August 10, 2023

Fearless Fund: VC Fund For WOC Responds To Racial Discrimination Lawsuit From Conservative Activists

Fearless Fund

Fearless Fund has responded to the lawsuit filed by the American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER) after it accused them of racial discrimination.

What happened?

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

The lawsuit accuses Fearless Fund of violating Section 1982 of the Civil Rights Act of 1886, 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.

The 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.

Despite less than 1% of business funding going to Black women yearly, 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.

What was the response?

Fearless Foundation released a statement today stating it saw a significant gap in funding for women-owned businesses, particularly for women of color, which is why they created the fund.

“We are proud of the work we have done at the Fearless Fund and Fearless Foundation.”

They also explained in 2022, venture capital firms deployed $288 billion, with women of color founders only receiving 0.39% of the total funding.

“Our vision is to promote a global society where marginalized and underrepresented communities are empowered with unbiased access to the resources and assistance that are critical to achieving business success,” they wrote.

“At a time when efforts to advance equity are under attack, our fund’s mission and our commitment to anti-discrimination principles could not be stronger. We stand firm in our purpose to provide a gateway to economic freedom.”

Many Black VCs and founders have taken Twitter to share their solidarity with Fearless Fund.

Mac Conwell, Managing Partner at Rare Breed VC, tweeted, “I and RarebreedVC stand with FearlessFund.”

Fearless Fund has petitioned supporters to join their fight against the lawsuit.

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.