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Latino Business Action Network (LBAN) Launches Supplier Diversity Advancement Program

Source: PALO ALTO, CA, UNITED STATES, September 9, 2022 /

This summer, the Latino Business Action Network (LBAN) presented the Supplier Diversity Advancement Program to its 900-plus alumni network. The pilot program supported by Wells Fargo was designed to thoughtfully connect Latino-owned businesses within the LBAN network to corporate partners seeking to procure from minority-owned businesses.

The program participants are scaled companies ($1m+ in revenue), MBE certified, Stanford Latino Scaling Program graduates, and who have a deep desire to grow via corporate procurement. The new program adds to LBAN’s roster of offerings to help Latinx businesses continue to scale.

Designed to promote collaboration between corporations and the Latino business community, the Supplier Diversity Advancement Program focused on general procurement education, hands-on training, and connections with corporations interested in doing business with minority-owned companies. Graduates are leaving the program with a greater understanding of the corporate procurement process and a well-refined capability statement, which will help better position them to pursue corporate contracts.

“Access to corporate and government contracts are crucial to the growth and scale of Latino businesses, yet they are underrepresented in these contract opportunites; where only 8% of Latino-owned businesses have reported accessing corporate or government contracts,” says Jennifer Garcia, COO, LBAN. “The Supplier Diversity Advancement Program is an opportunity for businesses to prepare for corporate procurement and for corporations to source from the top three percent of Latino-owned businesses. This program creates a multi-faceted win,” added Garcia.

LBAN published an e-book of capabilities statements of all the Supplier Diversity Advancement Program participating companies, allowing corporations to efficiently browse capability statements based on category. Corporations committed to supplier diversity and an interest in connecting with Latino-owned businesses should email for more information on accessing the e-book and connecting with LBAN.

About LBAN
LBAN is a dynamic nonprofit based in Silicon Valley with a big mission to strengthen the U.S. economy by empowering Latino entrepreneurship across the country. We partner with Stanford University through the jointly supported Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI). In addition to driving SLEI-Research, SLEI-Education Business Scaling Program, LBAN focuses on building a national ecosystem for Latino business owners.

Bank of America Announces Small Business Down Payment Grant Program to Drive Women and Minority Business Growth

Source: Bank of America, August 30, 2022 — 9:00 AM Eastern

New Special Purpose Credit Program offers down payment grants for SBA 504 and 7(a) commercial real estate loans for women and minority business owners in Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Bank of America has announced the launch of a Small Business Down Payment Grant Program to drive business growth and help create generational wealth opportunities for minority and women business owners.

Launching in select markets with plans to expand in 2023, the program will extend credit to historically disadvantaged small business borrowers and provide support to make purchasing commercial real estate more affordable.

“Today, many business owners of diverse backgrounds lack the access to capital and technical assistance needed to qualify for commercial loans, which can help secure transferable assets that build equity across generations,” said Jill Calabrese Bain, Small Business Integration and Transformation executive at Bank of America. “We’re committed to addressing inequalities in business ownership by providing entrepreneurs with the access to expertise, resources and capital necessary to achieve their financial goals.”

The program will be available for eligible women and minority business owners applying for Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 and 7(a) commercial real estate loans. Commercial real estate properties must be based in Opportunity Zones in Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas and Los Angeles, as defined by the U.S. Treasury. Eligible business owners can apply for down payment grants, covering up to 50% of required injection (capped at $25,000).

Program eligibility requirements also necessitate 51% women or minority business ownership and owner occupancy, and a 5% minimum down payment from the applicant. Additionally, Bank of America small business specialists will team up with local small business-centric non-profit partners to provide financial education services.

Bank of America is committed to helping small business owners in local communities across the country through numerous resources beyond the Small Business Down Payment Grant Program, including:

  • Secured Credit Offerings: The previously announced Bank of America Secured Business Advantage Credit Line launched last week, offering a credit line from $1,000 to $50,000 to business owners. Earlier this year, Bank of America also debuted the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Mastercard® Secured credit card as a new tool to help business owners establish, strengthen or rebuild their business credit – all while providing cardholders with the benefits that matter most to their business. The credit line ranges from $1,000 to $10,000, earning unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Access to Capital Directory: A comprehensive database designed in partnership with Seneca Women to help women and minority entrepreneurs learn more about navigating the capital landscape and identifying potential sources of funding, such as equity, debt and grant capital.
  • Start a Business Center: A resource for consolidated content to help potential and new business owners learn how to start or grow their business. The digital experience offers resources such as business plan templates, partners for critical services and access to Bank of America Small Business specialists. Clients can utilize tips and considerations on topics such as writing a business plan, business legal structures, marketing strategy and business financing options.
  • Small Business Resources: As part of Bank of America’s ongoing commitment to support our small business clients and their financial priorities, we continue to broaden our digital educational content. The site features tools, insights, and expert advice to help entrepreneurs run and grow their businesses. The educational hub provides tips and solutions for all aspects of business ownership, covering topics including business strategy, customer relations, financing options, optimizing operations, managing cash flow and more.

To learn more about our small business resources, download the Bank of America app or visit

About Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 67 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,000 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs and award-winning digital banking with approximately 55 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Minority Business Development Agency Honors the 2022 MED Week Award Winners

Washington, DC, September 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) proudly announces recipients of the 2022 Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week) Awards. The MED Week Awards are the highest level of national recognition that a U.S. minority-owned firm can receive from the Department of Commerce. These prestigious awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of minority entrepreneurs, as well as the individuals and organizations that have demonstrated their commitment to advancing minority business enterprises.

The 2022 National Minority Business Award recipients are:


Robert J. Brown Minority Business Enterprise of the Year is presented to H.J. Russell & Company.  H.J. Russell & Company was established in 1952 as a general contracting company. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, H.J. Russell has since grown into one of the largest Black-owned construction services firms in the United States and has expanded to include other service areas such as program management, real estate development, and property management.

Minority Construction Firm of the Year is presented to Onyx Enterprises, Inc., a Certified Woman and Minority Owned and Small Business headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and provides engineering consulting, project management and construction management services to local, state, federal government, engineering consulting firms and contractors. The President and CEO is Tarolyn Buckles. Onyx Enterprises has over 34 years of experience in project management and construction management services.

Minority Export Firm of the Year is presented to Tecma. The organization was founded over three decades ago by current company president and CEO, K. Allan Russell, along with three mentoring business partners. Tecma designed a business model, the Mexico Shelter Manufacturing Partnership (MSMP), that has helped their clients streamline business operations in Mexico.  The company’s MSMP now covers sites throughout Mexico with more than 70 operating facilities including Torreon, Rosarita, and Silao.

Minority Technology Firm of the Year is presented to LilliiRNB. Lillii RNB, Inc is an enterprise solutions company that specializes in enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, with a focus on retail technology for point-of-sale systems and returns/refund management. Barbara Jones, founder and CEO, specializes in point-of-sale systems, ACI and EMV hardware upgrades, and omni-channel and e-commerce technologies.

Minority Manufacturing Firm of the Year is presented to Piping Technology & Products, Inc. Piping Technology & Products Inc is now known as a one-stop-shop for pipe supports, expansion joints, shock control devices, and more. Piping Technology & Products and its wholly-owned subsidiaries specialize in a wide range of manufacturing techniques that include metal forming, bellows forming, machining, and welding.

Minority Marketing & Communications Firm of the Year is presented to The Carter Malone Group. The Carter Malone Group was founded in 2003 by the President and CEO Deidre Carter Malone and is one of the Mid-South area’s largest minority and woman-owned public relations agencies. CMG opened its doors with one client and has grown to a current roster of over 30 active client accounts including some of the country’s largest organizations.

Minority e-Commerce Firm of the Year is presented to Curacubby. Curacubby is a complete online school management system that handles enrollment, billing and payment processing, account management, reporting, and revenue growth – without the complexity found in other solutions. After founder Steven Khuong’s son was diagnosed with Autism, a group of passionate parents and educators started a preschool program that offered a whole-child approach to educating children with special needs. Curracubby aims to bridge the gap between quality education and mobile commerce.

Minority Veteran-owned Firm of the Year is presented to GC Green Construction Company. A “Veteran-Powered” certified woman, Native American, and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Company, GC Green consulting services are focused on engagements for water/blue-tech, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and resiliency solutions. GCG is working towards combating climate change and climate resiliency.



Access to Capital Award is presented to Tom Espinoza of Raza Development Fund and Erica Y. Miles of Wells Fargo. Erica Miles is a dedicated diversity and inclusion (D&I) director with track record of advancing D&I goals at large financial institutions through development of data-driven strategies and policy recommendations. She has served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, leading work for the Congress’ first ever Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion. Throughout her time on Capitol Hill, Erica helped draft and enact legislation to provide increased access to capital, markets, and technical assistance for minority business enterprises, among other initiatives. Ms. Miles currently serves as a Senior Consultant, SVP for Wells Fargo Bank, building national relationships with diverse businesses and communities and advising on the bank’s company-wide diversity, equity and inclusion.

Tom Espinoza is the President, CEO, and co-founder of Raza Development Fund (RDF), the largest U.S. Latino Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) for the past twenty years with half a billion dollars in total assets under management. Under Mr. Espinoza’s leadership, RDF has provided capital to Latino-serving organizations nationwide and organizations have received technical assistance and loans which have leveraged over $5 billion in private capital for education, affordable housing, and healthcare projects serving low-income families and individuals.

Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award is presented to Ralph Sagaille of The Walt Disney Company. Through inclusive sourcing practices, The Walt Disney Company’s supplier diversity team builds relationships with an ever-growing array of diverse suppliers, as well as certifying agencies and business organizations. In 2021, Disney spent approximately $450 million with certified diverse-owned vendors. Building on their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Disney has committed to increasing their diverse supplier spend to at least $1 billion annually by 2024. Ralph Sagaile serves as the the Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Director.



The Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award, inspired by the late U.S. Secretary of Commerce, recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional leadership and achieved significant success in supporting diversity in the public or private sector. This year’s awards recipient is John F. Robinson, of the National Minority Business Council, Inc. John F. Robinson is one of the twelve founding members of The National Minority Business Council, Inc. (NMBC). For 50 years, under his leadership, NMBC has enhanced the success and profitability of the small business community through the provision of high-quality services, programs, advocacy, and networking support.

The Advocate of the Year Award is presented to Jason Trimiew of Meta Platforms, Inc. For two decades, Jason has worked at the intersection of the marketplace and social impact in international microfinance, community and economic development, and venture philanthropy. In 2016, Jason joined Meta (formerly Facebook) to launch and lead the company’s supplier diversity program and create more opportunity for diverse-owned firms to do business with Meta and the people and communities that Meta connects.

The Abe Venable Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement is granted to an individual who has played an integral role in the creative, technical, or professional progress of minority business development over the course of his/her life. This year’s recipient is Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. As the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, he directs the firm’s investment strategy, governance, and investor relations. Smith has been recognized for his business achievements and philanthropic efforts, including being named one of Forbes’ 100 Greatest Living Business Minds and a recipient of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. He is an advocate for what he calls the “2% Solution,” calling on companies to invest 2% of their net profits over the next decade to create equity and mobility for America’s underserved communities. Smith is also one of the founding leaders of the Southern Communities Initiative, a catalytic program for racial equity across six southern communities that represent approximately 50% of the Black population in the U.S. to create entire ecosystems that lift up communities through targeted investment.

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

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