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HOLLYWOOD UNLOCKED RAISES $1.7 MILLION IN SEED FUNDING

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Hidden Empire Film Group, Brown Venture Group and Black Capital Invest In Media Platform Created By Media Mogul Jason Lee

LOS ANGELES /PRNewswire/ — Hollywood Unlocked Inc., the Black-owned news content platform offering the latest articles and insights on the world of Hollywood, founded by culture critic and media mogul Jason Lee, announced today that it has raised approximately $1.7 million in seed investments the most recent of which values the company at more than $50 million. Investors in the entertainment platform include Hidden Empire Film Group, owned by Hollywood prolific filmmaking team Deon Taylor and Roxanne Avent-Taylor, Brown Venture Group, which invests exclusively in minority-led technology companies, and Black Capital, a Black-owned venture fund managed by former Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson. Other institutional investors include Bracket Capital and Intuition Capital.

HOLLYWOOD UNLOCKED RAISES $1.7 MILLION IN SEED FUNDING

Capital raised is ear-marked for further development of Hollywood Unlocked’s technology platform, business expansion and operations. With substantial growth in viewership across platforms, and the launch of an in-house studio space that will produce a new streaming talk show “The Jason Lee Show”, Hollywood Unlocked is gearing up for further expansion planned for later this year within the following key areas:

  • Education: Launching Millionaire Media Unlocked, an online course in which Jason Lee reveals his blueprint for building successful blogs and podcasts. Lee walks users through some of his successes and failures by sharing the industry knowledge needed to get started. Users will also be able to learn how to form, build and manage their own potentially multi-million media companies
  • Empowerment: Activating the power of pop culture to uplift at-risk youth through the Hollywood Cares Foundation, with a particular focus on underserved minority communities to help them drive lasting change, for themselves and others, The Hollywood Cares Foundation will also leverage the arts, entertainment industry, and brands to equip young people to thrive in their academic, social, and civic lives. Under Jason Lee’s guidance, the Foundation will aim to inspire change by providing opportunities for young people to be active participants in creating the culture that surrounds them, to empower themselves and each other
  • Entertainment: Launching a new talk show format to drive momentum around pop culture’s biggest moments with iconic television shows and radio productions such as “Hollywood Unlocked with Jason Lee” and the “Hollywood Unlocked with Jason Lee [UNCENSORED]” podcast that addresses the latest rumors to a millennial-focused collective audience with captivating tell-all interviews with exclusive celebrity guests. HU sets the standards for industry accomplishments by celebrating industry milestones and cultural significance with the brand’s annual Impact Awards.

“It’s important for us to find partnership with investment groups that share a similar vision in uplifting marginalized voices in entertainment that are shifting our culture forward,” said Jason Lee, Founder and CEO of Hollywood Unlocked. “We are extremely grateful for our partners at Hidden Empire Film Group, Brown Venture Group and Black Capital and look forward to what is ahead.”

Hollywood Unlocked is on a mission to create spaces for Black voices. The platform addresses the latest hottest news topics for its growing millennial-focused collective audience of currently more than seven million weekly, and gives captivating tell-all interviews with top-tier celebrity names such as Cardi B, Tiffany Haddish, and Ye (formerly Kanye West). A mainstay for the hottest scoops and the most memorable trending celebrity moments, and one of the nation’s leading entertainment brands, “Hollywood Unlocked with Jason Lee” produces thousands of hours of content and drives engagement exceeding 550 million impressions per month, along with amassing more than 2.9 million Instagram followers. Coming off a successful Hollywood Unlocked Second Annual Impact Awards last summer, Lee teamed up with Ye to host a Black Futures Brunch with key voices within the media to talk about the importance of Black representation within the industry.

“We are thrilled to invest in Jason Lee and his larger purpose and vision as a Black entrepreneur. He’s the real deal,” says Chris Brooks, Co-Founder of Brown Venture Group. “As Hollywood Unlocked’s visionary, Jason’s accomplishments and mission resonates with a broad and engaged consumer base, and we are excited to see what he has in line for the future,” said Kevin Johnson, Founding and Managing Partner of Black Capital. “When I envision the future of media, I see Jason at the helm as a disruptor and innovator pushing our narrative forward,” Johnson said.

About Hollywood Unlocked
Hollywood Unlocked is an exclusive entertainment news platform created by culture disruptor, Jason Lee, to provide celebrity news in a candid dialogue that is both engaging and authentic. Hollywood Unlocked is at the intersection where fans and influencers meet. Through content accuracy, exclusive and original content, Hollywood Unlocked has become a fast-growing competitive source of entertainment news to the masses.

About Hidden Empire Film Group
Prolific filmmaking team Deon Taylor and Roxanne Avent-Taylor, in partnership with investor and philanthropist Robert F. Smith, launched Hidden Empire Film Group with the belief that multi-cultural representation is good business. Hidden Empire Film Group develops, produces, and distributes high concept, commercially viable content targeted to an engaged global multi-cultural audience that is passionate about culture – because culture moves the world. Hidden Empire Film Group‘s company portfolio consists of; Hidden Empire Films, the company’s anchor film & television development and production house; Hidden Empire Releasing, its independent film distribution and content sales company focused on serving the global multi-cultural community; Hidden Empire Studios, its premiere full service content production studio, avid editing facility, and virtual and pop-up event space designed to aid social media content creators; Hidden Empire TV, its owned and controlled streaming channel showcasing Hidden Empire’s library of TV episodes, movies and original content; and Hyper Engine, a marketing & branding agency that specializes in reaching diverse audiences.

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About Brown Venture Group
Founded in 2018, Brown Venture Group, LLC provides technology Founders of Color with investment capital, training and professional networks that assist in launching and scaling tech-based startups. BVG are members of the National Association of Investment Companies. For more information go to brownventuregroup.com.

About Black Capital
Black Capital is an early-stage fund focused on investing in black and other underrepresented founders. Black Capital’s mission is to build wealth for the black community by democratizing access to Venture Capital. Founded in 2020, it was created with the vision to elevate communities of color to gain financial independence, build wealth, and decrease economic inequality in this country.

SOURCE Hollywood Unlocked

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Urban League of Portland is Recipient of OnPoint’s Membership Campaign

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OnPoint’s Refer a Friend campaigns have raised more than $296,250 for six non-profit organizations since 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. /PRNewswire/ — OnPoint Community Credit Union today kicked off its Refer a Friend non-profit campaign to benefit one of the region’s oldest civil rights and social service organizations.

OnPoint selected Urban League of Portland for the campaign that runs February 1 through March 31. Refer a Friend provides members with the opportunity to support local community organizations while introducing friends and family to OnPoint’s full range of financial services.

Urban League of Portland is recipient of OnPoint’s membership campaign

Founded in 1945, the Urban League of Portland invests in and provides programs for areas that affect the social and economic security of Black families in Oregon and SW Washington. Those include:

“Our programs have played a crucial role in improving the civil rights and social justice for Oregon and Southwest Washington’s Black community since our founding,” said Julia Delgado, Vice President, Urban League of Portland. “The support from OnPoint and its members will enable us to build upon our work and continue providing services and programs to help our region’s Black community achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life.”

$50 for referring members, $50 for new members, $50 for the Urban League

OnPoint’s Refer a Friend incentivizes OnPoint members year-round to recommend the credit union to their friends, family or business associates by giving $50 to both the new and referring member when an account is opened. At select times throughout the year, OnPoint donates an additional $50 to local non-profits for each new account opened through Refer a Friend.

“We must continue to come together to remove barriers and actively create opportunities for underrepresented communities,” said Jo Davis, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program Manager, OnPoint Community Credit Union. “We are proud to build on our support of the Urban League of Portland through our Refer a Friend program and advance its critical work in our fight for racial equity in Oregon and Southwest Washington.”

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OnPoint’s last Refer a Friend campaign, held in September/October 2022, raised more than $33,850 for JoyRx | Children’s Cancer Association. Since the beginning of the Refer a Friend program in 2018, OnPoint has donated $296,250 to six organizations through eight different campaigns. OnPoint members who are interested in learning more can visit www.onpointcu.com/rates-rewards/refer-a-friend/, or stop by their local OnPoint branch.

In November 2022, OnPoint announced donations of $2.3 million to more than 377 non-profits in Oregon and Southwest Washington, with more than $695,000 pledged to organizations focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. Visit www.onpointcu.com/community-giving to learn more about OnPoint’s support of local organizations like the Urban League of Portland.

ABOUT ONPOINT COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION

OnPoint Community Credit Union is the largest credit union in Oregon, serving over 500,000 members and with assets of $9.1 billion. Founded in 1932, OnPoint Community Credit Union’s membership is available to anyone who lives or works in one of 28 Oregon counties (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler and Yamhill) and two Washington counties (Skamania and Clark) and their immediate family members. More information is available at www.onpointcu.com or 503-228-7077 or 800-527-3932.

ABOUT URBAN LEAGUE OF PORTLAND

Empowering Black communities in Oregon and Southwest Washington since 1945. Urban League is one of Oregon’s oldest civil rights and social service organizations, empowering African-Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life. We do this by investing in stable housing; through workforce development; community health; education and well-being; for our youth, adults and seniors. Our culturally specific programs and services, combined with our powerful advocacy and civic engagement, empowers Black communities to thrive across Oregon and SW Washington.

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SOURCE OnPoint Community Credit Union

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Business and Finance

FACE teams up with TD to launch the “Propelling Black Entrepreneurship Program” with 50 grants to support Black entrepreneurs

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he program will support Black business owners in the creation of critical business and financial documents to help improve access to financing

MONTREAL /CNW Telbec/ – The Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), a nonprofit organization offering the first-of-its-kind Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund has collaborated with TD Bank Group (TD) to deliver its new “Propelling Black Entrepreneurship Program” and offer 50 grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to Black entrepreneurs across Canada. This program has been developed to support Black entrepreneurs in the creation of their business and financial documents, including business plans, financial statements, and tax filings to help improve access to financing

Participants in the program will receive training, tools, best practices, and mentorship opportunities related to managing and presenting financial documents and have access to FACE’s regional partners and corporate service providers, spanning leading financial and consulting firms. Business owners will also have the opportunity to partake in quarterly virtual and/or in-person sessions focused on preparing a strong business case for financing from lenders. The program has been designed to help Black business owners through the different stages of their entrepreneurial journey, so they can successfully access capital and scale their businesses.

FACE teams up with TD to provide 50 grants to support Black entrepreneurs

“There are many challenges for entrepreneurs as they pursue their business ventures, including navigating financial processes and paperwork. These challenges are accentuated for Black entrepreneurs who often also face bias in the financial system,” says Tiffany Callender, Chief Executive Officer of FACE. This program addresses some of these barriers by providing them with tools and advice so they can best manage and present their documents. Our sponsorship by TD helps support these applicants to be able to submit financially strong applications, thereby significantly increasing their chances of securing funding. Moreover, this program is open to all Black business owners interested in applying for loans, even if they have not worked with FACE before.”

“We are extremely proud to support “Propelling Black Entrepreneurship” through the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform,” said Alicia Rose, Associate Vice President, Social Impact – Canada, TD Bank Group. “We know the value that entrepreneurs bring to our communities and to our local economies. Through these 50 grants, our aim is to help remove the barriers and potential bias that limit Black entrepreneurs from accessing financing to help fund their ambitions.” 

Since its inauguration in 2021, FACE has raised $160 million in capital, including $130 million from Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), and disbursed $21.7 million, cementing itself as a catalyst for Black generational wealth creation and empowering Black Canadian entrepreneurs.

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The Propelling Black Entrepreneurship program will launch in April 2023, the details for participating in this program will be available on FACE’s website at https://facecoalition.com/

About FACE

The Federation of African Canadian Economics is a coalition of Black-led organizations dedicated to stimulating economic growth and creating generational wealth for Canadians of African Descent. In 2021 FACE was launched to address the needs of Black business owners and entrepreneurs who were economically devastated during the pandemic.

SOURCE The Federation of African Canadian Economics

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The Home Depot Quadruples Commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities through Campus Enhancements and Innovative Career-Development Programs

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ATLANTA /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/– The Home Depot® will increase its investment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to $4 million in 2023 by launching an expanded range of community projects and career resources for students in its Retool Your School program.

Half of The Home Depot’s increased commitment will prepare HBCU students to thrive in their future careers with new needs-based programs including externships, scholarships, career workshops and innovation lounges. The other $2 million will double the flagship Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant, which provides grants to HBCUs supporting campus enhancements. In its 14-year history, the program has given more than $5.2 million across 184 HBCUs.

The vote-based Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant is expected to support 30 campuses this year with grants ranging from $40,000 to $150,000 per school. HBCU students, alumni and advocates can vote for their favorite HBCUs online, on Twitter or Instagram using the school’s designated hashtag found at retoolyourschool.com. Applications are currently open and close February 10th.

“We’re strengthening our commitment to HBCUs and their students, from educational enrichment to career development opportunities that will follow them long after graduation,” said Arlette Guthrie, senior vice president of human resources at The Home Depot. “As a proud HBCU graduate myself, I value the education I received and have personally experienced the diversity of thought and innovation that HBCU students bring to the workforce.”

As part of the expanded career-development offerings, The Home Depot is partnering with the United Negro College Fund to award 60 $2,500 scholarships to students currently enrolled at any HBCU. In addition, a new business externship will give HBCU sophomores, juniors and seniors the chance to work on real-world projects in Home Depot business groups like home services, marketing and strategic business development. At the end of the six-to-eight-week virtual program, they’ll present their final projects to Home Depot executives. The funding will also support the creation of on-campus innovation lounges and resume and interview workshops led by Home Depot career development experts. 

Retool Your School is a key component of The Home Depot’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy, and our commitment to advancing education for all in the community. To drive meaningful change, the company’s DEI strategy focuses on three areas: associate engagement, community engagement and supplier diversity partnerships. For more information on The Home Depot’s Retool Your School program, including information on how to apply for scholarships and other grants, visit retoolyourschool.com.  

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About The Home Depot 
The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer. At the end of the third quarter of fiscal year 2022, the company operated a total of 2,319 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. The company employs approximately 500,000 associates. The Home Depot’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index. The Home Depot is #17 on the 2022 Fortune 500. 

About Retool Your School 
The Home Depot’s Retool Your School grant program strives to give back to our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) what they have so generously given to their communities: a strong foundation, renewed purpose and distinctive character through campus uplift and beautification funding. Established in 2009, Retool Your School has invested more than $5.2 million to support 184 campus improvement grants provided to 70 percent of the nation’s HBCUs. To learn more about Retool Your School, visit RetoolYourSchool.com and follow us on Twitter @HomeDepotRetool, Instagram @HomeDepotRetool and Facebook @RetoolYourSchool. 

SOURCE The Home Depot

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