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Magic Johnson’s EquiTrust to Donate $100M to Support Minority-Owned Businesses

When Earvin “Magic” Johnson retired from playing professional basketball in 2000, it was already obvious that he was not the sort of man who would just retire and ride out his substantial fortune for the rest of his days. He’d already tried his hand at coaching, and at hosting a television show, and starting a record label. And he was just getting started.

Today, Johnson runs Magic Johnson Enterprises, a diverse conglomerate company with a net worth over $700 million, which dabbles in dozens of different industries. Briefly, he owned 125 Starbucks locations. At another time, a chain of movie theaters in his name. For a while, he owned part of the L.A. Lakers and a Pepsi bottling plant in Washington. And he continues to own a controlling interest in EquiTrust Life Insurance Company.

Under his direction, EquiTrust is going to donate $100 million in capital to fund federal loans for business owners who have been struck down by the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing minorities and children.

The donation, which will be distributed as forgivable loans via lender MBE Capital Partners, will be governed by the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, the small business stimulus plan meant to help small businesses keep their staff on the payroll, giving them a greater chance of weathering the crisis.

“These are incredible businesses, small businesses, that have been the pillar of our community that also employ a lot of black and brown people in our community,” Johnson said on MSNBC on Sunday, May 17. “… We wanted to make sure that minority-owned businesses got small business loans through the PPP program.”

His statement alludes to the concern that minority-owned businesses have been left out, after the PPP stimulus has run out, been renewed, and run out of funds again, with large percentages of the package being snapped up by businesses which are not by any means ‘small.’

Source: CNN

Editorial credit: EPG_EuroPhotoGraphics / Shutterstock.com

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Philanthropy and Small Business

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Just as small businesses can greatly strengthen the local economy, so too can they have a huge impact on philanthropy in the community. Size isn’t all that matters when it comes to philanthropy, and small businesses are often passed up as potential investors because they’re perceived as too small to make a difference. But when it comes down to it, small businesses can, and should, play a vital role in community service and philanthropy.

Small businesses might not be able to donate a million dollars to a cause like a larger corporation might, but philanthropy is about more than just monetary donations. Local nonprofit organizations also need volunteers, advisors, and board members. They need people to help carry out fundraisers, find other investors, and educate the public about their cause.

One small business alone may not be able to donate much, but every community has multiple small businesses, and together they can add up to quite the contribution. Businesses also have far-reaching connections and the means to get word out, and possibly products that they can donate to events and fundraisers.

And, the more small businesses get involved, the more people will start to recognize that company as one that has the community’s best interests at heart. Studies have shown that some of the most inspiring companies today are those that care about the community, are authentic, give back, and have good values—and those companies also have more loyal, enthusiastic customers that spread the good word around.