Editor’s note: C2FO is a financial supporter of Startland News; and Kansas City G.I.F.T. is a non-financial partner of Startland, the parent organization of Startland News. This story was produced independently by Startland News’ non-profit newsroom.
One of Kansas City’s biggest tech startups wanted to make Juneteenth a day of “action and awareness,” the company said, quietly donating the emerging fintech giant’s one-day marketplace revenue Friday to three Kansas City organizations dedicated to equity, inclusion and opportunity.
Selected for giving: The Porter House KC; Determination, Incorporated; and Kansas City G.I.F.T. (Generating Income for Tomorrow).
“This donation will help us continue to provide services to our entrepreneurship community, including our small business development program, mentorship program, and our furthering efforts to unite the ecosystem through additional programming,” said Dan Smith, co-founder of The Porter House KC.
Click here to learn more about The Porter House KC, which assists new and emerging entrepreneurs in Kansas City’s urban community, primarily people of color, by providing an affordable business space that can be used to start a new business or expand an existing one.
C2FO did not disclose the amount of marketplace revenue — generated by accelerated invoices on the platform Friday (timed because Juneteenth itself falls on a Saturday this year) — but explained the trio of nonprofits were chosen because they embody the spirit of hope, independence, equity and inclusion that Juneteenth honors each year.
The fintech company encouraged its customers, starting in mid-May, to accelerate invoices on the C2FO platform specifically on June 18 to help contribute to C2FO’s donations. C2FO also offered paid time off to its employees for Juneteenth volunteer activities.
Juneteenth is the oldest known holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, dating to June 19, 1866. It was declared a federal holiday just this week — with the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act passing unanimously through the U.S. Senate on Tuesday and on a 415-14 vote in the U.S. House Wednesday. President Biden signed the bill into law Thursday.
Watch the C2FO video below to learn more about Juneteenth, then keep reading.
The Kansas City organizations were selected from more than 20 nonprofits researched by C2FO team members who serve on the company’s Project Equity Committee.
“Our goal was to look for long-term, sustainable partnerships to benefit underserved populations in the community,” said Kimberlie Jordan, C2FO’s human resources business partner. “We want to partner with leaders who have a model and a lengthy project plan that enables continued growth and the ability to move on to the next milestone when they reach their goals. That’s our approach to goal-setting at C2FO, and that’s what we look for in our partners.”
Click here to explore C2FO, which has more than 220 workers at its Kansas City headquarters and a team 600-strong worldwide.
Leaders from the nonprofits on Friday expressed gratitude to C2FO chairman and CEO Sandy Kemper and his team, pledging to double down on their missions to mentor and support aspiring entrepreneurs, viable businesses and formerly incarcerated people in Kansas City’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.
“Our second chance entrepreneur community is built on three pillars: work in solidarity, live in harmony, and hold each other accountable,” said Kyle J. Benson-Smith, executive director or Determination, Incorporated. “We read these words every time we come together, and this gift from the C2FO team proves to me that’s what they believe in, too. We are honored for the support, especially alongside two other amazing organizations. With this gift, we can do even more to help formerly incarcerated people start viable, hiring businesses that make our community stronger and more prosperous.”
Click here to learn more about Determination, Incorporated, which seeks to create a pathway of opportunity for formerly incarcerated people through entrepreneurship. Click here to purchase one of the organization’s Juneteenth T-shirts to benefit the nonprofit’s efforts.
The United States finds itself at an urgent moment in its history, C2FO representatives said.
“Slavery ended more than 156 years ago, but the struggles that Black people face in many aspects of American life persist today,” the company said. “The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black Americans — and the social movements that have followed — remind us, once again, of the systemic inequality that exists and must be addressed in all areas of public and private life.”
On Thursday, C2FO sponsored a virtual panel conversation — “Black Entrepreneurship and the Importance of Giving Black” — alongside Startland, the parent organization of Startland News, and Kansas City G.I.F.T., one of the organizations receiving C2FO’s Juneteenth donations.
The event spotlighted conversations around challenges facing Black entrepreneurs — from raising capital to mental health concerns — as well as the Give Black KC fundraising campaign timed to coincide with Juneteenth.
Watch Thursday’s panel conversation below.
Click here to learn more about Kansas City G.I.F.T., a movement to close the racial wealth gap by creating a clear path to economic prosperity and wealth for the Black community in Kansas City.