Decision in Fearless Fund Foundation Case Undermines Underserved Entrepreneurs and a More Equitable Society

For Immediate Release: 
Monday, June 3, 2024

Statement from John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority, on why a federal appeals court was wrong to dictate how a small business support organization can spend its funds


"To say that we are disappointed with today’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in the case of American Alliance for Equal Rights v Fearless Fund Foundation, LLC is insufficient to capture the outrage, despair and fear that many small businesses are feeling. That a panel of judges can cast aside the reality that small businesses owned by women and people of color have historically been shut out of traditional banking, ignore the harm that discrimination has caused and dictate how a charitable foundation disperses its funds, is unconscionable.  

Small Business Majority’s research consistently finds that BIPOC entrepreneurs lag behind their white counterparts in a host of areas including access to capital. Fearless Fund Foundation should be commended for trying to address this problem. Instead, a court has decided that trying to right old wrongs has somehow harmed a group of people who already receive 99% of venture capital funding in the United States.

We as a nation must accept that for too long and for too many, the status quo has resulted in second-class status for too many. The answer to our problems certainly doesn’t lie in a return to the past, which is the real goal of many who claim that the majority is somehow being discriminated against. Instead, we need to admit that an uneven playing field hasn’t produced economic prosperity for more than a favored few, and that until we commit to genuine structural reform, small businesses owned by people of color will always have the odds stacked against them.

Today, we are disappointed. Tomorrow, we will get to work providing even more assistance for under-resourced entrepreneurs and partnering with even more organizations whose mission is to help underserved businesses. After all, it would be disingenuous to say that we strive for economic growth in the United States while failing to support the very people – small business owners of color – who start new businesses at the highest rates." 


About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America's diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and equitable economy. We engage our network of more than 85,000 small businesses and 1,500 business and community organizations to advocate for public policy solutions and deliver resources to entrepreneurs that promote equitable small business growth. Our deep connections with the small business community along with our scientific research enable us to educate the public about key issues impacting America’s entrepreneurs, with a special focus on advancing the smallest businesses and those facing systemic inequalities. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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