Black Innovation Fund

We, Bella Barnes, Jessica Barrios, Lord Crawford, Maxwell Johnson, Maya Joudi, Justin Saintil, and Tyrese Thomas, are an independent group of Columbia University students committed to making entrepreneurship more equitable and inclusive. 

We condemn the racial injustices, murder, and discrimination affecting our Black communities throughout America, particularly the wrongful deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and many more. We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families, friends, and others who have lost loved ones due to police brutality and senseless acts of violence. These deaths are plainly unjust. We reaffirm our dedication to uplift, amplify, and empower the Black community. 

Historically, Entrepreneurship has neglected, exploited, and profited from the extraordinary gifts of Black culture, imagination, and innovation. As West Harlem neighbors, we are committed to investing in the holistic wellbeing of Black entrepreneurs– advocating for personal safety and quality of life, supporting intellectual growth, and promoting economic and career advancement. 
Today, we encourage you to join us in supporting three organizations whose work encapsulates these values:

Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund (HEF): Serves low-income populations of color by providing lending capital and technical assistance to facilitate small business expansion and job creation in underserved Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and Bronx communities.

Harlem Educational Activities Fund  (HEAF): Committed to changing the lives of underserved young people through middle school, college, and beyond via a youth development approach that includes rigorous, year-round academic enrichment, social and cultural exposure, and constant individual attention. 

Campaign Zero : Seeks to end police violence nationwide by supporting the analysis of policing practices across the country, researching to identify effective solutions to end police violence, providing technical assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns, and developing model legislation and advocacy.

To quote the brilliant South-African leader, Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Please join us in supporting Black innovation by donating to our fund— any contribution counts! We will be evenly distributing the funds raised across these three extraordinary organizations.


Justin Saintil
Bedminster Township, NJ

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