Black Lives Matter: A Statement from the Cogent Team

ON April 27, 2021

Our core values of reducing and eliminating inequity, beginning with the direction of capital and financial solutions, have always driven Cogent Consulting’s work. Cogent and our partners like the Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem are founded on principles of relentless positive change using our privileged resources and networks in the financial sector for good.

Our hearts are broken with events in our home the Twin Cities and global community. While the verdict of guilty on all murder charges for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on April 20th is a positive development, racism is far from over. The Cogent team knows it is not enough to be “not racist,” but we and all white people need to be actively anti-racist. We affirm that Black Lives Matter and recommit to that value in the wake of Duante Wright, Adam Toldedo, and Ma’Khia Bryant’s deaths at the hands of police.

We are reaching out to express that our hearts are with our Black friends and colleagues. We also ask our fellow white folks to seek out opportunities to join anti-racist efforts. We have included some places to start in this post.

Listen & Learn

Allyship

Laylee Amadi of the creatives education podcast “So, Here’s the Thing” featured former Cogent Communications Associate Akua Konadu and her expertise in allyship to Black communities.

Partner

Social Strategy

Akua today empowers social media entrepreneurs with personalized strategies. Get in touch with her via her website.

Support

Initiatives

Donate capital and time to a local Community Development Financial Institution like Meda that supports BIPOC.

Support

Businesses

Order delivery and buy from local Black businesses like Junita’s Jar cookies.

Attend

Events

Support the Center For Economic Inclusion, the first organization dedicated to inclusive economic growth, and attend their events for professionals and businesses who want to take action.

Join Cogent for events that embody our mission for social impact through investment.

Build Forward Better: the 2021 Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem conference, features a dozen guests with proven social impact strategies, nearly all of who are offering their valuable experiences as BIPOC. Tickets are available now.

Our next Social Entrepreneur Roundtable is May 18. Founder Susan Hammel uses these sessions to connect with professionals new to impact investing, students, businesses, and anyone who may value the perspective of a veteran in the field – plus a chance to network with others.

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What I'm doing now

As we emerge cautiously from our pandemic caves, it’s wonderful to be out with humans again, at least a little bit. Then again Zoom is part of our workplace culture now and I’m grateful for the technology, as is our Cogent principal, Terri Barreiro, who I enjoy seeing weekly at Impact Hub MSP, which she co-founded with Katie Kalkman. Lately, I have had the good fortune to be spending time with talented Black entrepreneurs and they give me a lot of hope for our communities: people like Ian Alexander, Anisha Murphy, and Karine Blanc. You’ll note that many of the people leading this work are women and in honor of Women’s History Month, I also want to give a shout to someone I’ve admired for years: the late great Madeline Albright, the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. 

It’s got me thinking about the suspicion many in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors have regarding the for-profit sector. Skepticism and pointed questions are good but it is possible that the for-profit sector will develop sustainable, scalable solutions to our pressing challenges: racial justice, gender equality, climate change, economic opportunity for all, to name a few. My advice--look beyond someone’s tax status and focus on the work they’re doing. If you’re not sure of a for-profit entrepreneur’s motives, see if they are a Public Benefit Corporation, like Cogent and/or B-Lab certified like one of my favorites: Binary Bridge founded by Lori Most, bringing mobile health technology to places around the world.