A Black venture capital firm, Fearless Fund, has been sued by a conservative activist. The man, Edward Blum, played a role in the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2023 decision to reject affirmative action in college admissions.
According to Reuters, American Alliance for Equal Rights, a nonprofit led by Blum, alleges that the Fearless Fund is practicing unlawful racial discrimination. The claim states that the firm is “violating Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, a U.S. law barring racial bias in private contracts, by making only Black women eligible in a grant competition.”
Blum’s Affirmative Action Stance
Another group led by Blum had brought forth a lawsuit opposing affirmative action, which had initially been struck down by a lower court, per Reuters. The group appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the resulting ruling in June found race-conscious student admissions policies used by Harvard University and the University of North Carolina to be unlawful.
Filed in Atlanta, GA, the current suit against Fearless Fund is Blum’s first following the highest acting court’s decision. Specifically, the actions in question include Fearless Fund’s Fearless Strivers Grant Contest. The program awards Black women small business owners $20,000 in grants as well as digital tools to help them scale their businesses. Additionally, mentorship opportunities in partnership with Mastercard are available to winning participants.
A Black Venture Capital Fund With A Mission
Launched in 2019, Fearless Fund was created by entrepreneur and philanthropist Arian Simone, corporate business strategy executive Ayana Parsons, and actress Keshia Knight Pulliam. Per the company website, its mission is “to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies.”
For nearly four years, the Fearless Fund has awarded various businesses with the funding and tools needed to succeed and grow across various industries where Black-owned businesses aren’t always afforded the same resources as their white counterparts.
According to the outlet, Blum noted that approximately 60 members of his group, who are white and Asian American, “have been excluded from the grant program due to their race.” He also shared that the current lawsuit against the Fearless Fund is the first of many that he hopes to pursue through his American Alliance for Equal Rights organization against private corporations.
AfroTech reached out to Fearless Fund for comment but hasn’t yet received a response.