Standard & Strange X RUNWAY
Starting in 2020, we began a program to donate 2% of our revenue to social equity and other charitable causes throughout the year, on a monthly basis. Over the course of 2020 we were able to donate nearly $100,000 - which is broken out on our Giving page.
However, we wanted to find a way to have an even greater impact. The requirements that we defined were simple: the money had to go to benefit BIPOC-owned businesses, and it had to be tied to entrepreneurship.
The first requirement is to fill a historic gap in start-up funding for Black business (“Believe in you” money). For us, getting that “believe in you money” was not difficult. As we built our business, we never faced racial discrimination or were affected by systemic inequities. We had (limited) wealth to tap of our own, the ability to get well-compensated part-time and contract jobs when needed, and eventually, the credibility to get bank loans easily.
This passage really defines a key issue when it comes to the amount of capital available to new entrepreneurs:
“The problem, retold in numbers: The average cost to start a business from scratch is $30,000, and many people look to those who are closest to them for help. The median net worth of white households in the U.S. is $141,900. Black households have a median net worth of $11,000. Those are two very different pools of cash to tap.” (source)
The second requirement is driven by the idea that entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to build generational wealth, something the Black community is often locked out of for any number of reasons.
Rather than try to administer a grant or investment program ourselves, we decided to find an organization that already had the capability to do this well. We also wanted the organization to have the capacity to do mentoring and coaching to go along with investments, something we simply do not have time to do well.
After an extensive search and vetting process, we landed on RUNWAY as our partner.
Founded in 2016 by Jessica Norwood, RUNWAY is a financial innovation firm where restorative capital meets community. Led exclusively by Black and Brown women, RUNWAY’s approach to building Black wealth is centered on “the four R’s” of Re-Imagination, Resilience, Restoration and Repair which is achieved through early-stage funding, holistic business support, innovative financial products and partnerships.
Inspired by RUNWAY’s singular mission to bridge the racial wealth gap, we will donate 1% of our revenue to RUNWAY every year, contributing to the growth and sustainability of Black entrepreneurs and their communities nationwide.
This 1% of our revenue represents half of our giving commitment - the other 1% of our revenue will continue to be donated on a monthly basis.
If you want to help the mission of RUNWAY, you can also donate directly via their website; and sign up for the email list for guides to shopping the Black-owned businesses that they support.