PHILADELPHIA - During President Barack Obama’s January State of the Union Address, he challenged Americans to “do big things.” OIC of America, Inc. (OICA) is taking big action. For generations, African American unemployment and underemployment have been at least double that of white Americans. While there have been gains in education, the wealth gap between African Americans and other groups has not closed.
Given the proven correlation between self-employment and wealth creation, OICA, in a groundbreaking move, announced today that it is launching a focused initiative designed to encourage more African Americans to think like and become entrepreneurs. The organization expects to reach over one million people in the years to come.
The Entrepreneurial Mindset Initiative will be funded perpetually by an endowment, raised in two parts. The first $10 million will come from the community nationwide through “OIC-10,” a funding initiative designed to turn 1 million, one time, ten-dollar contributions into a $10 million endowment. The remaining $90 million will come through “challenge grants” from foundations and interested individuals.
The endowment will fund grassroots programs that encourage, train and support individuals in their quest to become successful business owners. OIC of America has trained over two million people nationwide since its origin. OICA’s visionary founder, the late Reverend Leon H. Sullivan, was a force in African American entrepreneurship and self help when, in 1968, he started Progress Plaza. The North Philadelphia shopping center was the first black owned enterprise of its kind in America. Philadelphia citizens, who invested in Reverend Sullivan’s 10/36 Plan, funded the project. The plan involved thousands of individuals and families contributing small sums of money to accomplish a goal.
In keeping with 21st century technological advances, OIC of America also introduced a mobile giving option for OIC-10. Cell phone users can make their donation by texting the keyword “OIC” to “41010” from their mobile phone. This convenient option allows a wider audience to make their $10 donation and support the Entrepreneurial Mindset Initiative.
In addition to announcing the Entrepreneurial Mindset Initiative, OIC of America also announced that it has appointed business executive and entrepreneur Stanley H. Greene as National Director-Entrepreneurial Mindset Initiative. He will oversee both the fund raising initiative and the implementation of the training initiative. “I am excited to take on this important initiative,” said Greene. “I have been involved in many projects over the years, and this is the most challenging and potentially rewarding for communities nationwide,” he added.
“Consistent with our history, OIC of America will not wait for someone to wave a magic wand and eliminate the economic disparities for African Americans. It has not happened in the past and will not happen in the future,” said OIC of America Chairman, Art Taylor. “We are happy to have Stanley Greene on board as we make a big and bold move to help people make it in this economy.”
President and CEO, Howard Sullivan added, “The foundation for economic success for African Americans was built close to 50 years ago. It is especially gratifying to me that we are launching this initiative today and using the simple but powerful principles my father put in place to help move African Americans forward.”
Founded in 1964 by the late Reverend Dr. Leon Howard Sullivan, OIC of America, Inc. (OICA) is a national non-profit network of employment and training programs bound together by a common commitment, to help the disadvantaged realize their true potential. With forty-four (44) affiliated programs in twenty-two (22) states and the District of Columbia, OIC has grown into a movement, which has served over two (2) million disadvantaged and under-skilled people.
A philosophy of “self-help” and the system of developing the “whole person” enables individuals to become self-sufficient, productive workers. OICA prepares people for today’s workforce with quality life skills development, fundamental education, job skills training, and employment readiness.