Black Economic Alliance Announces Inaugural Advisory Board
The Black Economic Alliance -- a new organization focused on uplifting economic opportunities for African Americans through political action -- on Wednesday unveiled its inaugural Advisory Board. We reported earlier this month that the new members included former RNC Chairman Michael Steele; Ron Kirk, the former U.S. Trade Representative under President Barack Obama; former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm; and Bakari Sellers, a former state representative in South Carolina and CNN commentator. Joining the 22-member Board is Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Heather McGhee, former President of progressive think tank Demos; Spencer Overton, policy expert and President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; Richard Parsons, newly appointed Interim Board Chair of CBS; Morgan DeBaun, CEO of Blavity; Steve Schmidt, Republican communications and public affairs strategist; William Cohen, Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton; Robert E. Rubin, Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton; Carol Sutton Lewis, attorney and Founder, Ground Control Parenting; Robert Raben, Democratic strategist and an Angel investor in The Beat DC; Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Global Wealth Management for Morgan Stanley; Caretha Coleman, former Chairman of the Board of Dignity Health; Ed Lewis, Co-Founder of Essence Magazine; Chris Lyons, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur; Sheila Marcelo, Founder, Chairwoman and CEO of Care.com; Troy Carter, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Atom Factory; Kneeland Youngblood, Co-Founder of the private equity firm Pharos Capital Group, LLC; Bennie Wiley, President of the WIley Group. Executive Director Akunna Cook says the nonpartisan group will back candidates in competitive races, where there’s at least a 10% African American population. Mellody Hobson, the President of Chicago-based investment firm Ariel Investments, donated $250,000 to the group in June. The Black Economic Alliance is the first African American collective committed to promoting the Black community’s economic needs. It began with a meeting held last summer, where Black executives began brainstorming how to jointly organize a political action committee. “As we moved into 2017, we recognized that the stakes were very high in terms of the economic opportunities for all Americans,” said Co-Chairman Tony Coles. “We began asking, ‘What can we do?’ And we realized in that discussion that there was great power in the collective.” More about the group here.