Ray Lewis is spearheading a private public partnership to link athletes with community banks to encourage entrepreneurship.
By Adoria Doucette
American society is immensely influenced by the worlds of sports, government and finance.
Super Bowl XXXV MVP and perennial Baltimore Raven All Star Ray Lewis convened late last year at the United States Capitol with Power Source veterans B. Doyle Mitchell, President & CEO of Industrial Bank and Chairman of the National Bankers Association, and Donald Cravins Jr., Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the US Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. The private meeting established a blueprint to create a new paradigm of opportunity and successful public private partnerships through a national initiative utilizing the investment power of professional athletes to work with minority bankers to start and acquire community based businesses across America.
The partnership will harness the financial expertise of minority banks and utilize newly revitalized government small business programs to create jobs in communities and foster long term financial stability for professional athletes outside of sports.
Mr. Lewis is spearheading this initiative based on his lifelong experiences of athletes not having adequate education and access to the investment world outside of sports. This partnership will enable athletes to undergo a process of financial education in order to secure their stability rather than fall victim to the common money mistakes that plague former athletes.
By working with the National Bankers Association to link athletes with community banks, this new wave of entrepreneurial activity will be unlike any collaboration in recent memory. Recently re-elected as chairman of the association, Mr. Mitchell is tasked with guiding NBA member banks through the tumultuous environment that is today’s banking landscape, which involves creating new business models, raising capital, and providing unique services to the community that larger banks cannot offer. By joining forces with athletes and affiliated entrepreneurs in major cities across the country, minority banks will be able to leverage their strengths through providing loans to these cash rich and high profile local celebrities to operate businesses that are needed within their community.
Creating jobs and revitalizing the economy is the number one priority of government, and as Chief of Staff of the US Senate committee that oversees small business and entrepreneurship, Mr. Cravins is a vital partner in this new effort, ensuring that the participating athletes and banks have access at the highest levels to government programs designed to increase bank lending and community based small business development.
This new enterprise will launch through a series of high profile black-tie events between athletes, minority bankers, and government officials fostering a series of networking and dialogue which will provide these new relationships with the support and momentum vital to such a large scale enterprise. Initially starting with athletes, the program will expand to the world of entertainment, providing further support for projects that have merit but lack capital. From a cultural perspective, professional athletes and minority bankers represent the upper echelon of success within many minority communities across America, and by these two segments of society coming together to focus on creating new jobs and new businesses, the ripple effects across our society will be significant. Small businesses will be empowered by this new level of activity, providing many the well deserved opportunity to showcase their merits. There will also be a scholarship and community development fund associated to the endeavor, allowing individuals within these target communities a second chance at reaching their goals.
Power Source commends Mr. Lewis, Mr. Mitchell, and Mr. Cravins for coming together to have a positive impact on America’s economy, and Power Source readers will be kept informed of the progress of this once in a lifetime partnership.