Major League Soccer Partnership with Black Banks to Bolster Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Major League Soccer

The MLS funding collaboration with a syndicate of Black banks is the first of its kind among sports organizations, and it signals a watershed point in the United States’ economic divide between black and white people.

Major League Soccer said that it will leverage a historic $25 million loan from a syndicate of Black banks, marking the first time any sports league has done business entirely with Black banks. The relationship, which was facilitated by the charity National Black Bank Foundation (NBBF), is the latest critical step in MLS’s ongoing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts.

“Major League Soccer’s relationship with the National Black Bank Foundation is a tangible step toward closing the racial economic disparity in the United States, and it’s the proper business option for us,” said Don Garber, MLS Commissioner.

We continue to expand our actions in support of racial justice as a league. Economic justice must be a part of the equation in order to have a true impact. This deal with a group of community-focused Black banks is a significant step forward, and we hope that it will raise awareness of the importance of Black-owned banks and their economic impact.

According to the Federal Reserve, the economic disparity between black and white Americans has remained practically unchanged in the United States since the Civil Rights Movement. Racialized credit access has historically impeded Black families’ efforts to break the cycle of poverty by accumulating intergenerational wealth, primarily through homeownership and small business entrepreneurship. Lenders turned down Black mortgage applications at an 84 percent greater rate than white borrowers in 2020.

National Black Bank Foundation

Transacting large deals with Black banks, as MLS has done, is one of many steps toward closing the racial wealth disparity in America. These collaborations help Black banks diversify their portfolio risk and increase their capital capacity, allowing them to originate and extend credit and other wealth-building services to Black borrowers.

In 2019, about half of all Black households in the United States were unbanked or underbanked, compared to only 15% of white families. Due to a lack of access to basic financial services, Black households have been forced to rely on expensive alternatives such as check cashing, payday loans, money orders, and prepaid credit cards. According to the Brookings Institute, these costs can add up to $40,000 over the course of a person’s financial life.

The National Black Bank Foundation, 100 Black Men of America, Inc., National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and Black Players for Change will collaborate with MLS to educate its constituents and members on economic empowerment initiatives as part of this relationship.

To bring this historic relationship to fruition, MLS and the National Black Bank Foundation collaborated with leaders from across the league, including club ownership, current and former MLS players, and league officials.

Concerning Black Change Players

Black Players for Change (BPC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group comprised of over 170 Black players, coaches, and staff from Major League Soccer (MLS) that are fighting to close the racial equality gap in society. BPC is dedicated to addressing the racial injustices that have prevented Black people from participating equally in soccer and society. Among its many objectives, the organization aspires to shift attention away from protests and toward programs, partnerships, and policies that address structural prejudice.

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women is a non-profit organization founded by 100 black women from throughout the country

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. (NCBW) is a 40-year-old advocacy group whose aim is to empower Black women and girls through increased educational possibilities, political strength, entrepreneurial prospects, financial awareness, and civic responsibility. As they look ahead to a brighter future, every one of our members recognizes the need of fostering young Black women. With 62 chapters across the country, we are standing strong and ready to make a difference in the lives of Black Women and Girls. NCBW provides leadership and direction to help Black women succeed in their chosen fields and/or improve their living standards.

100 Black Men of America, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded by 100 African-American men

In 1963, the organization One Hundred Black Men was created in New York City. 100 Black Men of America, Inc. was founded in 1986 with nine chapters as a nationwide alliance of top African American men in the industry, public affairs, and government with a mission to improve the quality of life for African Americans, particularly African American adolescents. Businessmen and industry leaders like David Dinkins, Robert Mangum, Dr. William H. Hayling, Nathaniel Goldston III, Livingston Wingate Andrew Hatcher, and Jackie Robinson were among the visionaries. Since its start, the goal has grown to over 10,000 members, with an annual effect of over 125,000 underserved and underrepresented minority students.

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