Category: Business Written by Charlene Crowell
(NNPA)—As long as most of us can remember, Black communities have taught and believed that a college education is the key to social and economic advancement. But according to a new research and policy brief by Brandeis University scholars, that long-held belief is only one of several factors affecting Black America’s ability to build wealth.
After Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Policies traced 1,700 working Americans households over 25 years, the researchers found that the wealth gap between White and Black families nearly tripled, increasing from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009. For each dollar in income increase during these years, White wealth grew $5.19 while Black wealth growth amounted to 69 cents.
“Our analysis found little evidence to support common perceptions about what underlies the ability to build wealth, including the notion that personal attributes and behavioral choices are key pieces of the equation,” said the report by the Brandeis’ Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP). “Instead, the evidence points to policy and the configuration of both opportunities and barriers in workplaces, schools, and communities that reinforce deeply entrenched racial dynamics in how wealth is accumulated and that continue to permeate the most important spheres of everyday life.”
The report ranked the biggest drivers of America’s racial wealth gap:
Years of homeownership;
College education and
Inheritance/other financial support
On average, White families became homeowners eight years earlier than Black families. Oftentimes inheritance and other financial support favored families with pre-existing wealth. With more White families able to receive family financial assistance, make larger up-front payments for home purchases, they benefited from lowered interest rates and lending costs.
By contrast, Black homeowners were more likely to have high-interest, risky mortgages even when income and credit scores were comparable to those of Whites. As labor market instability tended to affect Black more negatively than Whites, accrued monetary assets became the vehicle to withstand the lack of income and eliminated many opportunities to invest to build wealth. As a result, Black mortgage borrowers became more than twice as likely to lose their homes to foreclosure.
Brandeis also found that for White families, homeownership represents 39 percent of family wealth; but is 53 percent of Black wealth. Because of historic differences in access to credit, the homeownership rate for White homeowners is also 28 percent higher than the same rate for Black families.
The State of Lending in America and its Impact on U.S. Households (State of Lending, http://rspnsb.li/stateoflending) published earlier by the Center for Responsible Lending cited similar Pew data that found from 2000-2010, Black family wealth dropped 53 percent, and Hispanic families lost 66 percent. By comparison, average White household wealth dropped only 16 percent.
According to the IASP report, “The paradox is that even as homeownership has been the main avenue to building wealth for African-Americans, it has also increased the wealth disparity between Whites and Blacks. . . Wealth in Black families tends to be close to what is needed to cover emergency savings while wealth in White families is well beyond the emergency threshold and can be saved or invested more readily.”
So is a college education still a part of building wealth?
The answer is still yes. But the rising costs of college and mounting student loan debts together lead to more students—both Black and White—leaving school to earn a steady income before graduation. For Black college graduates, 80 percent begin their careers with student debt. For White college grads, the corresponding debt is 64 percent.
Reflecting on these findings, Tatjana Meschede, the report’s co-author observed, “Public policies play a major role in widening the already massive racial wealth gap, and they must play a role in closing it. We should be investing in prosperity and equity. Instead we are advancing toxic inequality. A U-turn is needed.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:31
Category: Business Written by Diane I. Daniels
READY FOR BUSINESS—Curtis Morehead of Emerald Electrical Services; Ruth Byrd-Smith, director of the Allegheny County MWDBE Department; Robert Chambers of RWIV; Lisa Coffey of All Purpose Cleaning; Joel Acie, MWDBE project manager of supply chain management, and Toni Silva-Jeter, director of supplier relations both of UPMC; Bob Marshall of Professional Mechanical; and Ronald Scott of RS Supply take a breather during the 32nd Annual Duquesne Light Home and Garden Show. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)
For 31 years the Duquesne Light Home and Garden Show has provided thousands of exhibitors locally nationally and internationally a venue to showcase their products and services. This year the Supply Chain Management division of the Supplier Diversity Program of UPMC provided sponsorship for five of their minority, woman-owned, and disadvantaged businesses (MWDBE) to participate in the 32nd annual event. A good experience and a great opportunity to make contacts is how the MBEs described the 10-day affair.
“This is our way to showcase a few of our vendors. To expose them to a larger audience,” said Toni Silva-Jeter, director of supplier relations at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
She also pointed out that their presence at the show demonstrates UPMC’s commitment to the region.
The experience was each of the Supply Chain Management vendor’s first time to participate in the Home and Garden Show, which is considered the largest home event in Pennsylvania and one of the highest quality Home Shows in the United States.
Businesses taking part in the show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center included All Purpose Cleaning Inc., Emerald Electrical Services LLC, Professional Mechanical Sales and Services, RS Supply LLC and RWIV LLC Construction.
In business 35 years, All Purpose Cleaning is a complete facility maintenance service that offers high quality, low cost and on time performance to commercial and industrial clients. Their clients are inclusive of some of the largest general contracting companies in the region, sports teams, government entities and non-profit agencies.
The most experienced of the five companies, Lisa Coffey, director of administration, said the Home and Garden Show was good for their business. Acquiring hundreds of leads, as a result she said her company, is going to reinstate the residential cleaning component of their firm. With more than 100 employees, she said they are truly a family establishment. Her mother Mary founded the business, her brother John is operations manager and four of six grandchildren work in the business.
While continuously introducing his business to people as they approached his table, Curtis Morehead distributed material explaining that Emerald Electrical Services, owned by he and his wife Deborah had the capabilities to provide electrical services for large and small jobs.
“Even though our projects have consisted of major jobs like the Consol Energy Center and this building, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, you never know who is patronizing this show. A developer can be attending with his family that needs my services,” he said.
Emerald Electrical Services is an electrical power and datacom contracting firm. Morehead said working with Jeter and the staff of the UPMC Supply Chain Management team has been good for his business.
“We have been certified with the PA Unified Certification Program for at least four years. It’s awareness like this that the certification has brought to our company,” he said.
Also dealing with large projects like the Consol Energy Center, the Rivers Casino and UPMC East, Bob Marshall, sales manager for Pro-Mech described the experience at the Home and Gardens Show as priceless. Agreeing with Morehead he said you never know who might come pass your table.
In business 18 years, Pro-Mech, owned by Stanley Loper, is a full service preferred contractor who specializes in sales, service, installment and maintenance of energy conservation systems, commercial and industrial refrigeration and HVAC equipment.
“We are a minority company that does majority work,” described Marshall. “We are a union contractor that has grown from a $2 million firm to a $10 million firm with 60 employees.”
Based in Homewood and classified as your reliable source for paper products, janitorial and sanitation supplies, RS Supply, owner Ronald Scott said for the last eight years he has been striving to provide his clients with products from the highest quality manufacturers at competitive prices. Serving a clientele consisting of churches, daycares, the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Pirates he said their customer service vision is to be regarded as the best and most sought after Jan/San Solution provider in the Pittsburgh region by leveraging a commitment to provide quality products and services and high level customer satisfaction. While showcasing his company during the March show he said he made contacts that he hopes leverages into profitability.
The neophyte of the five firms, Robert Chambers III, CEO and owner of RWIV Construction thinks he gained the most from the experience. “Being here assisted in getting my name out in the region and helped in building a bigger footprint in the residential sector,” he said.
For the past year Chambers has been focusing on providing all phases of building design and construction services. Considering himself an established construction industry professional with experience in all phases of the construction field, Chambers believes that his unique skill set adds great value to the building process for a wide range of project owners. Since establishing his firm his projects have included Ben and Jerry’s, Bellefield Dwellings and the Pennsylvania State University.
Chambers said the show provided him the opportunity to exchange views and learn from the other venders.
“Any time you can share a situation with businesses like All Purpose Cleaning who has over 30 years’ experience and Pro-Mech who has 18 it is valuable,” he said.
Grateful to Jeter and Ruth Byrd-Smith, director of the Allegheny County Minority Women Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Department for the support their agencies have provided them, the certified vendors all concur that the assistance and contracts they receive has been invaluable.
Viewing supplier diversity as an integral part of the UPMC Supply Chain Management strategy, Jeter said providing the opportunity for the five businesses to receive the exposure the Home and Garden Show provided is just one of the ways they aim to help their MWDBEs. Existing since 1989, the UPMC Supplier Diversity Program is designed to provide MWDBEs equal access to procurement opportunities. The program ensures that the certified establishments are provided the maximum opportunity to participate as partners and suppliers of goods and services to UPMC.
Since 2006 Jeter has been responsible for providing strategic direction to the Supplier Diversity Program, leading the Supply Chain Management Social Responsibility Program, which includes the Green Initiative and the MWDBE Health Plan Initiative. She is an active member of the Allegheny County MBE Advisory Committee.
“It is opportunities like this that we are happy to provide for our certified businesses,” said Byrd-Smith. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to gain exposure. Venues like this demonstrate the work it takes to become even more successful.”
She indicated that some of them already do significant work with the County and that she looks for great things from the newer businesses like RWIV.
The County MWDBE Department provides certification as a Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, to qualifying firms and is a certifying participant in the PA Unified Certification Program. The Department serves as the catalyst for business development by providing technical assistance, serving as an advocate for MWDBE business concerns, and provides information on opportunities within Allegheny County, as well as other local public agencies.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:10
Category: Business Written by CNN
by Doug Gross
AUSTIN, Texas (CNN) -- In five years on YouTube, Francesca Ramsey says, only one of the nearly 200 videos she's posted has been explicitly about race.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 March 2013 18:49
Category: Business Written by Courier Newsroom
Business Women Reception/Awards Ceremony
QuickBooks Made Easy
One-Day Marketing Place
Let’s Get it Started
MARCH 22—The Greater Pittsburgh National Association of Women Business Owners will host “Think GINORMOUS-Let’s Get it Started” from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Greentree, 500 Mansfield Ave., Greentree. This seminar will feature national and local speakers to inspire attendees and show them the best branding ideas. The featured speaker will be Susan Newman, founder of Broadcast-Louder. The daylong event will consist of workshops, panel discussions, a trade show, networking and more. Registration is required. For more information, call Mary Pam Kilgore at 412-854-4827.
ABC’s of Selling Online
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 08:43
Category: Business Written by Harry C. Alford
(NNPA)—Legal Shield was first known as PrePaid Legal and that is where this story begins. This is a story of a relationship between the National Black Chamber of Commerce and this network of top legal firms and the company’s representatives selling the services it provides. Only in America could this relationship have happened.
My first encounter with the firm was back in the early 1990s. We were based in Indianapolis with the start of our first experiment, The Hoosier Minority Chamber of Commerce. We hired a photographer to cover one of our events. The guy went well beyond scope and demanded pay for that mistake. I told him I will accept only the pictures I requested and will pay for only that. A week later I received a demand letter from renowned local attorney Linda Pence. The matter concerned $400 and I quickly decided to pay it rather than go head to head with this fierce and reputable legal ace. After that I called the photographer and asked, “How did you get Linda Pence to represent you?” He said: “Easy! I have PrePaid Legal coverage. They have my back.”
Years later, I was attending a board of directors meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce when one of the officers approached me and said, “Harlan Stonecipher, CEO of PrePaid Legal, wants to talk to you after the board meeting.” He pointed out Harlan and I approached him after the meeting. Harlan explained to me that he has a very important form of legal service for common citizens. It provides insurance like service which clients can use whenever they have a need for legal service. It is affordable and gives them the use of top notch legal firms to serve their needs. “We are successful but, still, I want to share this service with more of the Black community. Can I and you figure this out and work together?” I agreed.
Soon I had lunch with one of PrePaid Legal’s top performers, Darnell Self, who happens to be Black. We mapped a strategy. I would go on the road motivating their representatives and Darnell would meet the NBCC Board of Directors and present at our conferences. Before long, that developed in my speaking via DVD’s and keynoting at their annual events. I even testified before Congress (Congressional Black Caucus African American Male Initiative) about the advantages of PrePaid Legal in the Black community.
It was an easy sell for me. I was witnessing Black males and females gaining wealth through the selling of this great service. Former postal workers, unemployed, ex-offenders, etc. were now making $150,000-plus per year selling this fantastic service. While the service was answering the needs of many people with problems, quandaries and other legal aspects (saving a lot of youngsters from jail for example), the representatives were being compensated well. Many had been living in poverty their whole lives but were now buying homes, sending their children to college and building long-term wealth for their families.
The NBCC started telling the world about this phenomenon. Darnell’s division of the network is called Team NuVision and it is about 90 percent Black. At one of their regional meetings, I keynoted before 4,000 Team NuVision representatives. I got so motivated that I declared them all to be members (gratis) of the NBCC and to put that in their bios. They all jumped up and cheered for eight minutes. This gave them credibility as they worked in their communities. At this time, Darnell had about 40,000 representatives in his network. Today, he has more than 470,000. His representatives are based from the island of Tonga to the east coast of the United States. We put him on our board of directors and gave him our prestigious “Entrepreneur of the Year Award.”
At this time, PrePaid Legal was publicly traded. Some “short sellers” on Wall St. wanted to defame them so that their stock would lose value. The New York Post would call me and rant why I supported them. In the end, even Black Enterprise wrote a very scathing and unfair article about them. We were appalled and went to “war” with these naysayers.
Soon, Harlan Stonecipher would sell his company for $650 million. Only in America can a boy from the Ozarks turn a dream into a fortune. The company is now privately owned and is known as Legal Shield. A few weeks ago, we met with the new executives of the company, including Darnell Self, and have decided to join together and promote their new product. Before, they concentrated on personal or family service but now they also have a plan for small business owners and that excites us immensely. Stay tuned as we take it to another level serving the needs of business owners throughout our great nation.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 March 2013 09:51
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