Caress commits $1M to support communities impacted by COVID-19, systemic racism

The COVID-19 pandemic has increasingly made aware the ongoing economic, health and social inequities that communities of color have and continue to face.

Caress, a Unilever beauty brand that aims to empower and uplift women, announced in partnership with IFundWomen of Color a $1 million investment over two years to support women of color entrepreneurs. IFWOC is a platform for diverse entrepreneurs to raise capital through crowdfunding, grants and coaching.

“Caress and IFundWomen of Color have a shared belief that every good idea should have the ability to thrive.  We’re committed to fighting systems of inequity deeply rooted in our society to ensure these entrepreneurs are set up for long term success,” Esi Eggleston Bracey, executive vice president and chief operating officer, North American Beauty and Personal Care, Unilever, said. “It’s important that we not only support ideas, but also recognize and work to dismantle the systems that have disenfranchised communities of color, especially the Black community, for too long.”

The partnership will begin with a $500,000 relief donation to 200 women of color entrepreneurs already part of IFWOC to get the support they need to stay open, reopen and ensure long-term success.

Of the 1,800 new businesses launched by women in the United States every day, 89% are founded by a woman of color, but only 1% receive venture capital.

“Caress and IFundWomen of Color have partnered to support our growing community of diverse women entrepreneurs as they navigate building their businesses and bringing their visions to life,” Olivia Owens, general manager, IFundWomen of Color, said. “So many in our community of business owners are feeling at risk given the massive impact of systemic racial injustice and disproportionate impact COVID- 19 has had on communities of color. Access to capital and expert coaching are critical to helping them adapt, pivot, and thrive for long-term success.

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