The Black Male Equity Initiative is an interactive exploration of what wealth and equity look like and how you can build it. The intent of the Black Male Equity Program is to establish a foundation from which to build, grow, and expand the Legacy Wealth perspective of black men by measuring and monitoring four specific milestones and results of a black male cohort.

Our episode this week is a panel discussion about the first cohort of the Black Male Equity Initiative that took place in Detroit, Michigan. Our featured guests today are Dr. Pamela Jolly, Christopher Rutherford and Richard Grundy.

Dr. Pamela C.V. Jolly is Founder and CEO of Torch Enterprises Inc, a strategic investment firm committed to minority business growth and development. Torch Enterprises has assisted over 1000 entrepreneurs, national non-profits, trade organizations, the Federal Government, foundations and financial institutions.

Christopher Rutherford is a Promise of Place Manager in Detroit, developing strategies with community based organizations to improve life outcomes for Black men and boys. Chris has dedicated over 30 years in Michigan, helping young people from all communities to access opportunity.

Richard Grundy is the cofounder and CEO of JOURNi. JOURNi is a non-profit focused on decentralizing tech education for Detroiters. Through partnerships with workforce development agencies, schools, and other organizations, JOURNi has been able to train hundreds of youth in web-development and entrepreneurship skills vital to closing the digital divide in Detroit. 

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  • Dr. Pamela Jolly:  Kelly Miller, is one of my favourite black men on the planet.  He was the African American to attend John Hopkins University’s PhD Program, and then went on to be the Dean of Howard University.  He was also the editor for both Booker T. Washing and W. E. B. DuBois. He didn’t believe it was either/other, he believed it was both/and — it was vocational and educational instruction that was necessary for us to get further down the road. He created the middle road, a way for us to work together, to be able to build wealth.  It’s still very, very much important for us to figure out ways to work together, and Kelly Miller’s legacy is definitely a wonderful example of how that can be done.
  • Mr. Christopher Rutherford:  I’m grateful for the men in my family who were good men that worked hard to take care of the family and teach us  work ethic.  In terms of public figures, I’m grateful for Marcus Garvey.  Understanding that his philosophies were the underpinnings of Black Nationalism in this country in a lot of ways has informed who I am and how I proceed through my work, with understanding how do we elevate and change the African American Community. Secondarily, Malcolm X and a host of others.
  • Mr. Richard Grundy:  I’m grateful for Shawn Dove, the CEO of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA).  I met him through an innovation challenge for CBMA. I’m also grateful for Shawn Wilson, the President of Boys and Girls Club. He gave me an opportunity to do something that I really didn’t know how to do — running an entrepreneurship program with youth and incorporating technology.  He gave me lessons on being a leader and how to carry myself.
  • Dr. Pamela Jolly:  The Black Male Equity Initiative was birthed by expanding the narrative of the CBMA to include wealth and create a succinct program and placing it in Detroit where CBMA has worked extensively.
  • Mr. Chris Rutherford:  I was asked by Shawn to lead the Black Male Equity Initiative — to create long-term, sustainable wealth.
  • Mr. Richard Grundy:  I wanted a skillset that nobody could take away from me, where I could generate income easily. So, I moved to New York and went to the coding bootcamp.
  • I thought, if the people back home in Detroit knew about this, the sky would be the limit.
  • So, I moved back home and started JOURNI and I’ve been working with young black men ever since.
  • Dr. Pamela Jolly:  The Black Male Equity Initiative’s programming is all based on the Narrow Road, a custom-tailored curricular specifically for Black men.  It stems on the core, primary finding of my research that it takes three generations to build legacy wealth, and only one generation to lose it
  • When looking at the target audience for the Black Male Equity Initiative, it was important that the cohort be cross-generational. It also had to be cross socio-economic levels, so we had the credit investors and non-credit investors.
  • The desire is to create a brotherhood of Black men that are committed to wealth.
  • Once you have a stronger understanding of equity, which is really wealth stored up, you can be a wealth builder because you recognize the wealth within yourself
  • Mr. Chris Rutherford:  How do you build wealth for yourself, your family and community and keep it?
  • It was important to begin with our historical context and move forward building programs.
  • We did an historical analysis of who we were as a people, with a lens toward equity, wealth and capital.
  • The focus was on how wealth is built in this country, how it applies to us, and what we need to do to move forward.
  • Dr. Pamela Jolly: We all don’t get there the same time, but if we keep moving, we maintain momentum.
  • The Black Male Equity Anthology is a synthesis of many of the men in the cohort who went the distance.
  • We’re now exploring the different ways in which we can bring this to the community, and hosting a Black Male Initiative webinar series.
  • After the year of demonstration and preparation, this year is the year of invitation.
  • I’m not married to method; I’m married to outcome.
  • We do need to expand the narrative of Black male achievement to include wealth creation and have Black men own their relationship with themselves and their definition of wealth, so they can pursue it in their lifetime and pass it on to generations.



  • In the last quarter of 2019 and the 400th year anniversary of us going from being the asset to owning the asset, begin to blaze your trail by taking inventory of where you are, determine where you want to be, and write a financial projection to get there.
  • Let’s be real about the business of yourselves. The primary purpose of business is to build wealth.
  • It’s never too late to start, but the earlier, the better.



The Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Join, support and invest in this movement to help improve the life outcomes of our black men and boys.


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