Fearless Fund Co-Founder Ayana Parsons Steps Down As COO Amid Legal Dispute

by Gee NY
Ayana Parsons steps down as COO of Fearless Fund

In a notable shift within the leadership of Fearless Fund, co-founder Ayana Parsons has stepped down from her role as Chief Operating Officer as of April.

This change comes amid a legal battle with the conservative group American Alliance for Equal Rights, which has accused the fund of racial discrimination in its grant programs.

Fearless Fund, established in 2019 by Parsons, Arian Simone, and Keisha Knight Pulliam, focuses on supporting Black women entrepreneurs. Since its inception, the fund has raised over $26.5 million to aid in launching and growing businesses.

In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Parsons addressed her departure, clarifying:

“I have stepped back from the operations of the fund… But what I can tell you… is I’m a problem solver. I’m a changemaker.”

She explained further that her exit is not connected to the lawsuit filed by the American Alliance for Equal Rights in August 2023.

The lawsuit targets the Fearless Strivers Grant Contest, which provides $20,000 in grants and digital tools to Black women small business owners, alleging it constitutes illegal racial discrimination.

Despite the ongoing legal challenges, Fearless Fund remains committed to its mission. In a 2023 statement, the organization reiterated its dedication:

“Built by women of color for women of color, we are proud of the work we have done at the Fearless Fund and Fearless Foundation with the consistent and invaluable support from our corporate partners, investors, mentors, and advisors.”

Parsons, who co-founded and recently sold the consulting firm Yardstick Management, plans to use her three decades of corporate experience to mentor the next generation of Black executives.

She continues to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in corporate America.

Though Parsons is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations, she remains a co-founder and investor in Fearless Fund, continuing her commitment to empowering Black women entrepreneurs.

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