Municipality's entrepreneur fund takes a race-based approach to investing in businesses, but for how much longer? - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, October 16, 2021
HomeThe 907Municipality’s entrepreneur fund takes a race-based approach to investing in businesses, but for how much longer?

Municipality’s entrepreneur fund takes a race-based approach to investing in businesses, but for how much longer?

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The 49th State Angel Fund, a function of the Anchorage Mayor’s Office, late last year launched a fund for Alaska businesses in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it has carved out half of the fund to dedicate it to people of color.

“The 49SAF Co-investment Fund is a dollar-for-dollar fund: 49SAF will match new cash equity (or equity-like) investment into any Alaska company up to $25,000, near-automatically. Recognizing the lack of racial diversity in our portfolio, 49SAF has carved out half of this effort’s total capital to create the Building Equity Co-investment Fund to prioritize applications from businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (‘BIPOC’),” the fund’s website states.

But the race preference being managed by local government puts the municipality at risk for a lawsuit. A federal district Judge in Texas this week found that the Biden administration engaged in systemic gender and race discrimination when it distributed Covid-19 relief for American restaurants — and not just Texas restaurants.

The case was brought by restaurant owner Philip Greer, who sued the Small Business Administration because, even though he is caucasian, he needs the same federal rescue assistance as a minority restaurant owner would under the American Rescue Plan Act. Undoubtably, this case will be sent to the Supreme Court.

Another lawsuit was filed over the $29 billion portion of the American Rescue Plan Act fund, when a Tennessee restaurant owner made similar claims to the Texas restaurant owner in a case still pending.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a $28.6 billion program authorized by the ARPA, requires the SBA to give priority preference to restaurants owned by specific minorities and women, while bumping white males and other minorities to the back of the line.

The Restaurant Revitalization Program defines “socially disadvantaged” as people “subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities.” The list includes Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, including Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians; Asian Pacific Americans; and Subcontinent Asian Americans.

Restaurant owner Antonio Vitolo, who is the plaintiff, said, “I do not want special treatment. I just want to be treated equally under the law. I am opposed to race and sex discrimination, and I would hope my government lived up to the same principle.”

While the 49th State Angel Fund has not yet been sued for similarly discriminating against non-minority applicants, it is certainly vulnerable. Anyone who applied for funding from the city-managed fund and didn’t receive it might have a case, if they are caucasian. In this case, it would land as a lawsuit against the incoming mayor, even if the prior management of the fund was not a concept he supported.

The management team of the fund will likely be part of the changing administration under Mayor-elect Dave Bronson. The fund, created under the administration of Mayor Dan Sullivan in 2012, is run by Erin Baca.

Current advisors include Bill Popp of Anchorage Economic Development Corporation; Christi Bell, University of Alaska; Kevin Croy, Nine Mile Labs; Amy Fredeen, Cook Inlet Tribal Council; Lydia Griffey, STANTEC; Melissa Moody, Google; Dan Newman, AK Premier Auctions; and Stephen Trimble, Arctic Solar Ventures, and recent candidate for House District 22 against Rep. Sara Rasmussen.

There are several seats available for appointment to the 49th State Angel Fund board of advisors, which represents a few of the hundreds of volunteer appointments that may be made by the incoming mayor:

Read: Anchorage start-up fund at Municipality now dedicated to 50 percent minority.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Everyone that applies (regardless of race) should get an equal opportunity to access this new cash equity (or equity-like) investment of up to $25,000 via a random drawing of names in a proverbial hat or non-biased manner.

  • Oh, so this is what they mean by “institutional racism.” Instead of blacks being victimized, it’s now whites who are the target of this new racism.

    How can any reasonable person not see how wrong this is to discriminate against anyone because of their skin color?

  • Incoming Mayor Dave Bronson can’t get here soon enough. This racial division has to stop.

    It’s insanity to categorize restaurants by “Color”. What is a “White” restaurant? Do they serve only mashed potatoes and green beans and Jell-o salads? Are only “Black” restaurants allowed to serve fried chicken?

    This is beyond insulting. It’s grossly offensive. Stop the racial division! If a restaurant needs help, HELP THEM. It’s not rocket science.

  • It is unconstitutional to base any government loan or grant to a business on race. That is a fact.

  • What if you’re a Native with white skin?

  • What…a potpourri…not.

  • It is constitutionally illegal to disburse government funds based on race and those laws that prohibit this mean all races.

    With that said though at what color value is one deemed a person of color given we are all persons of color …. their little inclusion list is very subjective and even ambiguous.

    It is as stupid as saying people that haven’t been vaccinated must wear masks. Seriously? Without genetic testing for each and everyone of us, the person of color really can’t be determined.

    And with that testing the fairest blond and blue eyed citizen could be more a ‘person of color’ than the guy with dark hair, dark olive skin, and brown eyes. It really reflects the absolute stupidity of the left.

  • How about half breeds? Another question, yes I’m white and caucasian, but what if I identify as black or hispanic? Would I not still qualify for this special funding? I think I would.

  • Sniff; sniff.
    .
    Yep. I can smell the racism from here.

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