Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta is urging companies, including financial, construction and engineering firms, to begin investing in highway, airport and transit projects to help keep pace with the demands of a rapidly growing economy. Outlining a new national congestion-relief initiative, National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America’s Transportation Network, Mineta warned that congestion was costing America $200 billion a year, that traffic jams alone waste 2.3 billion gallons of gasoline and 3.7 billion hours each year, and that airline delays were robbing the economy of $9.7 billion annually.
More than 73 million Americans, one-third of the adult population, now have diabetes or may be on their way to getting it, according to a study published in the June issue of Diabetes Care. The study found that minorities continue to suffer disproportionately, with prevalence rates nearly twice as high for African-Americans and Mexican Americans as Caucasians. A separate study by the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes lower their LDL cholesterol to below 100 mg/dl because of their increased risk for heart disease and stroke. A third study reports that teenagers with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop early symptoms of heart and kidney disease than teens who have type 1 diabetes.
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Dance Theatre of Harlem said it received a $1 million general support grant from the Ford Foundation. The grant will fund the DTH School and Dancing Through Barriers, its education and community outreach program. Over the next four years, the DTH School will develop and implement a strategic recruitment plan, augment its curriculum to offer more robust training and artistic experiences, including guest faculty and choreographers for its students. The school also will formulate a comprehensive K–12 curriculum for use in rendering its education activities and residencies in New York City and around the world.
A workshop organized by Tech-Mission, a supporter of Christian community computer centers worldwide, and the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston addresses concerns surrounding Internet pornography companies that are targeting the Black community by hijacking the names of Black leaders to use for the domain names of pornography Web sites. According to the two groups, an Internet pornography company known as Club Pink now owns MartinLutherKing.com and JesseJackson.com. Tech-Mission’s Safe Families Web site, www.safefamilies.org, provides free software to protect children by blocking objectionable material online.
In the Conference Board report titled “Philanthropy and Business: The Changing Agenda,” 42 percent of survey participants said diversity will be more important in 2006, while 31 percent listed alumni giving as becoming less important. Among giving decisions related to diversity, 22 percent of companies surveyed listed Latino organizations as being more important to their giving programs this year, while 17 percent cite African-American organizations as being more important. Nearly half of the survey participants also cited aligning the giving program with business objectives and corporate reputation/branding as the biggest change in their function during the last five years.
Oxford University Press unveiled the Oxford African American Studies Center (http://www.oxfordaasc.com), calling it a “milestone” in African-American studies and online publishing. Fully documenting the African-American experience, it incorporates more than 30 volumes of reference sets from Oxford into a single online resource. The Center provides students, scholars and librarians with instant, cross-referenced access to the most comprehensive reference works in the field of African-American studies.
Magic Johnson Enterprises, in partnership with CruiseShipCenters, GOGO Worldwide Vacations and Royal Caribbean International, launched Magic Johnson Travel Group (Magic-JohnsonTG), a multicultural home-based travel agent initiative and franchise network targeting African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American franchisees and customers. Minority travel has grown at a quicker rate than overall U.S. travel volume, with a 4 percent increase among African-Americans, 10 percent among Asian Americans and 20 percent among Hispanics. Headquartered in Miami, MagicJohnsonTG features home-based franchises consisting of a comprehensive “business in a box,” an integrated agent desktop comprised of a customizable agent-level Web site, contact-management database and e-marketing suite.
DaimlerChrysler AG launched a bond offering co-managed exclusively by minority-owned investment banks. The $250 million medium-term note offering, due May 2009, is being led by two African-American-owned firms: Chicago-based Loop Capital Markets LLC and New York–based The Williams Capital Group LP. The issuance is part of the company’s routine financing. In addition to the two lead managers, the syndicate is comprised of six minority co-managers representing African-American, Hispanic and female-owned investment banks.
Global consultant Frost & Sullivan (www.frost.com) says significant business opportunities are available in the North American fine chemicals market, particularly in pharmaceutical intermediates, active pharmaceutical ingredients, contract biopharmaceuticals and agrochemical intermediates. The firm says the biopharmaceutical market is attracting increased venture capital funding as a result of which the contract biopharmaceuticals industry is poised for excellent growth. The pharmaceutical intermediates business is undervalued, making this the perfect time for participants to enter the market, while an influx of R&D spending will lead to a turnaround in the agrochemical industry, the firm says.
Tata Motors Ltd., India’s largest automobile manufacturer, said it plans to manufacture a family car that will cost little more than $2,000. A plant will be set up in West Bengal state with an investment of $220 million and is expected to start production in two years. A prototype of the five-seater model is currently undergoing tests. Tata said it aims to keep the car’s price below $2,200, making it the cheapest car on the Indian road. It wasn’t clear if the company planned to sell the car in overseas markets as well. Currently, Maruti Udyog Ltd., in which Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. holds a controlling stake, makes a compact hatchback that is India’s cheapest car; it sells for about $5,000.