Citigroup Foundation Gives $750,000 Grant to Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp.
The Citigroup Foundation gave a $750,000 grant to the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. for home ownership education. The grant was announced at the 2004 “Enriching Communities” gala of Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City. Neighborhood Reinvestment recently opened the NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education and Counsel-ing to standardize home ownership counseling services nationwide and provide training to housing counselors.
Minimum Wage Increases in N.Y. State
New York State’s minimum wage increased to $6.00 per hour under a law that took effect on Jan. 1. The wage will increase to $6.75 per hour as of Jan. 1, 2006, and to $7.15 per hour as of Jan. 1, 2007. Any increase in the federal minimum wage above the state’s rate will result in an increase in the State’s minimum wage. Under the law, overtime rates for most occupations must be paid after 40 hours of work in a week at 1.5 times the hourly rate of pay. For residential employees, the overtime rate applies after 44 hours.
Diabetes Is Rising as a Cause of Death in New York
Diabetes deaths in New York increased 11 percent in 2003, making it the fourth leading cause of death in the city after heart disease, cancer and pneumonia. Health Department records show that 1,891 New Yorkers died of diabetes in 2003, up from 1,704 the year before, when diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death. The incidence of diabetes has more than doubled over the past 10 years, the department said. Among New Yorkers ages 18 through 39, Hispanics are four times more likely, and Blacks are twice as likely, to have diabetes than whites and Asians.
NMBC Establishes Code of Ethics
The National Minority Business Council Inc. established a code of ethics to guide member companies in doing business with each other as well as with nonmembers. The code, comprising 11 provisions, is mandatory for all NMBC members. It covers such areas as professional standards; billing; privacy; discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or disability; information exchange; conflict of interest; and complaints.
Fast-Internet Use Doubles in U.S.; Still Low Among Minorities
The number of Americans using high-speed Internet connections
doubled from 2001 through October 2003 to 20 percent of U.S. households, but remained far behind the numbers in countries like South Korea, Taiwan and Canada, and was especially low among minority groups and people in rural areas, according to a Commerce Department report. The report, titled, “A Nation Online: Entering the Broadband Age,” said only one in seven Blacks and fewer than one in eight Hispanics lived in a household with fast Internet service, against one in four white Americans.
More Blacks Working for Themselves
Self-employment rates among minorities increased dramatically between 1979 and 2003, according to the study, “Self-Employed Business Ownership Rates in the United States: 1979–2003,” conducted by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. The study finds that incorporated and unincorporated business ownership rates rose by 37 percent for African-Americans, 33 percent for women and 17 percent for Latino Americans in the period. Self-employment among Black men rose 59.9 percent from 1984 to 2003.
Study of Black Women’s Maternal Health Under Way
University of Michigan research-ers are conducting a three-year interdisciplinary study to understand why Black women are three times more likely than white women to die during pregnancy, and why twice as many Black babies as white ones die before their first birthdays. The researchers will study at least 100 women to collect primary data, and plan to also use information from databases from a much larger population. The researchers also will investigate why white women are more likely than Black women to seek prenatal care. Only 75 percent of Black women seek prenatal care, compared to 89 percent of white women, researchers say.
African Renaissance Festival Kicks Off
The African Renaissance: Trade, Cultural, Networking Tour and Festival (www.africanrenaissanceintl.com ) kicked off with a presentation of the festival’s agenda at a reception in New York City. The brainchild of African heads of state, the festival is aimed at creating a direct pipeline of culture and commerce between Africans on the continent and Africans in the diaspora. It is scheduled to start with an April 24-May 6 pilgrimage to South Africa, during which movie actor and human rights activist Danny Glover will be knighted as an honorary Zulu warrior. Glover and tour sponsor Arthur Smith, president and CEO of Cape Aloe Ferox Worldwide Inc., N.Y., were on hand for the kickoff.
Brokerage Fined for Predatory Loans to Black Home Buyers
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission hit Black-owned local mortgage brokerage McGlawn & McGlawn Inc. with nearly $910,000 in damages and fines for “reverse redlining”—selling loans with predatory terms to Black families. The commission said the brokerage and its former head, Reginald McGlawn, targeted Black clients in the Philadelphia area to sell them loans with unfair or undisclosed terms that included high interest rates, hidden fees and prepayment penalties. McGlawn attorney Jeffrey Homel said the McGlawn family disputes the commission’s charges. The company and McGlawn filed an appeal in Common-wealth Court.
Radio One to Acquire Tom Joyner Company
Radio One Inc., the largest radio company targeting Black listeners, agreed to acquire a majority interest in Reach Media Inc., a Dallas media company owned by popular radio personality Tom Joyner. Radio One, of Lanham, Md., will pay $56.1 million in cash and stock in a deal that will give it ownership rights to Joyner’s syndicated radio show, which reaches 8 million listeners on 115 stations, company officials said. The purchase gives Radio One control of www.BlackAmericaWeb.com, an Internet site that has about 800,000 members.
Top Black Executive at Fannie Mae Forced Out
After five years as chief executive, Franklin Raines was forced out of mortgage giant Fannie Mae as the firm struggled to deal with revelations of serious financial reporting problems. Raines, deemed one of the most influential and politically savvy figures in Washington, was the first African-American CEO of a major U.S. corporation. He burnished Fannie Mae’s reputation as a fast-growing but prudent financial innovator. Raines’ total compensation in salary and bonuses in 2003 was $20 million.
Finding Scholarships for College
Stephen Jones, author of Seven Secrets of How to Study (www.sevense  crets-books.com), offers the following advice to students and parents looking for college money: write your local college fraternity or sorority for information about their scholarships; ask the local rotary club about their scholarship application; inquire at the local legislator’s office about new scholarships offered by the state or federal government offices; ask local stores (Home Depot, CVS, supermarkets, etc.) about scholarships; ask local colleges for a free list of scholarships they offer; search online using such terms as “free money, scholarships, college financial aid, money for college, free scholarship, government grants of scholarships”; ask local religious organizations about scholarships; start a family scholarship fund that allows family members to contribute funds; ask employers about scholarships offered to children of employees; ask your company’s credit union representative about scholarships it offers to students; enter essay-writing contests for college-bound students; make a scholarship appeal on a local radio program.