source: XPO Logistics, Inc.

Wells Fargo Names New Head of Strategy, Digital and Innovation

Ather Williams will lead corporate strategic planning; define and manage digital platform standards and capabilities; and manage innovation priorities, opportunities, and company-wide efforts to drive transformation.


     Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) has announced that Ather Williams III will join the company this October as head of Strategy, Digital and Innovation. Mr. Williams will report to CEO Charlie Scharf and serve on the company’s Operating Committee.
     “Ather is a strong, experienced leader with nearly three decades of global banking experience and deep expertise in strategic planning and delivering digital and innovative solutions for customers and clients,” Scharf said. “He is uniquely qualified to lead this group that aligns our strategic, long-term planning efforts with our strong focus on creating a more innovative, digitally enhanced company.”
     In his new role at Wells Fargo, Williams will lead corporate strategic planning; define and manage digital platform standards and capabilities; and manage innovation priorities, opportunities, and companywide efforts to drive transformation. His team will work closely with the company’s Technology Group and business lines to deliver digital solutions and innovation to customers that are integrated, intuitive, and seamless across channels. The formation of this group was part of the company’s February 2020 organizational announcement.
     Ather Williams joins Wells Fargo from Bank of America where he worked for nine years and most recently served as head of Business Banking, which provides strategic advice and solutions to small and mid-sized United States companies. He also served as head of Global Transaction Services, which delivers traditional, mobile, and digital transaction banking solutions to companies and institutions globally and was awarded two patents in payments under his leadership. Mr. Williams spent eight years in leadership roles at JPMorgan Chase with responsibilities that included business segment strategies, products, and technology solutions in Treasury & Securities Services.
     He is a member of the Executive Leadership Council and in 2019 was named to EMpower’s Top Ethnic Minority Executive Role Models and Diversity MBA Magazine’s “Top 100 Executive Leaders under 50.” Williams holds bachelor’s and master’s of business administration degrees from Harvard University.
     “I look forward to joining Wells Fargo and helping lead the transformation that is underway,” Williams said. “This new group will play a critical role in driving the company’s strategic planning efforts and working across businesses to deliver simple, easy, and convenient access to digital solutions and innovation and provide long-term value to customers and clients,” he added.
Source: Wells Fargo

Georgie Brophy Joins Noblis as Director of Business Development

Noblis Names Georgie Brophy as Director of Business Development for Space Systems

Noblis, a leading provider of science, technology and strategy services to the federal government has named former General Dynamics Missions System executive Georgie Brophy as Director of Business Development. Ms. Brophy brings significant experience in space systems including satellite ground systems and mission operations, and will focus on the growth of the company’s Space Systems portfolio.

“Georgie brings strong analytical and operational skills in satellite ground systems and mission operations,” said Mile Corrigan, vice president, Noblis Federal Civilian Solutions. “Her experience with NASA and NOAA satellite programs, including the former Space Shuttle program, spans over 20 years and we look forward to her contributions across our space business.”

Noblis applies its space systems expertise across many clients, including systems engineering for space situational awareness sensors, testing space protection systems and doctrine, and enhancing ground architecture to help ensure our nation’s space resilience. Noblis also provides high-quality advisory and technical services for clients’ C5ISR missions in space and other domains, and engineering services for the telecommunication and networking infrastructure of the National Airspace System. The company leverages its expertise in traffic management, from space traffic to autonomous surface transportation, to help enable new entrants like drones operate alongside existing traffic. Noblis also provides systems engineering for the development of multiple key systems required to ensure safe launch range operations.

“Georgie has extensive strategy and business development expertise and a true passion for the space sector,” said Matt Salter, vice president of Business Development, Noblis Federal Civilian Solutions. “In addition to her work with NASA and NOAA she has been active in the aerospace industry community serving as president of the board of the Maryland Space Business Roundtable and as co-founder of the Goddard Advocacy Partnership, where she now serves as vice president.”

Prior to joining Noblis, Brophy has served in senior management roles in strategy, client relations, business management and business development in the federal government and commercial sectors. In previous government contracting roles Brophy led Space Shuttle mission operations for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Hitchhiker Program and supported satellite mission operations for numerous science missions.

Brophy earned a master’s degree in International Business from the University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Source: Noblis

« Older Entries