The JP UP Date: PayPal Grants Available To Black Businesses

Katie ArnoldThe JP UP date

Number 71                             June 12, 2020                                   St. Louis

AEO to Manage PayPal $10M Grant Program for Black Businesses: Apply ASAP as Demand is Significant; Saturday, June 13 2:00 pm CST Deadline

PayPal Holdings, Inc. recently announced a program to assist Black businesses and communities by offering $10M in empowerment grants to aid small businesses that have been impacted by both the Covid 19 pandemic as well as the recent nationwide civil unrest.  Due to the overwhelming response, the application process will be paused at 2:00 pm CST, June 13th. These grants will provide direct support to businesses to cover expenses related to stabilizing and reopening their businesses.  The fund will be managed in partnership with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), a leading national nonprofit expanding economic opportunity for Black entrepreneurs through its Tapestry Project, which Justine PETERSEN is a member and an active participant.  Interested businesses can apply for a grant at
JP Staff to Begin Series of Listening Sessions with Center for Education Equity
Justine PETERSEN, along with other microfinance organizations nationally, is taking steps for staff members to engage and discuss current events that have brought to the forefront the need for a national discussion and action plan on the salient racial and economic inequities that exist today in our society.  JP staff members Randen Click and Shawna Collier are spearheading the listening series which will be led by Anthony Neal, Executive Director of the Center for Education Equity.  The listening sessions will provide not only a forum for discussion, but the opportunity for JP staff members to become kinetic in our collective effort to address and take action as it relates to systemic racism and resulting disparities.  The listening sessions are part of JP’s commitment to on-going DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) programming.
The Pandemic Diaries: Redefined

The Pandemic Diaries was a weekly reflection penned by individual Justine PETERSEN staff members in the style of journaling, chronicling the daily reality of working from home in the wake of Covid-19.  In light of us fighting the long entrenched pandemic of structural racism and inequality, the series will now include diary submissions reflecting on what it means to live in a world that is unjust, and what can and should be done for “cultural course correction.” This week’s diary entry is written by Shawna Collier, Business Assistance Manager at Justine PETERSEN.  

“It’s freedom for everybody or freedom for nobody.”
“I want to be remembered as someone who was sincere. Even if I made mistakes, they were made in sincerity.”
“To me, the thing that is worse than death, is betrayal.”
–    Malcolm X

Silence is no longer an option!  Reality is. A Change will come by any means Necessary.  Now will the change be positive or negative?  That is the question that I have been asking now. Deaths of innocent people “Must Stop”!   The injustice that results from racism is so toxic that the future looks bleak; when we say the children are our future, teach them well.

As one of the senior loan officers here at JP, my role is to help entrepreneurs start, enhance, and sustain their businesses.   The business are fabrics of our lives that are essential to every community.  Shopping and patronizing our local business owners is empowering for both the owners and the patrons.  So it pains me to see the destruction of what’s happening in our communities.  I can only pray that it stops for all of our sakes or there will be no future and no legacy to leave to our kids and their kids.
See, I am a Ferguson resident that lived through the Mike Brown Tragedy, and to see how the small businesses came back to rebuild, just to now have the businesses vandalized in riots and looting, is very disheartening.

“We each have a responsibility to Black Americans in calling out and working against racism wherever we see it, at home and beyond. We believe leaders have a responsibility to help create change – through policy and systems change, by listening to and amplifying the voices of Black leaders, by standing up and speaking out as allies. Racism has no place in our community and our country, and we are all accountable for rewriting our future.”  Dr. Yemi Akande-Bartsch, President & CEO FOCUS St. Louis

Congratulations to the Graduate Deme Debere!
Congratulations two times over to Deme Debere for both graduating recently from Washington University in St. Louis and completing his JP practicum!  Deme recently earned his Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) from the esteemed Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, with a concentration in Social and Economic Development.  Back home in Ethiopia, he founded the dynamic Vision Community Based Rehabilitation Association (VCBRA), a nonprofit  dedicated to “ensuring the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities by empowering their capacity and creating better access to resources.” Upon graduating, Deme and his family relocated to Nashville where they will start the next chapter of their family life.  CONGRATS DEME AND FAMILY!