Magic Johnson is offering $100 million in loans to minority and women-owned small businesses

Most minority owned small businesses were not able to take advantage of the short-term loans being offered by the federal government during the onset of the coronavirus. Thankfully, basketball legend Magic Johnson is here to help.

Many people may not know this, but Johnson has become an incredibly successful businessman since retiring from the NBA. In an era when professional athletes are increasingly focused on building their "personal brands," Johnson was a true pioneer. Rather than simply squeezing every last dollar out of traditional corporate endorsements, he has integrated personal principles into his business ventures. For example, in the early 1990's the Johnson Development Group launched Magic Johnson Theaters, a chain of cutting-edge movie theaters in urban centers that were often ignored by the national theater chains. Johnson eventually sold his stake in the chain to AMC but they've left a lasting imprint in black and other minority communities.

Now, Johnson is using his sizable clout as a celebrity investor to help out minority owned businesses that have struggled to acquire small business loans during the coronavirus.

According to CNBC, Johnson has partnered with MBE Capital Partners to source $100 million in loans to minority and women-owned small businesses. The loans will be distributed through the same federal government program that is currently issuing small business loans but will be earmarked to target businesses in need.

"This will allow them to keep their employees and keep their doors open," Johnson said in an interview with CNBC's "Squawk Box."



"We have to remember that these businesses have been in urban communities for a long time," Johnson told CNBC. "They've been doing great things, and they probably didn't have a relationship with the banks when the stimulus package went out. So now, we're able to say, 'Hey, you can have a relationship with us.'"

A representative for MBE said the loans could help as many as 100,000 small businesses over the coming months, with an application process that is meant to simplify and expedite a process that has often been criticized as overly complicated and slow.

Even better, MBE CEO Rafael Martinez said the program could be expanded to upwards of $1 billion.

"There is a ton of money left," he said.

As Johnson himself noted, getting money to minority and women owned small businesses isn't just important for the economy. As numerous reports have shown, minority communities are the hardest hit by the coronavirus. That's likely due to a number of reasons including lack of access to health care, lack of health nutrition and equal educational opportunities that facilitate healthier lifestyles. Simply put, financial resources are directly tethered to a community's health. Keeping people employed and building economic resources aren't just the right thing to do, they are imperative to offset the incredible damage done to these communities by the coronavirus and to help build a foundation to buffer them against the next crisis.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.