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Pathways to Economic Success: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 41st Annual Legislative Conference: The Matthew Effect Panel Insights
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Pathways to Economic Success: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 41st Annual Legislative Conference: The Matthew Effect Panel Insights

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Insights from By Liz Ngonzi. Founder / CEO Amazing Taste, LLC / Adjunct Faculty Member, New York University Heyman Center for Philanthropy on the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 41st Annual …

Insights from By Liz Ngonzi. Founder / CEO Amazing Taste, LLC / Adjunct Faculty Member, New York University Heyman Center for Philanthropy on the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 41st Annual Legislative Conference Panel--The Matthew Effect: Closing the Economic Gap.

More information about Liz Ngonzi: http://lizngonzi.squarespace.com/

More information about the CBCF's panels: http://www.slideshare.net/ElizabethNgonzi/congressional-black-caucus-foundations-41st-annual-legislative-conference-emerging-leaders-series-journal

Published in: Education, News & Politics

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  • 1. Copyright @ 2011, AmazingTaste, LLC All Rights Reserved Page1 of 2 Pathways to Economic Success: A De-brief of Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 41st Annual Legislative Conference: The Matthew Effect Panel By Liz Ngonzi African Americanshavebeen andcontinuetobe disproportionatelyaffectedbythe economiccrisisinAmerica --so muchso that their medianwealthis1/20th that of whites, witha 53% dropbetween2005and 2009,as comparedtoa16% dropfor whites. In terms of unemployment,therearecitiesin Americawherethedisparitywith a black-to-whiteunemploymentrateis as muchas3.8-to-1. Theaforementionedarecompoundedbythe fact that in African Americancommunitiesincomecirculates less than onetime,as comparedtowhitecommunities(unlimitedtimes),Jewishcommunities(12+times);Asians (ninetimes), andLatinos (six+ times). Thestatisticsdon’tlie: the economic gapasit relatesto the Blackcommunityis wideningatalarmingrates. It is against the backdropofalarmingstatisticssuchasthe ones above, that the CBCF’s September2011 panelentitled TheMatthewEffect: BridgingThe EconomicGap,focusedonaddressingthe increasingdividebetweentherichandpoorand providedpossible pathways to successfullyclosingthegapfor African Americans. Thepanelwaspart of the CBCF’sEmergingLeadersSeries duringthe recent41st Annual LegislativeConference --designedto engageyoungleadersbetweenthe ages of 18 and35 -- as a meansto provide them with issueforumsto inform theircareerandcommunitydevelopmentefforts. Themajorityof the dialogue during TheMatthew Effect panel focusedon AfricanAmerican economicdevelopmentthrough the followingavenues:entrepreneurship,blackphilanthropy,increasededucationalattainment, protection ofintellectual property, developmentofsound financialmanagementpractices,seekingofgrowth-orientedrelationshipsandpartnering towarddevelopment. Emphasiswasplacedonthe needfor African Americansinvolved in informal entrepreneurship to developways to formalizeandscaletheirbusinesses – therebyenablingthem to createmorewealthandjobs. Hereare theTop 7 Takeaways and Pathwaysto Success: 1. Develop,Scaleand SupportofAfrican-American Entrepreneurial Activities:Thepanelistsallagreedthat entrepreneurshipisakey ingredientto African Americaneconomic development,withspecialemphasisonmoving beyond the traditionalsmall“mom andpop”serviceoperationstothose that are largerand operatemoreefficiently (e.g., throughfranchisingmodels)andlookingtodevelopbusinessesthat reflectand leveragethe growingdigital economy. DiscussionalsocenteredaroundtheneedforAfrican Americansto activelyseek out opportunitiesto supportblackbusinessesas exemplifiedbyoneof the panelists, MargaritaAnderson,FounderandCEO, of The EmpowermentExperiment,whichadvocatesconsciousconsumerism. EricaSmiley,SeniorFieldOrganizerwith Jobs with Justice addedthat whileblack-ownedbusinessesaregreatsourcesof employmentforthe community,she suggestedthat their businesspracticesneednotreflectthoseof largermainstream onesthatexploitemployees, suchas paying belowfamilywagelevels. 2. Protectand Monetize Intellectual Property:PanelistLateefMtima,Professorof Lawand Founder/ Director, Institute for IntellectualPropertyandSocialJusticeatHowardUniversity Schoolof Law, providedinsightsinto the importanceofunderstandingtheintellectualpropertyinour communities,suchasmethodsofbraidinghair,etc., whichcanbetrademarked. Heindicatedthat1/3 of Americancorporation’svaluesare derivedfrom their protected intellectualassets–whichmanyin our communityfailto protectand, therefore, lose out on potentiallysignificant monetarybenefits. Forfree informationonhowto recognize,protectandmonetizeassets, visit the Institute for IntellectualPropertyandSocialJusticeatHowardUniversity Schoolof Law. 3. ImproveFinancial Management:Allthe panelistsagreedthat young peopleneed to practicedelayedgratification as they navigate throughtheir careers,begin“sidehustles”and give backto others, so as to develop individualand contributeto communitywealth. PanelistJeromeLove, FounderandCEO of the TexasBlackExpo,Inc. shared anecdotesfrom hisownlife indicatingtheimportanceoflivingbeneathones’meansas a way of minimizingdebtand investing in affordablerealestate, as a way to buildwealth.
  • 2. Copyright @ 2011, AmazingTaste, LLC All Rights Reserved Page2 of 2 4. AcquireEducational Capital and Develop SkillsContinually:Withthe risingcostof highereducationandan increasingnumberofcollegegraduatesfacingtheprospectofmoving backinwith their parents,as a wayto manage student loanpaymentswhileseekingemployment, LateefMtima,suggestedthat students choosemajorsthatwill enablethem to find higherpayingand morereadilyavailablejobs inSTEM (Science,Technology,Engineeringand Mathematics)fields. Whilepanelist,Kristal High, FoundingEditor-In-Chief,Politic365.com,indicatedtheimportance of continuingtoinvest inone’s education,despiterisingcosts,sherecommendedfocusingonone’seducationasan investment that couldpotentiallyhave a highreturn. 5. IncreasePhilanthropicEffortsbyAfrican Americans:Panelistsspoketo the needfor olderprofessionalsto provide mentoringsupportfor youngerAfrican Americans,as a meansto helpthem avoid potentialpitfallsand improvetheir likelihoodforsuccess. PanelistLizNgonzi, a globalsocialentrepreneur (founderandCEO of Amazing Taste,LLC)on the adjunctfacultyat NewYork University HeymanCenter for PhilanthropyandFundraising,citinga Pew ResearchCenterstudythat indicatesthatreligionisimportantto 80%of African Americans,statedthat black churches,whichbenefitgreatlyfrom this community,needto step-up morethroughentrepreneurialskills developmentprograms,investmentactivities,and otherrelatedprogramsthat ultimatelyresult in moreaffluent parishionersandobviouslypotentiallygreater tithingamounts. Additionally, shesuggestedthat affluent African Americansarecontinuingtobeexcellentsourcesforimpactinvestingandgiving to causes that helpto empower African Americans. 6. WorkToward GlobalBlackEconomicDevelopment:An additionalpointrelevantto the conversation,is panelist Liz Ngonzi’srecognitionthatmanyof the challenges,includingeconomicdevelopmentones --facedby African Americans,arequite similartothose facedby their counterpartsonthe Africancontinentandas indicatedby moderator,Jaky Joseph,Quantitative Investment Banker, Bank of AmericaMerrillLynch --in the Caribbean. As such,organizationssuchas CBCF have an opportunityto develop forumsencouragingthesharingofbest practices andlessons learnedbyall, with the ultimategoalof workingtogetherto buildjoint pathways to globalblackeconomic development. 7. Develop Growth-oriented Relationships:Inresponseto a questionfrom a participantregardingthechallenges African Americansfaceindevelopingvalue-addedmaritalrelationships,panelistMargaritaAnderson,citingherown marriage,indicatedtheimportanceofevaluatingpartnersbasedon theirpotentialto generatemutually-beneficial relationshipsthathelpto creategrowthopportunitiesand wealth. Notes:  “Themedianwealthofwhitehouseholdsis20 timesthat of blackhouseholds.”  “Thenetworth of blackhouseholdsfellfrom $12,124in2005to $5,677in 2009,a declineof53%.... Thedropinthe wealthof whitehouseholdswasmodestin comparison,falling16%from $134,992in2005to $113,149in 2009.” Pew ResearchCenter  “In 2010, Detroit, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, and Minneapolis all had black unemployment rates of 20 percent or higher, comparable to the peak national unemployment rates during the Great Depression of the 1930s.”  “In Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Baton Rouge, La., blacks were more than three times as likely to be unemployed as whites in 2010. Milwaukee had the biggest disparity with a black-to-white unemployment rate ratio of 3.8-to-1.” Economic Policy Institute “TheHarvest Institute, a Washington,D.C.-basedresearchgroup,surveyed howmanytimesincomecirculateswithina communitybeforeleavingand has foundthat inthe Blackcommunity,incomecirculateszeroto one time.In the white community,incomecirculatesunlimitedtimes,inthe Jewishcommunity,incomecirculatesatleast12 times; Asians recycleat least ninetimes,and Latinosrecycletheirdollarsat least six times.” LouisianaWeekly

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