June 7, 2021
We want to serve as a resource. To keep you abreast of critical issues dominating the national discourse—including diversity, equity and inclusion; the digital divide; STEAM education; entrepreneurship and small business—we’re compiling timely news and information in one place because the first step to fixing a problem is understanding it.
T.D. Jakes Foundation in Action
This week, we wish our Chairman T.D. Jakes a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! For more than 40 years, you’ve lifted the most vulnerable among us. We are deeply inspired by your leadership. Have a wonderful week!
Today, in the United States, there are approximately 2.6 million Black-owned businesses—a number that has risen by more than 30 percent in the past decade. Click here to visit the T.D. Jakes Foundation’s helpful resource guide to learn how to support Black-owned businesses.
Need additional resources around STEAM? The T.D. Jakes Foundation has compiled a list of STEAM resources for the arts, coding, and engineering and even resources specifically for kids and teachers. Check out our STEAM resources here.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
In 2021, the number of women running businesses on the Fortune 500 hit an all-time record: 41. But that’s not all. For the first time two Black women are running Fortune 500 businesses (Roz Brewer of No. 16 Walgreens Boots Alliance and Thasunda Brown Duckett of No. 79 TIAA). Another executive is also making history at the helm of the highest-ranking business ever run by a female CEO -Karen Lynch of No. 4 CVS Health.Read more here.
As actors have been speaking up and pushing for Broadway and the theater industry to be more equitable, the Broadway Advocacy Coalition announced a new program called Reimagining Equitable Productions. REP is now working with “Company,” “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” and Disney Theatricals to help those productions create safe work environments. Read more about this important development here.
In an interview with Forbes, Tiffanie McDonald, vice president of inclusion and diversity for Cox Enterprises, discusses four ways for a company to improve its diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.
Jennifer Stimpson, the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Northern Iowa with an advanced STEM degree, is a chemist, award-winning educator, community volunteer — and what a scientist looks like. She is now among the more than 120 “ambassadors” highlighted in “#IfThenSheCan — The Exhibit,” a collection of statues of female STEM innovators on display at NorthPark Center representing the professional possibilities waiting for young girls who pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
While many now understand that science, technology, engineering, art, and math education, or STEAM, is important to the success of the video game industry, it’s critical to creating meaningful opportunities for marginalized people. A discussion at the recent GamesBeat Summit 2021 centered around how STEAM education is critical to development in the games industry — as well as to our national and global economy and the creation of new opportunities for advancement into the workforce, especially for women and racialized individuals. Watch the panel discussion here.
Jobs and the Economy
U.S. employers increased hiring in May and raised wages as they competed for workers, with millions of unemployed Americans still at home because of childcare issues and lingering fears over COVID-19. Though the pickup in job growth shown in the Labor Department’s closely watched employment report last week missed economists’ forecasts, it gave assurance that the recovery from the pandemic recession remained on track. Read more here.
Vice President Harris is increasingly emphasizing policies supporting small businesses and entrepreneurship, from engaging bank CEOs, to working with Treasury Secretary Yellen on increasing capital for underserved small business owners. Recently, Harris crisscrossed the country to meet with small businesses to highlight the benefits in the American Rescue Plan, which allocated $60 billion to small businesses. Read more about here efforts in Axios.
Proposed federal legislation could provide nearly 10 million children from lower and middle-class families with free or reduced-cost child care. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., reintroduced the Child Care for Working Families Act, which would ensure families earning up to 1.5 times their state median income levels would pay no more than 7% of their income for child care. Read more here.
Dallas ISD is offering a free summer learning experience to students that, if offered by another provider, would likely cost families at least $300. The PreK–8 Summer Cool Camp is designed to meet the needs of the whole child. Students will experience a full day of activities, ranging from fun hands-on learning to various extracurricular activities. Transportation, breakfast, lunch and participation incentives will be provided to students.
Because Dallas ISD offers free meals to all its students, all families are eligible to receive the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), a one-time benefit provided by the State of Texas for eligible families to buy food. Texas Health and Human Services will put funds in the Lone Star Card accounts of families who get SNAP benefits and whose children are approved for P-EBT. Families who are approved after submitting the application will receive a P-EBT card loaded with benefits from Health and Human Services. Find more information here.
Up, Up and Away
NASA and the North Central Texas Council of Governments are taking a small step this month toward what could be a giant leap in alleviating traffic congestion. The entities entered into an agreement with the to study the implementation of cargo-carrying drones and automated air taxis, which are small passenger aircraft that can make short trips without an onboard pilot. The workshops are set to begin June 16. Read more here.
Jeff Bezos will be flying to space on the first crewed flight of the New Shepard, the rocket ship made by his space company, Blue Origin. The flight is scheduled for July 20th, just 15 days after he is set to resign as CEO of Amazon. Read more here.
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