New Court Ruling Bars Fearless Fund From Awarding Grants To Black Women Founders


A recent court ruling has temporarily blocked the Fearless Fund from awarding its $20,000 Fearless Strivers Grant to Black women entrepreneurs. The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER) alleging that the grant program discriminates against non-Black women.

Key Takeaway

A recent court ruling has temporarily halted the Fearless Fund’s grant program, which aimed to provide financial support to Black women founders. This decision raises concerns about the limited access to funding for underrepresented entrepreneurs and the potential impact on the broader tech ecosystem.

Judges Weigh In

A panel of appellate judges, including two appointed by President Donald Trump, agreed with the AAER, stating that the grant program is “racially exclusionary” and likely violates the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits racial discrimination in contracts. However, one judge appointed by Bill Clinton dissented, criticizing the AAER for misusing the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and stating that the inclusion of Asian business owners does not address the exclusion of white business owners.

As a result of this ruling, the Fearless Fund is now barred from awarding the grants until a separate panel of judges decides whether the Strivers Grant can be deployed while the lawsuit is ongoing in district courts.

Impact on Black Women Founders

This court ruling comes at a time when access to funding for Black women founders is already limited. Less than 1% of venture capital goes to Black women, and less than 2% goes to Black founders overall. The Fearless Fund’s grant program was seen as a meaningful step towards addressing this disparity and providing economic opportunities for Black entrepreneurs.

Experts and industry insiders are closely following this case, with some expressing concern that the conservative court’s ruling may not favor the Fearless Fund. The case is expected to eventually reach the Supreme Court, where hope remains for a more balanced outcome.

Within the tech community, there is growing apprehension about the potential implications of this ruling. Funds that focus on supporting founders of color are worried about their future, and the Black tech community at large is feeling discouraged. The global tech landscape is also paying attention to this case, as the U.S. ecosystem often sets a precedent for other markets.

While the outcome of this lawsuit is uncertain, it highlights the importance of addressing the existing disparities in venture capital funding and ensuring equal opportunities for underrepresented founders.

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