HBCUs Level Up With First Opportunity Zone Fund

HBCUs Level Up With First Opportunity Zone Fund

By Christopher Pitts

  • Renaissance Equity Partners creates HBCU Opportunity Zone Fund

  • 56% of Opportunity Zones residents are minorities

CBx Vibe:The Light” Common

Forever underfunded, always appreciated, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs) boast adequate educational environments, however the areas surrounding them are often devoid of investment. Renaissance Equity Partners, a black owned investment banking firm, along with the HBCU Community Development Council hopes to change that through the creation of the first Opportunity Zone Fund focused on benefiting these elite institutions.  

Why This Matters: HBCUs have stood the test of time as educational and economic anchors for the black community, albeit being located primarily in low income areas. There are 8,700 Opportunity Zones low-income census tracts, all of the areas have higher poverty and unemployment rates than the rest of the country and 56% of Opportunity Zones residents are minorities. The Renaissance HBCU Opportunity Fund could provide these communities with a major facelift. It’s a lucrative play for investors because taxes on capital gains from investments in Opportunity Zones can be avoided, if they are held for at least 10 years.

Read More

Dollar General Dips Deeper Into Food Deserts With 975 Stores

Dollar General Dips Deeper Into Food Deserts With 975 Stores

By CultureBanx Team

  • Dollar General has been targeting food deserts, areas not served by supermarkets

  • They will remodel 1K older stores with produce planned for about 200 of those locations

CBx Vibe:Big Deal” Kid Ink

Dollar General (DG +2.02%), the discount retailer that relies heavily on low-income shoppers is expanding its presence with an additional 975 stores. As part of its nationwide expansion DG will remodel 1K older stores with produce planned for about 200 of those locations. By adding a broader mix of food along with health and beauty products to its stores, this could prove to be very profitable for the company.

Why This Matters: In an effort to make sure sales continue to rise the company plans to beef up its health and beauty sections. If we look at the power of the black dollar across these consumables, African Americans spend nearly $54 million a year in the ethnic hair and beauty space. When it comes to the broader market in personal appearance products, such as grooming aids and skin care preparations, black shoppers spent $127 million and $465 million respectively, according to Nielsen.

Read More

Varsity Blues: Wealth Disparity Worsened by Student Loan Debt

Varsity Blues: Wealth Disparity Worsened by Student Loan Debt

By Tracey Goins

  • Black adults take on 85% more education debt than their counterparts

  • 28% of black students attend the expensive for-profit institutions

CBx Vibe:You Owe Me” Nas Feat. Ginuwine

Student loan debt is another troubling “Varsity Blues” scandal, since minorities carry significantly more of it than their counterparts. While access to education has been more attainable, long term cost associated with student loans continues to attribute to the growing wealth disparity.

Why This Matters: Young black adults take on 85% more education debt than their white counterparts, and that disparity compounds by 7% each year after the borrowers leave school, according to a recent study in the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity journal. This is especially troubling considering the current national college admissions scandal, which suggests funds are plentiful in many non-black households, based on the alleged amount of money these parents paid for admissions costs alone.

Read More

J.P.Morgan Branches Out to Poor Neighborhoods

J.P.Morgan Branches Out to Poor Neighborhoods

By CultureBanx Team

  • 30% of the new J.P.Morgan branches will be in low to moderate income areas

  • New small-business loans declined 13% in the years after a bank branch closed

CBx Vibe: Bank Account” 21 Savage

For years the biggest U.S. bank J.P.Morgan (JPM +1.15%) has exemplified the industry trend of cutting back their branches in less affluent areas, now it’s taking a new approach to increase deposits in these communities. The company plans to enter into nine new U.S. markets and 30% of the branches will be in low to moderate income areas. Even though we live in a digital financial society, just how valuable are physical bank branches when it comes to closing the wealth gap?

Why This Matters: Increased competition with banks in underserved communities is a good thing for services such as personal checking and small-business lending. Bloomberg reported a 2014 MIT study found that even with other banks nearby, branch closures in low-income and minority neighborhoods made it harder for local businesses to get loans. In fact, the number of new small-business loans declined 13% in the years after a bank branch closed.

Read More

Changing the Game: Jetpack is the Uber for College Kids Essential Items

Changing the Game: Jetpack is the Uber for College Kids Essential Items

By CultureBanx Team

CBx Vibe:Nonstop” Drake

On campuses nationwide students are in need of on-demand products like lint rollers, Tide pods or even a phone charger, which is where Jetpack comes into play. It’s the brainchild of Fatima Dicko, who is a self proclaimed “forgetful” person and “realized that everyone may forget something and need items last minute, she said.” Currently Jetpack operates on various campuses across the country including Stanford, USC, UCLA and Ohio State. They are all about bringing people the things they need in less than 10 minutes. Even though the company started by giving people backpacks with the most important things, now they’ve opened up to items students have in their own bags. “Sharing works with houses, cars and it can we believe also work for shampoo and batteries,” Dicko said. Jetpack has optimized its platform for the college experience by minimizing effort and increasing the fun level for everyone involved. They plan to branch out to airports, apartment buildings and music festivals next.

Read More

Lyft and Uber Drivers Could Level Up During IPOs

Lyft and Uber Drivers Could Level Up During IPOs

By Alexandra Bacchus

  • Lyft and Uber will offer a cash bonus to drivers with the most miles ahead of their IPOs

  • African-American drivers made up 19.5% of Uber’s workforce in 2013

CBx Vibe:Big Bank” YG Feat. 2 Chainz & Big Sean

The two most popular rideshare providers Uber and Lyft announced the option for drivers with the most miles logged to purchase stock with their bonuses ahead of the public. Lyft will offer the rare opportunity to drivers who have logged over 10,000 hours on the app, with no cap on the amount of people who qualify. Is this going to create an influx of cash for minority drivers?

Why This Matters: More people are turning to ridesharing services as their primary source of income, even though they do not offer health insurance or other employment benefits. African American drivers made up 19.5% of Uber’s workforce in 2013, with the average driver making around $19 per hour. The move to offer Uber and Lyft drivers the chance to invest in the rideshare giants, which are projected to be worth $20 billion and $120 billion respectively, gives black drivers the opportunity to build wealth in the stock market with a low barrier to entry.

Read More

Is Fortnite Exploiting Hip Hop?

Is Fortnite Exploiting Hip Hop?

By Justin Moore

  • Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, is valued at $15 billion

  • Rappers 2 Milly & Blocboy JB’s dances are featured and sold in the game

CBx Vibe:Shoot” BlocBoy JB

Popular video game Fortnite is free to play, but if you want your character to hit the Milly Rock or other famous moves that comes with a price. The problem for the creators of those iconic movies is they’re not seeing a dime from Fortnite creator Epic Games and some are suing for copyright infringement.

Why This Matters: Fortnite has become so popular that players around the world are associating these dances with the game rather than their creators. The Milly Rock becomes the “Swipe It.” Blocboy JB’s “Shoot” dance becomes the “Hype.” Many notable Fortnite moves come from hip hop and pop culture is not spared, with moves coming from tv shows The Fresh Prince of Bellaire, Seinfeld and cult classic song Gangnam style.

Read More

Disney Wants to Up Its Cultural Stake in Hulu

Disney Wants to Up Its Cultural Stake in Hulu

By CultureBanx Team

  • Disney wants to increase its stake in Hulu from 60% to 70%

  • 74% of Black TV viewers stream some of their content

CBx Vibe:Tune In” Massari

Disney (DIS -0.18%) wants to up the ante when it comes to Hulu and dominate streaming by increasing it ownership of the company to 70%. WarnerMedia, now owned by AT&T (T +0.13%) has a minority 10% stake in Hulu and Variety reported the mouse house is in active talks to acquire that stake, in a deal that would net AT&T close to $1 billion. This acquisition would make sense for Disney only if they plan to up their content aimed at Black TV viewers, 74% of whom reportedly stream some of their TV content.

Why This Matters: Disney is betting on Hulu’s future success by investing in more original programming and taking the streaming service into new international markets. With African Americans streaming videos more frequently on all devices than the total U.S. population, it will be important for the company to create authentic black content. A report from Horowitz Research found black audiences are also content trendsetters, with 58% reporting they want to be the first to know about new content and are more likely to watch shows that reflects their experiences.

Read More

Can Black Homeownership Bounce Back?

Can Black Homeownership Bounce Back?

By Taylor Durham

  • African American homeownership lags behind the rate for all Americans

  • Philadelphia & Washington, D.C. have the highest rates of black homeownership at 48.4% and 48.3%

CBx Vibe:On My Block” Scarface

African American homeownership has slid over the last decade whereas homeownership rates overall have steadily increased. A Harvard study noted that the rates were among the lowest since the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, effectively erasing all the gains the black community has made within with last 50 years. What has happened in that timeframe to reverse such progress?

Why This Matters: Black homeowners were victims of predatory banking practices in the years leading up to the 2007 financial crisis. These home buyers were offered subprime loans, the same type that caused the housing crisis and in turn lost their homes at alarming rates. No other demographic was hit as hard. It wasn’t until years later and after multiple investigations, that it was brought to light how banks and mortgage lenders conspired to market loans as with higher interest rates as “favorable”.

Read More