August 4, 2023

Conservative Activists Behind Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Decision Sues VC Fund For WOC

Fearless Fund

Conservative group American Alliance for Equal Rights, founded by Edward Blum, has brought a lawsuit against Fearless Fund, which supports women of color who own small businesses. 

Reuters reports that the lawsuit accuses Fearless Fund of violating Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which bars racial bias in private contracts by opening its grant competition to Black women alone.

Lawsuits brought by Blum and the conservative group led to the June Supreme Court’s ruling to shut down affirmative action, barring universities and colleges from considering race in their admissions process. 

Fearless Fund

Fearless Fund was founded in 2019 by Arian Simone, Keisha Knight Pulliam and Ayana Parsons to invest in pre-seed, seed level and series A women of color founders building scalable and growth-aggressive companies.

They recently announced they had received multi-million dollar follow-on investments from Bank of America, Costco and Mastercard. 

For nearly four years, the Fund has awarded multiple businesses the funding and tools to succeed and grow across various industries. 

Targeting a grant contest for Black women

According to Reuters, Blum’s lawsuit focuses on Fearless Fund’s Fearless Strives Grant Contest, which awards Black women who own small businesses $20,000 in grants, digital tools to help them grow their businesses and mentorship opportunities provided with Mastercard. 

The conservative group has said some of the group’s white and Asian American members have been excluded from the grant program due to their race.

Reuters wrote that Blum said the lawsuit was the first of many he hopes to pursue through the American Alliance for Equal Rights to broadly challenge race-based policies used by private corporations. 

“The common theme of these organizations is to challenge in the courts the use of racial classifications and preferences in our nation’s policies,” he said. 

A devastating effect on Black women

Every year, around 0.2% of business funding goes to Black Women and many Black VCs and founders have taken Twitter to share their frustration.

Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Harlem Capital, Henri Pierre-Jacques, wrote, “They are trying to say there is a racial discrimination for diverse VCs that target POC… this is an industry where 2% of funding goes to POC.”

“The precedent and slippery slope we are on is terrifying.”

Tech Business Executive Qiana Patterson tweeted, “We are in a pit with no bottom. When they go low, they always plan to go lower.”


Following the Supreme Court’s affirmative action decision, other companies have also come under fire for having diversity programs, with tech giant Microsoft among the targets.

POCIT contacted Fearless Fund for a comment but has yet to receive a response.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.