Today, Aurora James’ Fifteen Percent Pledge nonprofit has announced that it would be giving its first round of grants to Black-owned businesses.
James — who founded the Fifteen Percent Pledge nonprofit in 2020 with the goal to call on major retailers and corporations to commit a minimum of 15% of their annual purchasing power to Black-owned businesses in order to create a more equitable economic future — took to Instagram to share the news.
“Those of you who know my own entrepreneurial journey know that I was greatly impacted by a grant I won very early on. It changed my business and subsequently changed my life. This is why we are over the moon to be in a place to award our first [Fifteen Percent Pledge] Achievement Award for Black-owned businesses,” she said.
(James, the designer and founder of Brother Vellies, was the winner of the 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.)
As part of the award, the organization will select one finalist who will receive a $200,000 cash award. Two additional finalists will also receive $35,000 and $15,000. Awardees will be announced in person at its 2023 Benefit Gala in February.
In order to apply and be eligible for the grants, businesses must be a member of the Fifteen Percent Pledge’s Business Equity Community, sell a product and have annual revenue of $250,000 or more, have between three and 15 employees, including the founder, and at least one self-identifying Black person must have 50% or more equity in the company.
Eligibility requirements also state that applying businesses “should foster inclusivity and showcase community impact by pushing against systemic infrastructures that have not prioritized unique consumer needs.”
You can apply here, through Dec. 9.
Since its launch, 29 companies across three countries have committed to the Fifteen Percent Pledge, including Gap Inc., Nordstrom and Macy’s.