A Columbia University initiative expands purchasing from local businesses to include temporary staffing services and maintenance supplies. Of the nearly $73 million the university spent within New York City limits last year for non-construction goods and services, more than $16 million was spent within the New York Empowerment Zone, the 17 zip codes covering Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood. Participating firms must be certified as minority- or female-owned businesses, hold the necessary insurance coverage and have the administrative and financial capacity. The initiative also provides advice on certification procedures, training and mentoring in an effort to build long-term successful relationships with the vendors.
MBAs for Entrepreneurship
Arguing that entrepreneurship prepares African-Americans for economic hard times in a way that doesn’t place individuals, families and the overall community on “indefinite life support,” the National Black MBA Association will explore the notion of striking out on one’s own at the inaugural session of its Entrepreneurship Institute in September, during its 30th annual conference in Washington, D.C. Black median income had risen to a historically high ratio of 63.5 percent of white income in 2000 and was on track to reach 63.9 percent by 2004, but the recession of 2001 and sluggish job growth caused the Black-white income ratio to fall back to 62 percent in 2004, according to Washington, D.C., think tank the Economic Policy Institute.
The International Franchise Associ-ation Educational Foundation and PepsiCo Foundation established a fund to provide financial grants for business development, education, training and technical assistance of up to $10,000 to veterans who acquired a franchise through the association’s VetFran program. Candidates must have received an honorable discharge from any branch of the U.S. military or Coast Guard and must have a signed franchise agreement and at least one unit in operation, or a letter from the franchise system confirming the store-opening schedule. Among other requirements, they must submit a current résumé, copy of military discharge certificate, name of franchisor, name and location of franchise business, and a 500-word essay describing the need for the grant and the purpose for which funds will be used.
The National Black Chamber of Commerce and the National 8(a) Association signed a strategic alliance agreement to match chamber members with Alaska Native corporations in order to better exploit federal contracts, private corporation opportunities and foreign trade. Chamber members and Alaska Native corporations will meet at a formal matchmaking event during the chamber’s 16th annual convention, July 23 – 26, in New Orleans. For more information, contact Kay DeBow at kdebow@national bcc.org or go to the NBCC Web site at www.nationalbcc.org.
Harlem Arts Center
Artist LeRoy Neiman donated $1 million to Arts Horizons to create the Arts Horizons LeRoy Neiman Center in Harlem, New York City. Arts Horizons has helped more than seven million children enjoy arts programs in schools around the tristate area.
The Harlem center will provide programming for all ages, including after-school classes in visual-arts disciplines such as painting, computer animation and photography for elementary and high-school students, arts instruction for senior citizens, workshops for public-school personnel, and special events for schools and other organizations. It also will function as an exhibition space for works by participants and established artists.
The Arizona House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to a routine homeland-security bill that would prohibit students at the state’s public universities and community colleges from organizing groups based on race. The amendment would also allow state officials to withhold funds from public schools sponsoring activities that “denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization.” The proposal was added to Senate Bill 1108, a measure intended to allow designees of mayors and police chiefs to serve on homeland-security advisory councils. It awaits a vote by the state’s full House and Senate.
PricewaterhouseCoopers launched Impact, a community initiative to help academically talented African-American high-school juniors navigate the college planning and admissions process through monthly workshops, professional mentors and access to tools and strategies that broaden their education and career choices. Impact scholars have at least a 3.2 grade point average, strong standardized test scores and demonstrated leadership skills. Each scholar is assigned a mentor — a PricewaterhouseCoopers professional.
Heart Treatment Gender Gap
Women receive significantly different medical treatment for coronary and cardiovascular disease than do men, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Michigan Heart Center. The study of data on more than 25,000 men and women in 14 nations found that even when diagnosed with the same level of heart disease, women were significantly less likely than men to be prescribed beta-blockers, statins and ACE inhibitors, all considered crucial to preventing further heart episodes. Women were less likely to receive an angioplasty or a stent to open their blood vessels; six months after a heart attack or angina attack, women with more advanced coronary artery disease were more likely than men to have died; six months following a heart attack or angina attack, women were more likely to have suffered another heart attack, a stroke or a problem resulting in a hospital visit.
Breast Cancer Prevention
Females between the ages of 12 and 35 who exercise regularly lower their risk of acquiring breast cancer before menopause by 23 percent, according to a study by researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard University in Boston. The analysis of data gathered from nearly 65,000 women showed that regular physical activity between the ages of 12 and 22 contributed most strongly to reducing the risk of breast cancer for pre-menopausal women. The level of exercise reported by the most active women in the study was equal to an average of running 3.25 hours a week or walking 13 hours a week. The exercise was not limited to running or walking, but was a total of all activity.
A Medco Health Solutions Inc. analysis shows that 51 percent of U.S. citizens covered by medical benefits are taking prescription medicines for chronic health problems. The most commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals are those used to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. From 2002 through 2006, 50 percent of Americans were taking one or more prescription drugs. In 2001, the number was 47 percent. Pharmaceutical use for chronic problems was seen in all age and gender groups: Almost two-thirds of all women older than 20; one in four children and teens; 52 percent of adult men; 75 percent of all people older than 65; 22 percent of senior men take five or more drugs per day; and 28 percent of senior women take five or more drugs per day.
GLOBAL NEWS - Caribbean Price Blues
Multiple delays in the shipping of food products to Caribbean or Central American countries is adding to the food price inflation across the region. The World Bank’s logistics performance index shows customs clearances are particularly poor in the Caribbean, typically taking three to five days. Exacerbated by port labor strikes, this is to be blamed for recent food shortages in Haiti. The World Bank estimates that the region’s logistics costs are 16 percent to 26 percent of GDP and 18 percent to 32 percent of product value, compared with about nine percent of GDP and product value for more developed regions. For processed foods originating in Central America, domestic logistics burdens add 8 to 15 percent to the cost of unitized, higher value food products.