Asset Funders Network introduces the Equity Amplifier for Economic Security (EA), a new monthly spotlight series that highlights organizations or nonprofits focused on building economic security/asset building in communities of color.
Higher Purpose Co. (HPC) is a Black led economic justice nonprofit that provides support for small businesses and works to improve economic development. Located in Clarksdale, Mississippi, HPC’s mission is to build community wealth with Black residents by supporting the ownership of financial, cultural, and political power.
An integrated model anchors HPC’s change theory which includes:
- Business ownership
- Narrative Change
HPC’s solutions-based organizing and community wealth building amplifies their view of evolution to unapologetically tackle generational poverty, structured inequality, and institutionalized racism in the state of Mississippi.
WATCH and LISTEN to the interview with Higher Purpose Co:
Q&A with Higher Purpose Co. CEO, Tim Lampkin
Can you provide an example of a program or initiative that your organization is spearheading to advance economic opportunity and prosperity for Black communities?
Yes, HPC identifies as a Black-led organization, meaning our entire staff and board is comprised of 100% Black individuals. In addition, the population we serve, including local entrepreneurs, artists, and farmers, are all Black.
We have several programs that we offer to help advance economic opportunity in Mississippi:
- The Higher Purpose Funding Network provides capital matchmaking, application packaging, and customized business growth support using a non-extractive integrated capital model for Black entrepreneurs.
- Higher Purpose Business Fellowship is a seven week program anchored by HPC’s culturally relevant curriculum, business growth support, and funding network.
- Finally, the Higher Purpose Institute for Black Entrepreneurship implements entrepreneurship education, narrative change, and advocacy using an integrated strategy.
How does this work impact communities and populations that are historically marginalized, underserved, and/or under-resourced?
HPC is currently providing business support to over 200 Black entrepreneurs, farmers, and artists across Mississippi. An interesting fact about HPC is that the majority of HPC members identify as Black women.
Since 2016, HPC has provided entrepreneurship education to over 1,500 individuals and helped deploy over $800,000 in affordable capital.
What are some specific barriers or biases from within philanthropic organizations that you believe are hindering diverse organizations in accessing adequate funding or support?
Many barriers hinder organizations led by people of color, but a large majority of those issues are systematic. There are too many systemic problems emerging within philanthropic organizations that hinder businesses led by Blacks from obtaining fair treatment including:
- Inability to build or sustain relationships to help get affordable capital.
- Inflexible or outdated strategy and evaluation requirements, which increases Black families and individual’s likelihood to not acquire wealth or establish resourceful relationships.
Barriers such as these inhibit the long-term relationships (and funding streams) between funders and Black communities, making it harder for Black families to obtain credit and capital, which could lead to increased generational wealth if they were able to obtain adequate funding.
Name one thing funders need to be cognizant of when connecting or partnering with diverse organizations and communities?
The primary issue that funders should be aware of is that HPC believes in developing authentic relationships. Although we are a Black-led organization that supports Black businesses and 100% operated by Black for Black people, we wholeheartedly believe in building long-lasting and positive working relationships with allies. It is vital that we grow and learn from diverse backgrounds while working together to bridge the gap between the systemic policies that hinder Black residents from obtaining the same capital and support as our white counterparts.
To learn more about Higher Purpose Co., visit HigherPurposeCo.org. HPC can also be reached on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @HigherPurposeCo.
About the Equity Amplifier
The EA serves as a space where philanthropy can engage with communities of color and examine how funders are addressing concerns in a manner that is intersectional and inclusive. Each month, AFN members will have the opportunity to access minority-led organizations and nonprofits that are focused on economic security and asset building, including an informational brochure and a brief interactive virtual video presentation.
As a benefit to AFN membership, funders may nominate local minority-led organizations and nonprofits that meet the following requirements to highlight as part of the EA spotlight series. AFN members will also receive the opportunity to participate in a brief interactive virtual video presentation that will be shared with national AFN membership and through various social media platforms, allowing your organization to showcase innovative models and best practices to help build a more secure future for communities of color.