Companies take on the challenge of increasing diversity, aiding Black-owned businesses

How companies have deployed the money is proving to be as crucial as how much they’ve promised, or even how much they’ve given out so far.

Take, for example, Bank of America, which pledged $1.25 billion over five years toward promoting racial justice and creating economic opportunities for all. The centerpiece of its efforts — and where the bulk of the first year’s disbursements have gone — is a novel program to fund minority-owned venture capital firms that back under-represented entrepreneurs.

It was an idea borne out of the notion the bank had to think differently if it wanted to close the racial wealth gap. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, the largest in Massachusetts by market share, typically would have just increased the amount of lending to small businesses owned by people of color.

But after convening a diverse group of its executives, among them market presidents and investment bankers, the

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Pa. official to get Black History Hero Award for aiding small diverse businesses

The African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Pennsylvania has announced the recipient for their Black History Hero Award.

The group has selected Kerry L. Kirkland, deputy secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities at the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, to receive the award this year. The award ceremony will be held at Temple University Harrisburg campus at 1 p.m. on Feb. 25. The event will be invitation only due to COVID-19.

In a press release from the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Pennsylvania, the group explained Kirkland’s award was for his work “assisting Small and Small Diverse Businesses, as well as the general public, during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In particular, it was Kirkland’s creation of the COVID-19 Small Diverse Business and Community Taskforce that drew kudos from the AACCCP. Among other initiatives, the task force helped to organize the sterilization of the Harrisburg capitol during

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