Updated: Oct 11
It's been about three months since in the middle of a pandemic, we launched the ParentPreneur Foundation to empower Black parents who are entrepreneurs, so they can leave a legacy for their beautiful Black children. We first announced a $50,000 seed grant from renowned venture capitalist, Brad Feld, and quickly awarded $10,000 in grants to ten outstanding Black ParentPreneurs.
Why Our Foundation and Community Are a Special Place
The ParentPreneur Foundation and community are a special place because of one word: empathy.
Because of empathy, the Black ParentPreneurs in our community feel seen and heard and know this a safe space for them. This is so because as the CEO of the foundation I am one of them. I know their joys, pains, and challenges, and I ask them for what they need, then work to deliver that for them. We also view Black ParentPreneurs holistically, we're not just trying to throw money at their businesses, they are much more than business people. They are spouses, parents, and whole human beings. With children counting on them to be their best every day.
This positioning chart for the foundation illustrates how we are dramatically different from other organizations that help entrepreneurs. The ParentPreneur Foundation stands alone in giving grants and free resources, as well as providing a community that explicitly focuses on Black ParentPreneurs; that's who we are and we are proud of it.
Impact & Leverage
The ultimate goal for the foundation, which I admit may not be fully measurable, is to empower Black ParentPreneurs around the world to be great partners/spouses, wonderful parents, have successful businesses, be mentally healthy, raise delightful Black children, and leave their kids and grandkids a legacy upon which they can build.
But since we can't easily measure those things, especially not this early in the life of the foundation, I can talk about things like money, value received, and community.
Look, we are not the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and we can't give away enough grants to solve the money problems of our constituents. So while the grants we do give away are intended to be helpful, more than anything we want them to be a symbol of hope and inspiration for people to keep pressing forward on the difficult, but important journey of being a Black ParentPreneur.
As I mentioned, we already gave away $10,000, and last week we received a $10,000 donation from another tech VC who wishes to remain anonymous and we will in two weeks announce open applications for another ten grants of $1,000 each.
In addition to the $20,000 in grants, members of our community have received other things of importance and great value. Here's a short list:
Gave away $1,000 in Focus Brands food gift cards - a delight if you've been virtual schooling all day and are too tired to cook.
We paid for therapy for fifteen members of the foundation, shattering mental health stereotypes in the Black community.
Gave almost $50,000 in Amazon AWS server credits for member websites.
Seth Godin visited with us for a conversation about marketing.
We provided a webinar with a LinkedIn expert to help our members increase their social capital. Next to a lack of financial capital, this is a huge problem for Black entrepreneurs that not only keeps us from executing on our would-be good ideas, but makes it unlikely to imagine what is even possible. This is unacceptable and our kids and grandkids deserve better.
Seth Godin gave scholarships to many of us to attend his Akimbo marketing seminar, which has been phenomenal.
We are a HubSpot partner.
This is just a short list-there is more. But when you add up all of the above, we have given members of our community $200,000 in value in three months; that's 4X the $50,000 seed grant we received.
The most important part of our business model is the community-a safe space for Black ParentPreneurs to be seen, felt, heard, and support each other.
In early August when I spun up our Mighty Networks community, which is intentionally not on Facebook, we only had sixty members. Today, two months later, we are nearly 8X that number, and growing!
A big part of the reason for this growth came from Seth Godin's words of wisdom. Seth told us,
"Stop doing things to get attention, and instead get your customers to tell ten of their friends about your business."
That is gold right there!
So I took Seth's advice and fired up an ambassador program, which rewards our members for having their friends join us. We have nice gifts for member referrals and this post in our community from one of our ambassadors beautifully sums up how people feel about the gifts and the work we are doing.
This welcome video tells you why you should join our free, online community if you're a Black ParentPreneur. Please watch it and join us.
If our mission to empower Black ParentPreneurs so they can leave a legacy for their children resonates with you, please make a tax-deductible donation. As little as $25 makes a big difference.