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The HBCU Founders Initiative and UNCF TechVentures Partner to Establish the HBCU Pre-Accelerator Program



Scaling Entrepreneurial Education and Training Across HBCUs and Support Student-led Tech-Enabled Ventures

SAN FRANCISCO /PRNewswire/ — The HBCU Founders Initiative (HBCUFI), a nonprofit organization that supports HBCU students and alumni along their entrepreneurial journey, and UNCF TechVentures, a tech-entrepreneurial education and training program for African American students participating in UNCF STEM programs, have announced a partnership to establish the HBCU Pre-Accelerator program. The initiative will scale entrepreneurial education and training across HBCU campuses and provide dedicated support to on-campus pre-accelerator programs that support entrepreneurship and the launch of student-led ventures. 

The inaugural cohort of the HBCU Pre-Accelerator Program will include the following 7 HBCUs: Bowie State UniversityElizabeth City State UniversityMorgan State UniversityNorth Carolina A&T UniversityOakwood UniversityPrairie View A&M, and Spelman College.

Each of the campuses will host two, eight-week pre-accelerators (one in the fall and one in the spring) in support of approximately five startups per cohort; all of which are comprised of early-stage founders who are past the ideation stage and ready to validate a problem and build an MVP.

Each pre-accelerator program will include topics such as validating the idea, building a prototype, customer discovery, marketing and branding, legal operations, and fundraising and will be presented in weekly virtual cohort sessions with on campus activities also planned. Participants will have access to office hours with advisors who will help them along their entrepreneurial journey. The program will culminate in a pitch competition where participants will be eligible to receive non-dilutive program awards in support of MVP development.

“In line with our commitment to provide entrepreneurial education to our students, Bowie State is excited to be chosen to participate in HBCUFI’s Pre-Accelerator Program. Through this program our students will have the opportunity to continue to grow as innovators, develop their business leader mindset, and have access to resources needed to build sustainable businesses,” said Johnetta Boseman Hardy, Executive Director of The Entrepreneurship Innovation Center (EIC) at Bowie State University. 

“As an institution dedicated to innovation and collaboration, Oakwood University is honored to be selected as one of the seven campuses that will partner with HBCUFI for its Pre-Accelerator Program. We believe that entrepreneurship is a key component of a well-rounded education and a core value at Oakwood University. We are excited to expand our entrepreneurial offerings through our partnership with HBCUFI,” commented Dr. Theodore Brown Sr., Dean of the School of Business at Oakwood University.

To-date, over 500 students and alumni from 60+ HBCUs have benefitted from HBCUFI’s programming with participants raising over $2M for their startups. Additionally, UNCF launched TechVentures in 2020 with support from the Citi Foundation and Blackstone Charitable Foundation. TechVentures immediately provided entrepreneurial education and training support to two cohorts of students through 2021 before establishing the partnership with HBCUFI, which has enabled UNCF to scale and expand the program offerings across HBCU campuses.

“At UNCF, a core part of our mission is to support our institutions in their efforts to build capacity and help them to achieve their goals of becoming hubs and nodes of innovation and entrepreneurship that will have local and regional economic impact. We are excited about our partnership with HBCUFI and the HBCU Pre-Accelerator Program as it represents a unique opportunity to scale entrepreneurial education and training across HBCU campuses and to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset among our students. Further, this partnership expands our ability to cultivate the extraordinary talent that exists on our campuses,” said Dr. Chad Womack, Vice President of National STEM Programs and Tech Initiatives at UNCF.

“Adding an in-person component to our work is essential in ensuring the long-term sustainability of our efforts,” said HBCUFI President, Marlon Evans. “By building local capacity, we will be helping to foster a culture of innovation on campus and in the surrounding community. Ultimately, we hope to establish dedicated acceleration programming at dozens of HBCUs launching hundreds of African American-led startups that attract millions of dollars of investment capital, and in so doing, creating thousands of jobs on an annual basis,” adds Evans. “As SMBs are the lifeblood of our economy, creating two-thirds of net new jobs and 44% of all US economic activity, we believe our virtual and in-person startup acceleration programming will impact financial inclusion and empowerment.”

Support from organizations committed to diversity and inclusion has been core to HBCUFI’s success. HBCUFI Founding Partner, Franklin Templeton, is among these, having recently announced its plans to continue to support HBCUFI in 2022. For the 2022-2023 academic year, Franklin Templeton will provide support to the pre-accelerators at Morgan State and North Carolina A&T University, offering hands-on guidance to the founders through its employees who will serve as mentors, advisors, and pitch competition judges. Other organizations supporting HBCUFI for its second year include IntelAARPCooleyPerkins Coie, and Concrete Rose.

“As a founding partner, Franklin Templeton has worked hand in hand with HBCUFI to inform the fintech program offerings and provide support to new entrepreneurs. This program is a great opportunity for students at HBCUs to expand their knowledge of the startup landscape and develop key skills they will need in their entrepreneurial journeys and broader careers,” Regina Curry, Chief Diversity Officer at Franklin Templeton.

HBCUFI is now accepting applications for the fall pre-accelerator. HBCU students from the seven participating schools are encouraged to apply (alumni applications will be reviewed, but preference will be given to current students). HBCU students and alumni not affiliated with one of the participating schools are also encouraged to apply and participate in the virtual fall pre-accelerator.

To learn more and to apply, visit: https://www.hbcufi.org/pre-accelerator

About the HBCU Founders Initiative

Launched by Nex Cubed, the HBCU Founders Initiative (HBCUFI) aims to catalyze investment in African Americans by supporting HBCU students and alumni along their entrepreneurial journey, encouraging them to pursue technology solutions that close the racial wealth gap ranging from increasing access to healthcare, education, and financial services.

From the ideation stage to the investment stage and beyond, the HBCU Founders Initiative offers programs (accelerators, hackathons, industry webinars, and pitch competitions), financial and technical resources, as well as a vast network of advisors committed to supporting HBCU founders pursuing entrepreneurship.

As of the beginning of 2022, over 500 students and alumni from 60+ HBCUs have benefitted from the program. Participants in our programming have raised over $2M for their startups, positioning them to create jobs in their community.

About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 13% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 24% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” ® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.

SOURCE HBCU Founders Initiative

Rod: A creative force, blending words, images, and flavors. Blogger, writer, filmmaker, and photographer. Cooking enthusiast with a sci-fi vision. Passionate about his upcoming series and dedicated to TNC Network. Partnered with Rebecca Washington for a shared journey of love and art.

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The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation and LISC Award $1.275 Million to Upgrade Under-Resourced Community Sporting Spaces in 14 Cities and Towns

Initiative will fund renovation of facilities for basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, football, tennis, lacrosse, and volleyball



NEW YORK /PRNewswire/ — Community organizations, schools, and parks in 14 cities and towns across the country are using $1.275 million in new grants from The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation to improve sports facilities in under-resourced neighborhoods.

The awards represent the first round of funding through the Game On-Community Places to Play Initiative, a partnership of The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The program selected 15 non-profit community-based organizations to receive grants ranging between $50,000 and $100,000 to advance sports renovation projects in low- and moderate-income communities.

“We are thrilled these communities will be able to offer revitalized sports spaces to deserving athletes across the country,” said Rick Jordan, vice president of The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation. “We are proud of this partnership and believe that the rejuvenation of sports facilities is not just an investment in infrastructure, but an investment in the future of youth athletes.”

Grantees were selected through a competitive application process administered by LISC earlier this year, which required applicants to secure 1:1 match funding. In addition to managing the grant program, LISC will provide technical assistance to grantees to help them move projects forward.

“Sports teaches young people about teamwork and community, all while nurturing healthy bodies and minds,” said Beverly Smith, LISC vice president. “We are so glad The DICK’s Sporting Goods Foundation joined with us to invest in creating safe, quality sports facilities where youth and their families can play, exercise and spend time together.”

Grants will be used to meet a range of renovation needs. The 15 organizations selected to receive funding through the Game On-Community Places to Play Initiative include:

  • Brooke Charter Schools (Boston, Mass.): Transform an unused four-acre portion of the former Boston State Hospital grounds into athletic fields and outdoor space.
  • Highline Public Schools (Burien, Wash.): Install additional lighting for six tennis courts at Highline High School.
  • The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio): Build new outdoor basketball courts at Blanchetta Park in Colerain Township.
  • The Urban Community School (Cleveland, Ohio): Create two mini pitch soccer fields on its campus in the Near West Side.
  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas (Dallas, Texas): Install a natural grass multipurpose athletic field and sprinkler system at its Grand Prairie Club.
  • Detroit Horse Power (Detroit, Mich.): Build and activate an equestrian center for youth at a demolished school site in the Hope Village neighborhood.
  • KIPP Bold City High School (Jacksonville, Fla.): Develop an athletic field for football and other community sports programs.
  • Memphis Business Academy Schools (Memphis, Tenn.): Install an outdoor natural grass multipurpose athletic field on its campus in the Frayser neighborhood.
  • The Police Athletic League (New York, N.Y.): Renovate and repurpose an undersized and underutilized gymnasium in Washington Heights into a multi-sport training facility.
  • Nicetown Community Development Corporation (Philadelphia, Pa.): Install four basketball courts on underutilized land in the Nicetown neighborhood.
  • The Kingsley Association (Pittsburgh, Pa.): Renovate the gymnasium at its facility in the Larimer neighborhood.
  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh, Pa.): Renovate a baseball and softball facility at its Shadyside Clubhouse.
  • The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego (San Diego, Calif.): Resurface the soccer arena at its branch in the Logan Heights neighborhood.
  • Spokane Hoopfest Association (Spokane, Wash.): Resurface two existing basketball courts and convert an unused tennis court into pickleball courts in the East Central neighborhood.
  • The Wichita Parks Foundation (Wichita, Kan.): Install programmable lighting at the largest baseball field at McAdams Park.

About LISC
LISC is one of the country’s largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so that people and places can thrive. Since our founding in 1979, LISC has invested $29.7 billion to create more than 489,000 affordable homes and apartments, develop 81.4 million square feet of retail, community and educational space and help tens of thousands of people find employment and improve their finances. For more, visit www.lisc.org.

About The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation
The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with a mission to inspire and enable sports participation. It was created by DICK’S Sporting Goods as a private corporate foundation to support DICK’S charitable and philanthropic activities. Driven by its belief that sports have the power to change lives, The DICK’S Foundation champions youth sports and provides grants and support to under-resourced teams and athletes through its Sports Matter program and other community-based initiatives. Additional information about The DICK’S Foundation can be found on www.sportsmatter.org.

SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

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Paramount+ in Canada and The Shine Network Institute Announce the Indigenous Producers Budgeting Intensive



TORONTO /CNW/ — Today, Paramount+ in Canada and The Shine Network Institute (TSNI) announce the Indigenous Producers Budgeting Intensive, an online course and new resource to support the professional development and mentorship of Indigenous women in film, television and media. This first virtual course will be geared toward budgeting for film. It will be accessible on TSNI’s @Learnatshine platform and will launch on National Indigenous Peoples Day – Friday, June 21, 2024. 

Geared toward emerging and mid-level Indigenous female producers, this first intensive course of 10 x one hour modules offer students hands-on learning accompanied by Indigenous framed tutorials designed to empower students as they prepare to produce their first feature film. The course will also include candid conversations with Indigenous female producers to inspire and motivate students by giving them access to industry veterans who can dispel myths and misconceptions about producing. 

“Working with The Shine Network Institute on this course is truly the first step in our partnership,” said Doug Smith, SVP Streaming & Content Licensing Paramount Global, Canada. “After listening and consulting with Jennifer Podemski and her team over the past few months we are proud to collaborate on this online course which will provide tangible skills to those interested in line producing, one of the most important jobs on any set. It is also a project we can build on in the months and years to come to support even more of TSNI’s membership and the next generation of Indigenous producers.”

“I am thrilled to be partnering with Paramount + Canada for this course,” said Jennifer Podemski, President & CEO, The Shine Network Institute. “Partnerships like this allow TSNI to offer the highest level of training and mentorship while building capacity for Indigenous people within the screen sector. Although our mission at TSNI is to foster the careers of Indigenous women who are the least represented across the sector and experience the most disproportionate outcomes, this course, which will be offered on our @Learnatshine platform, is open to all Indigenous professionals working within Canada’s film, television and digital media space.” 

This initiative is the third partnership Paramount+ in Canada has announced that reinforces its long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Earlier this fall, the company announced a collaboration with the Black Screen Office for the Black Creators Festival Initiative; a joint venture with BIPOC TV & Film, and the National Screen Institute Partner for the new ELEVATE program; and now TSNI’s Budget Online Intensive.

These programs are intricately connected to the mission of Paramount Global’s Content for Change initiative, which seeks to counteract narratives that enable bias, stereotypes and hate using the power of our content, the creative supply chain that powers it, and the culture that underpins everything we do.

About Paramount+
Paramount+ is a global digital subscription video streaming service from Paramount that features a mountain of premium entertainment for audiences of all ages. Internationally, the streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including SHOWTIME®, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel™, in addition to a robust offering of premier local content. The service is currently live in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, Italy, Ireland and South Korea. 

About The Shine Network Institute
The Shine Network Institute (TSNI) is an Indigenous not-for-profit organization providing professional development programs, advocacy and mentorship, for Indigenous women in the film, television and media sector. TSNI is committed to knowledge gathering and knowledge sharing, understanding that culturally informed research practices will deepen our understanding of the needs within the communities we serve. We are committed to dismantling systemic and structural barriers Indigenous women face in the screen sector and creating pathways to advancing Indigenous women’s careers within the screen sector while creating safer spaces for all Indigenous Peoples in the industry.

SOURCE Paramount+ (Canada)

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AKRON, Ohio /PRNewswire/ — Today, Goodyear (NASDAQ: GT) announced its continued partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve for the 13th consecutive year in support of the Marines Toys for Tots Foundation. This year’s toy drive events will take place at Goodyear’s Blimp bases in California, Florida and Ohio. These drives will provide the public with a unique opportunity to donate to Toys for Tots while enjoying an up-close view of the iconic Goodyear Blimp.

From Dec. 1 to 3, Ohio residents can drive through the Wingfoot Lake blimp hangar from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look before dropping off their donation to a U.S. Marine representing Toys for Tots. In Florida, the event will be held on Dec. 3, offering open house tours of the hangar from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The California event on Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., welcomes registered attendees to enjoy guided tours of the base. Blimp enthusiasts in California can secure their tour spot here.

For those unable to attend the drives in person, toys can also be shipped to Goodyear’s hangars through Dec. 3. Toys being donated must be new and in the original packaging to be accepted.  

Visuals from previous Toys for Tots events at Goodyear’s Blimp bases can be found here.

“The enduring partnership between Goodyear and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in support of the Marines Toys for Tots Program is a source of immense pride for us,” said Laura Duda, Goodyear’s senior vice president and Chief Communications Officer. “For the 13th consecutive year, we’re excited to open the doors of our three blimp bases to the public, offering a unique chance to contribute to Toys for Tots while experiencing the magic of the Goodyear Blimp up close.”

Since its founding in 1947, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program has been on a mission to collect new, unwrapped toys throughout the months of October, November and December, distributing them as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the local community.

“As we celebrate our 76th year of assisting children in need, we are thrilled to welcome Goodyear back for their 13th year as a National Corporate Sponsor of the Marine Toys for Tots Program,” said retired Marine Colonel Ted Silvester, vice president of the Marines Toys for Tots Foundation. 

“Their community service goals continue to align with those the Marine Corps has promoted for over seven decades through our Toys for Tots Program.”  Silvester concluded, “With their continued generous support, we will be able to fulfill the Christmas dreams of thousands of disadvantaged children who might otherwise be forgotten.”

The Goodyear Blimp base locations accepting in-person and mailed toy or monetary donations for this program include:

California Goodyear Airship Base
19200 S Main St, Carson, CA 90248

Florida Goodyear Airship Base
1500 NE 5th Ave, Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Ohio Goodyear Airship Base
841 Wingfoot Lake Rd., Mogadore, OH 44260

About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 74,000 people and manufactures its products in 57 facilities in 23 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

SOURCE The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

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