The protests around the country over the deaths of numerous Black people in the last few months at hands of police officers has sparked a new conversation around race relations in the United States. It has also held many large corporations and public figures accountable for doing more against racial injustice and systemic racism. Finance giant American Express is now the latest to come forward with its own commitment to cultivating Black businesses.
This week American Express announced its new coalition with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the US Black Chambers, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Business League in addition to the Walker’s Legacy organization with a $10 million pledge to fund a new program that will create for organizations focused on supporting Black-owned small businesses over the course of four years. The initiative is part of the finance giant’s global Shop Small campaign.
“We intend for this offer to help jumpstart spending at small businesses during initial reopening by encouraging our global Card Member base of $110 million to Shop Small. In fact, we launched Small Business Saturday with a statement credit offer, which was critical in helping it become a movement and a staple on the retail calendar every year,” said Walter Frye, VP of Global Brand Engagement and Design, American Express, in an email statement sent to BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“For many ‘regulars,’ small businesses are like a second home. Think about your local coffee shop—the barista knows your name, they know your order and they know when you’re having a good or bad day. Let’s be honest, that relationship is an important part of your life. Our survey showed that owners believe that the return of these individuals will have the most impact on their businesses and that’s one of the reasons we’ve designed our spend offer to allow up to 10 redemptions. We want to encourage our Card Members to visit their everyday favorites to spark the much-needed foot traffic small businesses need during this time.”