Many people in the entrepreneurial community know Ramon Ray as a keynote speaker, organizer of the Smart Hustle small business conferences and founder of Smart Hustle magazine. Ray, a well-known influencer in the small business space, is also author of the book The Celebrity CEO, which looks at how entrepreneurs can build a platform.
With the fight against racism front and center for many Americans in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an African American man, in the custody of Minneapolis police, Ray asked himself what business owners like himself can do to help and bring about change. He decided to focus on funding the education of black youth in entrepreneurship and financial literacy, which he sees as important routes to community empowerment.
“As a black man, in this context, I think black business owners and entrepreneurs can play a positive role,” he says. “The entrepreneurial spirit is powerful.”
Ramon Ray just launched the Black Education Fund to advance the education of black youth in personal … [+]
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Ray, based in Woodbridge, N.J., started the Black Education Fund to advance these causes on June 5. Every 30 days, he aims to raise funds for a different nonprofit that supports the fund’s mission, collecting and delivering donations directly to the organization through Facebook Fundraisers.
“As an entrepreneur, I’m galvanized to do what I can to help educate young black people,” says Ray. “That’s the key to reducing poverty and building wealth.”
Although Ray’s initial goal was to raise $5,000, the fund has already raised $9,071 for its first beneficiary, NPower, a group that is focused on moving people from poverty to the middle class through tech skills training and quality job placement. NPower trains veterans and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Ray is still accepting contributions for NPower. The Black Education Fund’s website includes information on how to donate.
“It’s a great organization,” says Ray. “I have volunteered there.”
Ray, who often works with corporate sponsors and other entrepreneurs for his events, has reached out to member of his network to engage them in supporting the Black Education Fund—but says there is more work to be done.
“Hopefully, I can inspire other business owners,” he says. “We can do more.”