From leading initiatives designed to empower disenfranchised communities to his Netflix show Trigger Warning, rapper and activist Killer Mike has been a fierce advocate for Black economic empowerment and he is furthering his efforts through the creation of a new online financial institution. According to Tech Crunch the Atlanta native—whose real name is Michael Santiago Render—has teamed up with a group of businessmen to launch a digital bank.
The Greenwood platform—whose name is derived inspired by the prosperous Tulsa, Oklahoma-based African American business district that was horrifically destroyed by white supremacists—was designed to support small Black and Latinx-owned businesses. It was developed as an avenue to align legacy businesses with the resources needed to thrive in an everchanging economy and equip new business owners with the financial tools needed to establish a solid foundation for success.
The bank also has a philanthropic element. For every sign-up, meals will be donated to grassroots nonprofit organizations fighting food insecurity and every time a customer uses their debit card, a donation will be made to the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund or Goodr. Cognizant of the financial barriers that entrepreneurs of color have faced amid the pandemic, the bank will provide a $10,000 grant to a Black or Latinx entrepreneur every month.
The bank was founded with a $3 million investment. Render and Greenwood’s other founders, Bounce TV creator Ryan Glover and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, believes that Greenwood will be instrumental in the creation of generational wealth within communities of color. “Today, a dollar circulates for 20 days in the white community but only six hours in the Black community,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “Moreover, a Black person is twice as likely as a white person to be denied a mortgage. This lack of fairness in the financial system is why we created Greenwood.”
Investopedia reported there are only 42 Black-owned financial institutions in the United States.