Fearless Fund Blocked: Legal Setback for Black Women Entrepreneurs


Arian Simone, left, and Ayana Parsons, right, of the Fearless Fund, attend a news conference, Aug. 10, 2023, in New York. Foundations and major donors aren't just watching court cases like the Supreme Court’s June decision ending affirmative action at universities, the ongoing lawsuit against a grant program aimed at supporting Black women entrepreneurs, and other legal challenges targeting corporate diversity programs. They are mobilizing to respond. One battleground will be the lawsuit challenging grants from the Fearless Fund, which awarded $20,000 to businesses that are at least 51% owned by Black women, among other requirements. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has blocked the Fearless Fund, a Black-owned venture capitalist firm, from issuing grants exclusively to Black women entrepreneurs. The court ruled that the fund’s grant contest likely violates Title 42 of the U.S. Code, which prohibits racial discrimination in contracts.

The decision halts the fund’s grant application process and marks a win for anti-affirmative action legal strategist Edward Blum.

Founder of Students for Fair Admissions Edward Blum speaks during a news conference on the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action in college admissions at the Press Club in Washington, Thursday, June 29, 2023. Leading the challenge against the Fearless Fund is Edward Blum, president of the American Alliance for Equal Rights, a nonprofit that received less than $50,000 in 2021 and 2022 respectively, according to tax filings, but it’s unclear who its donors are. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Arian Simone, CEO of the Fearless Fund, expressed devastation at the ruling, stating that it sends a message that diversity in corporate America and education should not exist.

She vowed to continue the fight for economic opportunity for women of color, who received less than two percent of venture capitalist money.

Rev. Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network, blasted the decision, calling it another blow to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and emphasized the importance of standing with the Fearless Fund and all women of color entrepreneurs in the face of right-wing legal challenges.

Click play to listen to the report from AURN White House Correspondent Ebony McMorris. For more news, follow @E_N_McMorris & @aurnonline.

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