Grant program for Black women entrepreneurs blocked by federal appeals court

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By Alexandra OlsonAP Business Writer NEW YORK (AP) — A grant program for businesses run by Black women was temporarily blocked by a federal appeals court in a case epitomizing the escalating battle over corporate diversity policies. The 2-1 decision by the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily prevents the Fearless Fund from running the Strivers Grant Contest, which awards $20,000 to businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by Black women, among other requirements. In a statement Oct. 1, the Atlanta-based Fearless Fund said it would comply with the order but remained confident of ultimately prevailing in the lawsuit. The case was brought by the American Alliance for Equal Rights, a group run by conservative activist Edward Blum, who argues that the fund violates a section of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits racial discrimination in contracts. “We strongly disagree with the decision and remain resolute in our mission and commitment to address the unacceptable disparities that exist for Black women and other women of color in the venture capital space,” the Fearless Fund said. The order, issued Sept. 30, reversed a ruling Sept. 26 by U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash which denied...