Juneteenth: Making Good on Our Commitment to Combat Systemic Racism
A year ago, our world looked very different. It was a moment of seemingly never-ending obstacles as COVID-19 cases were on the rise and the nation was calling out for justice and healing. 365 days later, as we prepare to honor and celebrate Juneteenth, we are called to not only reflect on the significance of this day but also the promises we made a year ago as individuals, as companies, and as a country to combat institutionalized racism.
As a company, we believe that being inclusive of and promoting a diversity of people, companies, ideas, and perspectives is both the right thing to do and good for business. A value that is reflected in our portfolio of companies that are made up of nearly 60% female and minority founders. Even so, on June 19th, 2020, as we as a company took the time to reflect, we knew that there were opportunities for us to expand these efforts that had not yet been seen, because as Nex Cubed CEO, Marlon Evans, shared, “There has to be a better way. You can always do more.”
It was from this reflection and commitment to diversity that the HBCU Founder’s Program was born. The program is dedicated to inspiring students and recent alumni of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) interested in pursuing entrepreneurship by providing financial and advisory resources for founders to make their ideas a reality.
Though the creation of the HBCU Founder’s Program, to the blind eye, most clearly promotes diversity, there is one company value our team holds dear that I believe this program not only meets, but exemplifies and enhances. A value that may not be listed on our website, but is palpable in each and every team interaction and company call: Community.
The HBCU Founder’s Program has enriched our community in every essence of the word. From representatives from AT&T, Franklin Templeton, and a number of our other corporate supporters running interactive workshop days with our program participants to individuals like John Thompson and Dan Rosensweig who, despite their titles, met with our founders to have a genuine conversation and authentically share not just their career experiences but also human ones. It’s members of Nex Cubed’s core team, our mentors and advisors who are dedicated to ensuring that the program participants not only have a good experience, but an exceptional one.
Most importantly, it is the 350+ HBCU students and recent alumni who have signed up to be a part of the program and more specifically the 15 founders participating in our Summer Accelerator Program. Thank you for your dedication to do good. Not just through your companies, but through your day-to-day interactions and the infectious energy you bring to the program. You have not only absorbed every piece of knowledge being thrown at you, but you have also taken the time to get to know one another on a deeper level, bringing more of a human feel to this virtual experience.
365 days later and we are about to finish the third week of the HBCU Founder’s Summer Acceleration Program. 365 days later and we are planning to meet in person for our HBCU Showcase in just over a month, something that might have been wishful thinking just a year ago. 365 days later and we have built and strengthened such a genuine and authentic community that is dedicated to doing good.
A whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Nex Cubed team would like to thank each and every person who has chosen to dedicate part of their 365 days to help us build a program that a year ago was little more than a plan on paper. Thank you for being a part of our “whole”. And 365 days later as we continue to ask ourselves what more we can do, we look forward to the many opportunities to continue building and enriching our community in the coming years.
Caroline DiNapoli is the Marketing Coordinator at Nex Cubed.