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The Cost of Resiliency During Power Outages: 5 tips to stay prepared ahead of storms



(Family Features) Safeguarding your family, home and finances from disaster starts long before an extreme weather event occurs. When destructive storms challenge the electric grid’s reliability and cause loss of power for an extended period, many facets of everyday life are disrupted.

Unexpected power outages can impact vital communications, transportation and access to important businesses. It can also cause food spoilage or water contamination and prevent the use of medical devices. Protecting your loved ones and property starts with a plan.

“My family was without power for three days after a tornado touched down two blocks from our home,” said Matt Blashaw, licensed home building contractor, real estate agent and host of various HGTV shows. “I partner with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) because I realized the importance of not only having an emergency plan but the need for a reliable energy source, like propane, to power a standby generator to keep my family and home resilient. In addition to providing peace of mind, a propane standby generator could lower a homeowner’s insurance rate and simultaneously raise the home’s property value. It’s a win-win-win in my mind.”

According to PERC, the average homeowner will experience 3.5 power interruptions in a two-year period. Even short outages lasting less than four hours can cost homeowners an average of $1,250 in spoiled food, hotels, damaged electronics and more.

To avoid a financial burden caused by power outages, consider a reliable propane standby generator as a key part of resilient design. It allows a house to:

  • Resist hazards brought on by electric grid failures, such as spoiled food, loss of heat or air conditioning, hotel costs and more
  • Continue providing the primary function of a home – protection
  • Reduce the magnitude or duration of a disruptive event to a property and its impact on the homeowners

While no amount of preparation can stop the forces of nature, planning ahead to manage blackouts can have a significant impact on you and your family. Consider these tips from Blashaw and the experts at PERC.

Make a Plan
Creating a plan that assesses the risks of the region where you live and addresses potential disasters is a key step toward safety in an emergency. Gather your family and discuss how you’ll receive emergency alerts, where you’ll shelter, how you’ll evacuate and how everyone should plan to communicate, if the need arises. Think through needs specific to your household such as ages of residents, critical medications, dietary needs, child care, pet care and more. Putting a plan in place means you and your loved ones can react quickly when time is of the essence.

Prepare Your Propane System
Regardless of what weather may be on the horizon, it’s important to ensure your propane tank is ready. Take a few minutes to know where the gas shutoff valve is located on your propane system in case the propane needs to be turned off in the event of an emergency. Call a propane professional to inspect the system before restoring it.  

On average, a 500-gallon tank can hold enough propane to meet the annual energy needs of a single-family home. A local propane supplier will come to the home and fill the tank, providing energy for key appliances that use propane even if the fragile electric grid is down.

As the season transitions to winter, mark the tank with brightly colored stakes or flags that are higher than anticipated snow depth; this ensures propane personnel can always locate it during scheduled refills, even during the toughest conditions.

Secure Doors and Windows
When storms and high winds are expected, one easy way to protect your home and family members is to secure all exterior doors and windows. Start by checking seals to keep out wind and water, which can cause damage. Secure outdoor furniture and trim vegetation like bushes and trees to avoid flying debris shattering windows during high winds.

Have a Backup Power Source
When the electric grid is interrupted, the loss of power can impact systems like smoke and fire detection, refrigeration, air conditioning and heating, and other health and safety equipment. When a homeowner purchases a backup standby generator, a licensed technician installs the unit outside the home and wires it to the home’s circuit breaker. When a power outage occurs, the generator automatically senses the disruption of service and starts the generator’s engine, which then delivers power to select appliances in the home in as little as 10 seconds after an outage.

Available in a variety of capacities to fit the needs of any size of home, propane backup generators are versatile and can power several major appliances throughout a home including lights, refrigeration, heating and cooling equipment and critical medical equipment. For homes that already operate on propane, consider running important systems and appliances like the furnace, water heater, stove and fireplace on propane. The more appliances powered by propane, the smaller and less expensive your standby generator can be.

Plus, propane is environmentally friendly and won’t degrade over time like other fuel sources, ensuring the backup generator reliably powers your home to give you added peace of mind. As a low-carbon emissions energy source, propane is part of a wide path to achieving a low-carbon future. Its abundance, along with the growth of renewable propane, means propane can be used now and for generations to come.

Pack an Emergency Kit
Regardless of the emergency you’re facing, being prepared means stocking up on food, water and other supplies that can last your family multiple days. Although an emergency kit is largely a collection of basic household items, it’s important to have the kit packed, stored and secured ahead of potential disasters to save time and energy. Some basics to pack include gallon jugs of water, non-perishable food, flashlights and extra batteries, smartphone chargers, sanitation supplies like trash bags and moist towelettes, a first-aid kit and basic tools. Also consider items based on individual needs like prescription medications, eyeglasses, essentials for infants and pet food.

Find more resilient storm preparedness solutions at Propane.com.

Propane Education & Research Council


MBAStack Releases Its Ranking of the Best HBCU MBA Programs for 2023-2024



HOUSTON, Nov. 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — MBAStack, the leader in free online MBA introductory courses, has released its ranking of the Top 10 HBCU MBA Programs in America. 

You can view the HBCU ranking here: https://www.mbastack.org/top-hbcu-mba-programs/

According to Tammie Cagle, the owner and editor-in-chief of MBAStack:

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities play a crucial role in empowering and educating students, particularly in the field of business. HBCU business schools are not just centers of learning; they are beacons of leadership and innovation.

HBCU’s provide a unique blend of cultural heritage and academic excellence, equipping students with the tools and perspectives necessary to succeed in a diverse global marketplace. By nurturing talent and fostering an inclusive environment, these institutions contribute significantly to bridging the economic and leadership gaps in our society.”

To find the top HBCU MBA programs, we collected data on the top colleges and universities in the country. To do this, scores were collected from the Wall Street Journal, Quacquarelli Symonds, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. We then identified the top colleges and universities identified as HBCUs by the National Center for Education Statistics. The ranking order of this list is based on the averaged scores from the four ranking systems. Students can rest assured that every school on this list is a prestigious HBCU institution with a great MBA program.

Schools that made the list of the 10 best HBCU MBA Programs include (in alphabetical order):

– Clark Atlanta University – Atlanta, Georgia

– Florida A & M University School of Business and Industry – Tallahassee, Florida

– Hampton University School of Business – Hampton, Virginia

– Howard University – Washington DC

– Jackson State University – Jackson, Mississippi

– Morgan State University – Baltimore, Maryland

– North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University – Greensboro, North Carolina

– Prairie View A&M University – Prairie View, Texas

– Tennessee State University – Nashville, Tennessee

– Winston-Salem State University – Winston-Salem, North Carolina

MBAStack is an educational company focused on providing free online courses designed to help give students a basic understanding of various MBA specializations.



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NEW YORK /PRNewswire/ — Coqual, a leading global think tank, today released a new white paper with the results of its second annual Black Equity Index (BEI), a benchmarking tool created for companies to drive measurable change, track true progress, and demonstrate their commitment to racial equity in the workplace.

New Black Equity Index logo

Coqual finds most (86%) companies that participated in the BEI are concerned about the outcome of the US Supreme Court Affirmative Action case, and its implications for workplaces. Compared with last year, companies’ involvement in the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion conversation is diminishing from the public eye—with its risk of public and legal scrutiny—and some are shrinking their investment in DE&I teams.

“Despite the recent attacks on DE&I initiatives nationwide, companies have maintained ongoing efforts to improve equity in the workplace,” said Coqual CEO Lanaya Irvin. “Participating companies are committed to driving racial equity, transparency, and are dedicated to making meaningful strides in the workplace.” 

Established in 2022, the BEI harnesses the power of data to create opportunity for Black professionals and measures an organization’s efforts in six domains: accountability, advancement, representation, investment, sustainability, and public engagement. Informed by Coqual’s decades of research and DE&I expertise, the white paper presents actions within each domain that companies can take in the complex pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

More than 40 companies participated in Coqual’s second annual BEI survey, representing a diverse group of the corporate sector — both small and large public and private companies from industries such as healthcare, tech, banking, and retail. The number of participating companies nearly doubled from the BEI’s inaugural year, indicating that corporate America is working hard to improve their DE&I efforts.


Representation: Building Black representation at every level of an organization is critical to moving DE&I efforts forward. Representation continues to lag and ranks as one of two BEI domains most in need of improvement.

  • Fewer than 2 in 5 BEI participating companies have 10% or greater Black representation in their workforce.
  • Only 7% of people managers—and only 3% of executives—are Black.
  • Black professionals are more likely to be represented in HR and support functions. On average, 13% of support professionals and 12% of HR employees are Black.
  • Half of BEI participating companies have surpassed 10% Black representation at the Board of Directors’ level. Yet one in eight companies (13%) still do not have a single Black board member.

Accountability: Companies must hold their leaders accountable for the state of DE&I as they do for other business priorities. Transparency is transformative—and Coqual finds opportunities within the accountability domain for companies to be more vocal about the great equity work they are already undertaking.

  • Nearly 7 in 10 (67%) participating companies include a DE&I-related focus in C-suite performance evaluations.
  • Fewer companies (58%) hold leaders to this level of accountability by considering workforce diversity in performance evaluations.
  • Even fewer still (44%) tie C-suite pay to progress on diversity metrics.

Investment: Companies must back their commitments with tangible resources. Deepening and sustaining investment in DE&I is integral to rooting out inequity and ensuring that inclusion is a top priority throughout the organization.

  • Nearly all respondents (81%) have an organization-wide DE&I task force, council, or working group that is separate from their DE&I team.
  • Of companies that provide anti-bias training, 5 out of 10 companies (55%) make it mandatory for senior leaders.

The full findings for the report can be found here.

Coqual’s 2023 BEI results indicate great progress, as well as great opportunity for increased investment. This is not the time to slow down. Coqual suggests the following data-based actions for leaders to use moving forward. As always, Coqual’s corporate guidance is backed by decades of intersectional, deep-dive research and advisory work and thought leadership on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Recommendations include:

  • Study and champion sponsorship. Get clear on the critical distinctions between mentorship and sponsorship, and work towards building a culture of sponsorship. Sponsorship programs should be monitored for effectiveness and refined accordingly.
  • Recruit from the top down. Pay attention to your board, your executives, your people managers, and other key positions of power within your organization. If Black professionals are concentrated at entry level, and siloed in certain positions, the work is not done.
  • Disaggregate, always. While overall representation numbers may seem positive, Black professionals may be overconcentrated in certain roles and lack access to others, as our BEI results show. Companies should aspire to reflect the regions in which they operate, and in certain parts of the country, Black representation far exceeds 14%.
  • Get high-tech. BEI companies share that they are tapping into technology to help make their recruitment and hiring processes more equitable. Leverage the growing body of technology built to help the mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion—but of course, vet it critically and thoroughly.
  • Connect with Black youth. In addition to college recruitment, invest in and improve representation long-term by partnering with schools, and grassroots and nonprofit programs that serve Black youth.

Companies can sign on to learn more and participate by emailing [email protected] 

Methodology: The 2023 Black Equity Index is an annual survey that captures information on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts focused on Black professionals. This computer-assisted survey was fielded online between February and May of 2023. A total of 43 companies submitted completed forms. All information was provided by representatives from respective companies and relied on voluntary, self-report data. Activities associated with instrumentation, fielding, and analysis were conducted by Coqual, an independent, nonprofit research organization. Additionally, each company that submitted a completed interview received an individual company scorecard documenting their standing across each of the six BEI domains. Weighted calculations of domain totals were applied for a maximum index score of 180. Response items that were left blank were treated as missing or non-applicable. The findings presented here are descriptive in nature and do not attempt to make any inferences about the programming impact of participating companies, or their related outcomes.

About Coqual: Coqual (formerly Center for Talent Innovation) is a leading global, nonprofit think tank dedicated to helping leaders design diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces where every person belongs. Founded in 2004, Coqual provides in-depth research, thought leadership, and data-driven, actionable solutions for companies to address bias and barriers to inclusion for underrepresented populations in the workplace. Coqual’s cutting-edge research and Advisory Services focus on gender, race, ethnicity, disability, veteran status and LGBTQ identities, and others—as well as the intersections among these groups. For more information, visit www.coqual.org.


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Good Soil Unearths Gold: Unveils Gift Guide Showcasing Small Businesses Ahead of Holidays

T.D. Jakes Enterprises Uplifts Minority Entrepreneurs with First Ever Gift Guide Promoted by The Good Soil Movement



DALLAS /PRNewswire/ — T.D. Jakes Enterprises, a social impact holding company, in conjunction with its national initiative, the Good Soil Movement, today announced its first-ever holiday gift guide highlighting a wide array of products in time for the holidays. The Good Soil Gift Guide will go live nationally on Friday, December 1 to help shoppers support small Black-owned and minority businesses. Good Soil members can start uploading their listings today.

As the country looks to bring together support for small businesses during Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, under-resourced and historically marginalized people are often excluded from the conversation and that’s precisely why the Good Soilmovement has quickly become the leading platform for small business empowerment.

“Our mission with the Good Soil movement is to grow and impact one million businesses and for those businesses to also reach at least $1 million in revenue throughout their entrepreneurship journey,” said Michael Phillips, chief operations officer for T.D. Jakes Enterprises. “As we stand together alongside these entrepreneurs, cultivating prosperity, we’re breaking through barriers, proving that the American entrepreneurial spirit knows no color. Good Soil has grown to almost 20,000 members and we are proud of every single entrepreneur that has joined this movement. This list is a celebration of hard work and Black entrepreneurship.”

With hundreds of businesses represented, the Good Soil Gift Guide will be free and open to anyone, beyond Good Soil app users. This guide isn’t a one-time release but a dynamic, living resource. Launching on December 1st, the guide will remain continuously updated throughout the year, adapting to seasonal shifts and celebrating occasions like Small Business Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Valentine’s Day, etc.

While Good Soil is not responsible for the content of the individual listings, it is ensuring that no illegal products, vice items, or potential pyramid schemes are included — only product and service categories that are deemed generally safe and beneficial.

To submit a product to be featured, the business must join the ever-expanding Good Soil network at the “Impact” level, which is free. The Good Soil Plus App offers exclusive business networking communities, organized by industry and location and gives users exclusive mentorship, fellowship, financing and deals. Learn more here.

The Good Soil Gift Guide can be accessed by consumers here: https://gifts.goodsoilmovement.com

About T.D. Jakes Enterprises
Part of the T.D. Jakes Group, T.D. Jakes Enterprises is a social impact holding company with an innovative portfolio steeped in content creation, cultural change, community development and capital investments. The mission is to create high impact content and opportunities that disrupt convention and culture. T.D. Jakes Enterprises includes work in television, film, books, mentorship, real estate, music and entrepreneurship. Visit https://tdjenterprises.com to learn more.

SOURCE T.D. Jakes Enterprises

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