The ParentPreneur foundation is prioritizing mental health this Giving Tuesday

Why James Oliver, Jr. didn't wait to start his foundation

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On Giving Tuesday, the ParentPreneur Foundation will be raising $25,000 for their fast-growing community. The foundation focuses on helping Black entrepreneurs who are also parents so that they can create a stable life and leave a strong legacy for their children.

Though the foundation focuses on helping Black parents in a variety of ways, the money raised on Giving Tuesday will be used to provide therapy for Black parents who own their own businesses.

“When I started looking at the wealth, income inequality gap between Black folks and white folks, I was like, ‘You know what, this foundation is not just for everybody. It’s for Black people,’” said James Oliver, Jr., founder of the ParentPreneur Foundation. Oliver acknowledged that one of the barriers to success for Black parents was mental health.

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The foundation was influenced by Oliver’s experiences trying to balance his newfound fatherhood with his startup company. Oliver was accepted into a startup accelerator program two hours from his house, but things did not immediately go smoothly.

“Two days before the accelerator started, we had to deliver twins because my son was doing really poorly,” said Oliver. “They weighed two pounds each, so imagine that. The kids are in the NICU, I’m back and forth with a two-hour drive to Madison.”

Courtesy of James Oliver, Jr.

Oliver cited this experience as the reason why his foundation focuses on Black parents. Initially, Oliver wanted to wait until he sold his company before giving back to his community, but when the COVID-19 hit the U.S., he realized his time was now.

After speaking out about wanting to start the foundation, Oliver received $50,000 in seed funding from an investor he connected with and immediately launched the ParentPreneur Foundation. He began giving out money and adding value to people’s businesses.

“I think we’ve created like north of $200,000 of value in what we’ve brought to bear for the members of the community,” said Oliver.

When Oliver launched the foundation, there were about 50 members, and now he says that there are over 700. The members interact on the website and lean on each other for help and advice.

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“According to Columbia University, Black people are 20% more likely to have mental health issues than white people. And with everything going on around Covid, virtual schooling and the racial trauma we experience watching Black people get gunned down by the police, things are tough for many of us right now,” wrote Oliver in a statement on his site.

Oliver facilitated a mental health campaign earlier in the year after receiving a contribution from Dr. Nekeshia Hammond, psychologist and mental health advocate.

“She gave us $1,100 dollars and I immediately paid for therapy for more Black people. Which, to me, out of all the things that we’ve done, is the most significant because in the Black community mental health is taboo,” said Oliver, Jr.

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