Court Blocks Fearless Fund from Issuing Grants Only to Black Women

( – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit’s June 3 ruling blocks the Fearless Fund from issuing grants in its Fearless Strivers Grant Contest, which aimed to award grants only to black women entrepreneurs.

The judges ordered a preliminary injunction be put in place by a federal court in Georgia that will block the Fearless Fund from closing its application process while the case moves through the courts.

According to the ruling, it is “substantially likely” that the Fearless Strivers Grant Contest violates the provisions of Title 42, which prohibits using race when enforcing and awarding contracts. The ruling states that it is not likely that the program would be protected under the First Amendment.

The dissenting opinion was written by Eleventh Circuit Judge Robin Rosenbaum, who wrote that the “members’ alleged injuries” amount to “nothing more than flopping on the field.” Rosenbaum added that none of the members had a “genuine interest” in applying for the contest.

The decision is the result of a lawsuit filed against the Fearless Fund in August 2023 by Edward Blum, a legal strategist who filed the suit on behalf of members of his group, the American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER). According to the lawsuit, the unnamed members, who were not black, were excluded from the program and faced “additional harm” from the illegal racial discrimination.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the group’s motion for an injunction in September 2023, blocking the program from accepting applications while the case continued through the courts. However, the ruling was challenged by the Fearless Fund, and in January, its attorneys presented oral arguments to the appeals court.

In a statement, Blum said he was “grateful” for the ruling, adding that programs excluding people because of their race “are unjust and polarizing.” Blum was behind the case that led to the Supreme Court’s ruling dismantling affirmative action in college admissions.

Fearless Fund CEO and founding partner Arian Simone, who founded the Fearless Foundation, called the ruling “devastating.”

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