Following a U.S. appeals court’s ruling that Fearless Fund can no longer provide grants to Black women-owned businesses, supporters of the fund are now strategizing how to continue its work. According to Reuters, a divided court agreed with an anti affirmative action group that sued over the venture capital funds $20,000 grants awarded to Black women.

Supporters Responses

After the ruling, Fearless Fund supporters called for those with the means and power to respond by offering more grants to the underserved demographic.

“I would like to announce that I’m going to be issuing grants to Black women all year long. Anytime I want to. Left and right,” Arlan Hamilton, founder of venture capital fund Backstage Capital, said following the ruling. “Also you should issue grants to Black women. Anytime you want to. Left and right. Are they going to put all of us through this? Thousands of us? I’m issuing grants left and right and upside and downside.”

Hamilton’s sentiments were echoed by many who also found the ruling disheartening. Emily Black, a self-described macro forensic social worker, shared on social media that she has been working on an offer to help businesses earning seven or more figures to launch programs similar to Fearless Fund. Black suggests these programs be made part of companies marketing and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

“To both flood the market with grants and help 7+ figure businesses leverage grants as a lead generation tool,” Black explained on her Instagram story. “Now the urgency of an offer like this is palpable. This offer is also to stand in solidarity with by saying try to sue all of us!”

Black, who is a white woman, closed her message with a call out to other white women.

“Let’s all start giving grants to Black women and I’m really hoping white women led 7+ figure businesses who marched during BLM and posted corporate solidarity statements will launch grant programs for Black women,” Black wrote. “This is love, liberation, and putting money where our values are.”

An Ongoing Need

According to Fearless Fund, Black women-owned businesses are in desperate need of the help the venture capital fund provides. The fund says in 2018, U.S. companies raised a total of $130 billion in VC funding, yet only 2.2 percent of that total went toward female-founded companies. Less than one percent of total funding was allocated toward businesses founded by women of color.

Fearless Fund has backed more than 40 businesses owned and operated by Black women. One of their portfolios even includes a business owned by Gabrielle Union.