Philanthropy & Nonprofits
Entrepreneurship Center awarded $500,000 to support Inland Empire BIPOC small business owners and entrepreneurs
The Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at California State University, San Bernardino has been awarded $500,000 in unrestricted funding from the Citi Foundation to reach and serve more local Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The Citi Foundation issued a $25 Million Small Business Technical Assistance RFP earlier this year and awarded 50 organizations nationwide with funding to support continued work in providing technical assistance to BIPOC-led small businesses that have been disproportionately affected by the unprecedented health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“BIPOC small businesses and entrepreneurs are vital to our local economy, and they have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mike Stull, director of the IECE. “Prior to the pandemic, the number of new Black-owned businesses and new Hispanic-owned businesses were growing at a more rapid pace than the overall business growth rate. New and early-stage businesses face numerous challenges and the pandemic has compounded those challenges. The timing of the Citi Foundation award comes as a critical time as the economy is opening up, and businesses are rebuilding and responding to new market opportunities.”
The IECE, housed in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, delivers innovative programs and educational resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners through a broad range of community and campus programs. As the leading entrepreneurial support organization in the Inland Empire, the IECE is also one of the largest University-based Entrepreneurship Centers in the world and has been recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) as a top 35 program for fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.
“This recent award from the Citi Foundation is a testament to the importance of BIPOC businesses to economic growth in the region, the strong reputation IECE has built as effective stewards of funds and the significant impact both will have on the surrounding communities,” said Shanthi Srinivas, interim dean of the Jack H. Brown College.
“Innovative organizations like IECE are providing pivotal support to small businesses as they navigate an ever-changing economic landscape,” said Brandee McHale, head of Citi Community Investing and Development and president of the Citi Foundation. “The Citi Foundation is proud to be supporting IECE and other change agents with the unrestricted, flexible funding they need to deliver specialized support to more minority-owned small businesses in their communities .”
IECE operates the Small Business Development Center, the Women’s Business Centers and California State Trade Expansion Programs in the Inland Empire region, which operate from full-time offices in Colton, Ontario, Palm Desert, Riverside and 10 part-time offices throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The programs have a long history of delivering free business counseling, mentoring and training to existing and aspiring small business owners and entrepreneurs. Collectively, the programs have provided support to over 10,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs in 2020.
Philanthropy & Nonprofits
The OTIS Academy Launches in Zambia, Africa
In March of 2023, Eddy Sumar of ERS Consulting Services, in conjunction with the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC), traveled to Zambia, Africa, to bring the OTIS Academy, the Power Project/The Power of the Dream, and the value of Financial Freedom to the youth of Zambia.
On Tuesday, March 14, he met with CEO Chansa Mwila of the American Chamber of Commerce in Zambia (AmCham), where he presented her with an honorary membership to the IERCC. He also presented certificates of membership to Mr. Derby Chipwande and Mr. Edwin Mukwamba, Partners for the OTIS Academy in Zambia. All were very excited to be a part of IERCC and the OTIS Academy Project in Zambia. On the next day, Wednesday, Mr. Sumar and Mr. Mukwamba visited two schools, The Multisensory International School and Litewu School, where they demonstrated what the OTIS Academy can do for their students. They were very excited and impressed by the depth and quality of the programs offered.
The next few days Mr. Sumar took a side trip with his wife and Mr. Chipandwe and Mr. Mukwamba and his wife to Livingston, where they witnessed the Mighty Victoria Falls at the strongest it had been in decades. Next to the Falls is the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, where they encountered Cape and Forest Buffalo, Vervet Monkeys, Impalas, Baboons, Zebras, and the endangered White Rhino. They also crossed the border into Botswana, where warthogs and mongooses wandered among the human population.
Back from that little side trip, Mr. Sumar and Mr. Mukwamba visited two more schools on Monday, March 20. The first was Quickstep School Limited, the second Rockview University. Again, the reception to the program was very positive. So with this trip, one can say: the IERCC has gone global, the OTIS Academy has gone international, and both have arrived in Zambia!
People On The Move
Children’s Fund Appoints New President & CEO
Veteran Non-Profit Leader, Cesar Navarrete, to Guide Organization Helping Children
Kristin Pierce, Chair of Children’s Fund Board, a San Bernardino County nonprofit, has announced the appointment of Cesar Navarrete as the new president and CEO of that organization.
For the last eight years, Navarrete has served as Executive Director of Child Advocates for San Bernardino County, a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program. Over that period, he doubled the capacity of that organization to improve the lives of children and youth in foster and juvenile care. Child Advocates, under his leadership, was awarded the prestigious Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Award in 2020.
For eight years previous, he served the Family Service Association, a Riverside County nonprofit. Fresh out of college, he started as a program coordinator at the Mead Valley Community Center, rising through the organization to Director of Programs Administration.
Navarrete is a Moreno Valley resident. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a Master’s of Public Administration from Cal State University, San Bernardino. He is a member of the public administration adjunct faculty there, teaching a course on Nonprofit Management and Leadership. He is also a member of the School of Public Administration Advisory Board.
He serves with several organizations throughout the county, including the San Bernardino County Children’s Policy Council and the San Bernardino County Foster Care Advisory Council. Children’s Fund and CASA have a history of supporting each other in their mutual goal of helping foster youth.
“Cesar impressed the search committee with his abilities as a visionary builder and his compassion for children and families,” said Board Chair Pierce. “He is the ideal person to lead us into a new era of service to the San Bernardino County.”
Navarrete was drawn to Children’s Fund because of its breadth of programs helping children. “Children’s Fund is a pillar in the community that works tirelessly to provide the help and support that our children, youth, and families need, not only to meet their basic needs, but to inspire hope, by breaking down barriers and creating new opportunities,” Navarrete said.
Navarrete replaces Ciriaco “Cid” Pinedo, EDD, the new CEO of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation.
People On The Move
16-Year-Old Aspiring Orthopedic Surgeon Launches New Non-Profit Aimed at Helping Veterans
Thundar, Lighting, and Peace: The New Nonprofit That Helps Veterans Find Their Purpose
By Rachel Silverman — Freelance Writer for IEBJ
“I met this veteran. He served two tours in Afghanistan and after he came back he had PTSD. He had trauma. And every year for the past 6 years a member of his squad has committed suicide. The VA was filling them with meds and money. And not giving them a purpose.” -Samantha Haylee Moreno — Founder of Thundar, Lightning and Peace
Stories like this are foundational to Thundar, Lightning, and Peace (TLP), a 501(c)3 started by Etiwanda High School Junior, Samatha Haylee Moreno. TLP will support and provide resources and find a purpose for veterans fighting PTSD, depression, and suicide.
“I want to be the resource girl. If a veteran is an amputee and they’ve been fighting with the VA for a wheelchair or a cane, I’ll get it for them.” Young and passionate, the energy radiated off of Samantha when sitting down to talk to her about her nonprofit.
Coming from a military family, she has had first-hand experience and interaction with veterans. Her mother was in the Army for 9 years, leaving home at 17 and juggling her service while having a child and going to college.
Samantha is following in her mother’s trail of hard work. As an aspiring Orthopedic Surgeon with a 4.57 GPA and a participant in multiple school sports and clubs, it’s a wonder where she’s finding the time and energy to start a nonprofit.
Thundar, Lightning, and Peace is not a mere glory project. Samantha has her sights on Oxford and Harvard and eventually medical school. And the final goal? Orthopedic surgery either under the VA or as a field surgeon. Sam wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and serve her country.
In the meantime, TLP is her way of making a difference. She’s working under the guidance of Justin Bond, a veteran amputee who founded Our Heroes Dreams, a nonprofit that offers programs and services to fund veteran’s passion projects. Our Heroes Dreams offers veterans multiple programs through recreational activities and community outreach that give them something to be passionate about. This is the core of what Samantha wants to provide: the ability and access for veterans to find and pursue their passion.
“In the end, we know that pills will only do so much. When someone finds their passion, they realize they can be happy again, and that’s what I want to do. I want to be the source for veterans to understand; you’re not alone. You’re not the only one suffering from trauma. We’re not gonna fill you with pills and shove you out of the way. We’re going to find you a purpose and a passion, so you don’t feel alone.”
Once Thundar, Lightning, and Peace’s 501(c)3 status are officially approved, Samantha will begin fundraising to start camps, therapies, and other programs aimed at helping veterans find a purpose. She plans to have the operation fully functional in the next six months.
“I already have veteran contacts and a list of things they need.” She’s making plans for a silent auction, and the GoFundMe page for Thundar, Lightning, and Peace is up and open to donations. If you would like to contribute, you can find the link here:
If you would like to follow TLP on social media to stay up to date on fundraisers and silent auctions:
Instagram : @tlightning.peace
Facebook : tlightning.peace http://facebook.com/tlightning.peace
To contact TLP: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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