11 Black Trade/Professional Organizations You Have Never Heard Of – But Should Join Today


“Networking has been cited as the number one unwritten rule of success in business. Who you know really impacts what you know.” – Sallie Krawcheck

Our founder and chief economist, William A. Foster, IV, has a favorite saying, “Your net worth is a reflection of your network.” If you want to ascend to greater heights you have to connect with others who are also doing so. The people we associate with and the organizations we belong to can propel us socially and financially throughout our careers. However, knowing where to find professional networks and organizations has often proved challenging for African Americans not already in ‘the know’. Some of the more well known African American professional organizations are NABE (National Association of Black Engineers), NBMBAA (National Black MBA Association), and even NABA (National Association of Black Accountants) to name a few. You also do not have to be in that specific field to join that particular organization. A psychology major is not limited to only psychology trade/professional organizations. In fact, it is very important to join organizations that have no links with your current field to give yourself a more worldly view and expanded possibilities of opportunities. An accountant joining NABE may find out about an opportunity for an accountant position at an engineering firm or find a co-founder to launch their own engineering firm. Ultimately, the networking of African American professionals, especially HBCU graduates, into our own trade/professional organizations helps to strengthen and circulate the social and intellectual capital of African America’s private sector and therefore African America itself.

NABHOOD – National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators, and Developers

“Our primary goal here at NABHOOD is to increase the number of African-Americans developing, managing, operating and owning hotels; increase vendor opportunities & executive level jobs for minorities, thereby creating wealth within the African-American community. We do this by providing information about hotel ownership, investing, supplier opportunities, employment and other resources; our Annual International African American Hotel Ownership & Investment Summit & Trade Show is our best resource to help us accomplish this.”

AABE – American Association of Blacks in Energy

“The American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) is a national association of energy professionals founded and dedicated to ensure the input of African Americans and other minorities into the discussions and developments of energy policies regulations, R&D technologies, and environmental issues.”

NBMOA – National Black McDonald’s Operators’ Association

“The National Black McDonald’s Operators Association (NBMOA) is a 47 year old Organization dedicated to ensuring that African American McDonald’s Owners are fully engaged in all of the benefits associated with owning McDonald’s restaurants. The NBMOA goal is the complete integration of NBMOA members, African American Employees and Vendors into the McDonald’s system. The NBMOA also works diligently to make sure that McDonald’s fully engage the African American community in a respectful and positive manner.”

NABFM – National Association of Black Food Manufactures

“The NABFM is a newly established nonprofit that exists to be a voice for people of African descent in food and beverage manufacturing. It was founded to address the unique needs of our community as we seek to gain further entry into the food manufacturing, supplier and related industries for our ultimate success.”

NBTEBA – National Black Tech Ecosystem Builders Association

“The National Black Tech Ecosystem Builder Association will unite black tech startup support organizations, black faith communities, K thru 12th Black STEAM educators, HBCUs, black civic tech organizations, and black technology organizations. The Association will empower on-the-ground black tech activists and black tech ecosystem builders to eradicate racial tech disparities in their cities by helping them to strengthen their local black tech ecosystems.”

OBAP – Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals

“OBAP will be a world-leading organization that changes lives by creating a pathway to success through educating youth, communities, and professionals—shaping an aerospace industry as diverse as the people we serve.”

NAAIA – National African American Insurance Association

“NAAIA is dedicated to empowering African American insurance professionals currently in the industry as well as celebrating their accomplishments. NAAIA is also committed to attracting talented individuals to the insurance industry. Through our work and affiliation with other organizations we are dedicated to increasing the awareness of opportunities and the attractiveness of careers in the insurance industry.”

OBMG – Organization of Black Maritime Graduates

“To assist and encourage by educating and increasing public awareness regarding minority involvement in the maritime and engineering industries through recruitment, mentoring, scholarships, and networking.”

AAAFA – Association of African American Financial Advisors

“AAAA is a non-profit membership organization for African American financial advisors and affiliated professionals. We work in alliance with academic leaders at HBCUs that support financial planning degree programs, legislative and regulatory bodies, financial services firms and consumer interest organizations. AAAA fosters the value of financial planning and advances the financial planning profession.” 

OBD – Organization of Black Designers

“OBD is a national professional organization of interior, industrial, architectural, fashion and graphic designers dedicated to promoting the visibility, empowerment, education and interaction of its membership and the understanding and value that diverse design perspectives contribute to world culture and commerce.”

RBCA – Regional Black Contractors Association

“The RBCA maintains very effective working relationship with state, municipal, and corporate leaders and their supplier diversity executives, elected and appointed officials for the support of African-American business development. Locally, statewide and in Washington, DC, we are constantly monitoring of pending legislation that might affect our member’s businesses, their growth and even their ability to conduct business. When legislation is being considered that affects our mission, the RBCA quickly mobilizes to work with key policy makers to support and ensure that every opportunity is available for the RBCA and its members.”

African America’s January 2021 Jobs Report – 9.2%


OVERALL UNEMPLOYMENT: 6.3% (6.7%)

AFRICAN AMERICAN: 9.2% (9.9%)

LATINO AMERICAN: 8.6% (9.3%)

EUROPEAN AMERICAN: 5.7% (6.0%)

ASIAN AMERICAN: 6.6% (5.9%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: African and Latino Americans saw a 70 basis point decline to lead all groups. Asian Americans had the worst increase among all groups with an increase of 70 basis points. Marginal movements of 30 basis points decrease by European Americans.

AFRICAN AMERICAN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE BY GENDER & AGE

AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN: 9.4% (10.4%)

AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN: 8.5% (8.4%)

AFRICAN AMERICAN TEENAGE: 17.3% (25.2%)

AFRICAN AMERICAN PARTICIPATION BY GENDER & AGE

AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN: 66.1% (65.2%)

AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN: 59.8% (59.5%)

AFRICAN AMERICAN TEENAGE: 29.3% (31.0%)

Analysis: African American Men saw a decline in their unemployment rate by 100 basis points. African American Women saw a margin uptick of 10 basis points. African American Teenage Group saw an acute drop of 790 basis points. Participation rates for Teenage Group declined by 170 basis points, African American Men increased by 90 basis points, and African American Women saw an increase 30 basis points.

African American Men-Women Job Gap: African American Women currently have 806,000 more jobs than African American Men in January. This is a decrease from 973,000 in December.

CONCLUSION: The overall economy added 49,000 jobs in January. African America added 262,000 jobs in January or 534 percent of the overall jobs added. “African American Men were the bulk of those jobs accounting for 77.4 percent. A major headway into the continued closing of the employment gap between African American men and women will have profound social, economic, and community implications,” William A. Foster, IV, chief economist for HBCU Money said. Per Yahoo Finance, “Hiring will pick up as restrictions are relaxed but gains will be stronger once the economy can fully reopen,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, said in an email Friday. “Until then, generous fiscal support will provide a safety net for households and businesses.”

HBCU Money™ Turns 9 Years Old


By William A. Foster, IV

“I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon.” – Tom Stoppard

It is hard to believe that it has been nine years since HBCU Money was founded. It began with a conversation with Jarrett Carter, Sr., founder of HBCU Digest, about the lack of economics, finance, and investment information from an African American and African Diaspora perspective. He simply said, why do you not start one then. Challenge accepted and a challenge it has been. HBCU Alumni Owned media across the spectrum continues to fight to be a real and present voice in the ever changing landscape of media. Both trying to push the old guard forward and try to keep up with the competition and outsiders that seeks to control and own our narrative. They often seeing the value of our content, but with wretched intentions. This has and continues to be one of our great fights.

To be a voice of a community is an immense responsibility. Holding decisions makers accountable, helping inform the community in an unbiased manner, and yes, at times shaping the conversation. Sometimes it has been the duty of HBCU Alumni Owned media to present thoughts and visions that are ambitious and bold into the conversation about what is possible. It is a gentle balance that must be minded.

Going forward I will continue to help build HBCU Money, HBCU Politics, and our other media assets to be a formidable force for empowerment for the HBCU community and Diaspora. This I believe to be part of my life’s work. I am thankful for those who continue to fight along side me and for us.

Internet Services Startup Launched By Three HBCUpreneurs – Who Have Never Met


“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs

It is a business story worthy of Hollywood. Mainly because it seems to be a storyline that you only find in movies. However, the story is very real and very powerful. Not only because of its potential, but also because of the possibilities that it presents. Three HBCUpreneurs from three different HBCUs start a business, but have never actually met each other in person. The power of the internet, the power of Twitter and most importantly, the power of the HBCU community.

The company, HBCU Real Estate, is an internet services company that seeks to help the HBCU community (but not limited too) find and use HBCU real estate service providers. Everything from real estate agents, mortgage brokers, interior designers, and more. The founders hope that it will even lead to business creation in the spaces of real estate that the HBCU community may have little to no presence. HBCU Money is aware of only one title company* owned by an HBCU alumnus. HBCU Real Estate’s mission is to help facilitate circulation of the HBCU community’s dollars and keep them in the HBCU community. If successful, it could potentially keep tens of billions of dollars within the HBCU community. The fact that none of the founders have ever met in person makes what they are trying to accomplish even more astounding.

For two years it sat on the proverbial shelf according to organizer, cofounder, and HBCU Real Estate’s Director of Product Development, William A. Foster, IV, a Livingstone College, Virginia State University, and Prairie View A&M University alumnus. “I am a multipreneur and have learned that more hands and brains on deck is almost always a good thing. I needed to meet and find the right people who could understand, compliment, add value, and who could see the potential just as much as I could. Also, I promised myself no more solo projects. When you are involved in as many businesses and organizations as I am, being able to spread the load is vital to success – and sanity.”

Enter Christen Turner, Spelman College and Southern University alumnus, and Marcus King, an alumnus of Prairie View A&M University, both HBCUpreneurs themselves. Ms. Turner, HBCU Real Estate’s Chief Technology Officer, also owns Janelle T. Designs, a graphic designs firm, as well as Forever Femme, an accessories company. Mr. King, HBCU Real Estate’s Chief Marketing Officer, owns Hardly Home, a clothing line that is catered towards travel that was featured on HBCU Money’s The HBCUpreneur Corner in 2015. What does it say to you (King) about the potential of collaboration for HBCUpreneurs that 5 different HBCUs are represented among the 3 cofounders? King answered, “The motto at my alma maters is that “PV produces productive people” and I think that can be said about HBCUs across the board. For years HBCUs have been producing top talent and should continue to do so as we seek to move forward and provide solutions to the problems our community faces.”

The three have followed each other on Twitter for years, although no one can remember for how long. It was towards the end of 2020 that Foster said he approached Turner and King about doing a collaboration or tweeted at them rather. “I sent out a tweet and tagged both of them saying that I need to cofound something with the two of them. Having watched them over the years I knew we would click and have the same kind of work ethic. I just needed to find out if they thought the idea had any legs. If it was not this, it was going to be something else.” The work ethic was confirmed when he said he got an email from Turner on Thanksgiving while he himself was working. Turner further drove the point home of the potential of the moment, “This business will be successful because of two reasons, respect and trust. Despite not having met in an ‘official’ capacity, our partnership seems to have a natural fit to it; almost like pieces of a puzzle. With William’s intuition, he was able to unknowingly add the right people to his team who would each be able to add something different. Whether from a professional standpoint or specific personality traits, we all came in with an immediate respect for each other’s talents and skills. This is why the business will be successful. There’s no questioning; there’s only action, openness, and honesty.” Usually in Hollywood the movie ends with and they lived happily ever after – The End, but in this case it is clear that this is just The Beginning.

For more information, visit http://www.hbcurealestate.com

$25 Billion In Rental Assistance Is Coming To All 50 States – How To Apply


CNBC today released an article highlighting ways for people to go about gaining rental assistance as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Wealth Management reports that currently there is $70 billion outstanding in multifamily rents alone, not including single family rentals and others.

Some highlights from the CNBC article:

By one estimate, 14 million Americans are behind on their rent during the crisis.

To qualify for the assistance, at least one member of your household has to have lost income or incurred significant expenses due to the pandemic, or be eligible for unemployment benefits.

States will have the funds by Jan. 26.

“Renters should contact local housing groups, their representatives or the local 211/311 lines to identify programs and learn how to apply,” she added.

Renters can get help with up to 12 months of back rent and utility bills, and potentially another three months of support if there’s still money available. In some cases, you can get funds to cover future rent payments, but only if there’s a plan to address any debts first.

Last, if your landlord ignores any of these rules, as some are doing, get a lawyer. You can find low-cost or free legal help with an eviction in your state at Lawhelp.org.

It goes without saying that African Americans are disproportionately suffering during this pandemic economically. African Americans comprise 28 percent of the 14 million renters who are facing rental hardship despite only being 12 percent of the U.S. population. There should be close monitoring of rental assistance to the African American community after many African American business owners were largely left out of the PPP programs and funds. HBCUs both urban and rural should be using any and all means at their disposal to assist in helping stabilize African American families in their sphere and beyond if possible. A work study program specifically designed to help families apply for assistance could be created in the short-term with a call to alumni to raise the funds to both paying for students work study as well as provide some community assistance to African American families as well.