In the #BankBlack movement, one organization is putting its money—$1 million—where its mouth is.
BMe Community, a national network dedicated to strengthening communities with the help of black men, is redirecting $1 million of its deposits into OneUnited, the nation’s largest black-owned bank, making BMe the “preferred nonprofit” for the bank, while OneUnited has become the “preferred bank” for the organization.
“When you try to get folks positively engaged in their communities and you think about building up the assets of the community, then it only makes sense that groups that say they care about the black community also bank black,” Trabian Shorters, the CEO of BMe, tells The Root. “And our network is in six cities. We have 165 BMe leaders that we’ve funded. Their work helps about half a million people every year, and it occurred to me that if we want other folks to invest in our communities, then we should lead by example.”
Both BMe and OneUnited hope to encourage the whole community to move its money and its mindset toward collective economics, as well as building wealth within the community.
“I think this #BankBlack movement is about more than us moving our money; it is about us moving our minds or just sort of opening up our minds to appreciating the power of our $1.2 trillion in spending power, and for us to start connecting with each other and using our money in a more purposeful way,” Teri Williams, president and chief operating officer of OneUnited, tells The Root.
Williams points out that of that staggering amount of spending power, the black community spends only about 2 percent on itself.
“We’re spending our money elsewhere, we’re building wealth for other people, and this whole movement to bank black, buy black, is really to get us to start recognizing that we can build wealth in our community with our own dollars,” she says.
And that’s exactly what the BMe network of black men, who are committed to building and strengthening communities across the country, plans to do: put its money where its interests lie, all the while actively encouraging others, particularly charitable organizations, to follow suit.
“There is $300 billion that [is] spent every year by charities, by philanthropies that typically focus on young people and communities and things that are associated with black folks,” Shorters emphasizes. “But do those organizations bank black? When you look at charitable foundation giving, if they just put some of their money on deposit with a black bank, that could infuse a billion dollars into our community, and it doesn’t even change any of our operating cost.”
Source: The Root | Breanna Edwards