Today, AEO (Association for Enterprise Opportunity) is closed to observe Juneteenth, a celebration of independence for all. Despite the emancipation proclamation in 1863, it was June 19, 1865, when General Gordon announced the freedom of slaves in Texas.

Just like the delayed announcement of freedom in Galveston, Texas, economic opportunities have often been delayed for black and brown entrepreneurs. That’s the very reason AEO exists—to champion the underserved.

While we may not be in our physical offices, our work continues. We are committed to honoring the true meaning of this day as we have done for 30 years.

It’s our work with partners like AdobeGoDaddyDeloitte, and Guidehouse that quickly mobilized resources to help underserved businesses through the pandemic. It’s through partnerships like these that AEO has been able to facilitate over $300 million in grant awards during the pandemic.

It’s fitting that today, with our partners at Fiserv, a new grant cycle is opening in Texas and Oklahoma to award $10,000 grants to ensure black and brown entrepreneurs can get #Back2Business. Share this link and help us get them needed funds:

These resilient businesses need real-time action. That’s why we’re proud to work with PayPal, who committed $535 million to racial equity and has already invested $500 million of that commitment that helps realize promises of racial equity in America.

It’s partnerships like this that truly honor the meaning of Juneteenth. That’s why I encourage you to look at today as much more than another day off.

Connie Evans, President & CEO