The Marcus Graham Project, a Dallas-based nonprofit working to develop the next generation of diverse leaders in the media industry, has launched a new acceleration fund with Hennessy to create a more equitable ecosystem for Black entrepreneurs.
Called “Never Stop Never Settle Society,” the comprehensive growth accelerator builds on a long-standing commitment that Hennessy, the world’s best-selling cognac, has made to Black communities. The liquor distiller, which is headquartered in Cognac, France and distributed in the U.S. by Moët Hennessy USA, has a mission to champion cultural diversity by “pushing the limits of potential” for Black founders.
“We aim to expand on that legacy in the most impactful and meaningful ways by providing access to capital and resources to those demonstrating the ability to reshape Black communities through social impact,” Jasmin Allen, senior vice president at Hennessy US, said in a statement. Hennessy has a robust history full of initiatives and projects dedicated to this cause.
For instance: Hennessy was one of the first corporate sponsors of the NAACP, the country’s first and largest grassroots–based civil rights organization. The company’s support came full circle when it unveiled the new “Never Stop Never Settle Society” program during the 52nd NAACP Image Awards.
There, Nas—the legendary rapper, songwriter, philanthropist, and venture capitalist—presented the inaugural “Never Stop, Never Settle” Award to former WNBA player-turned-Atlanta Dream Owner Renee Montgomery. Hennessy also introduced “Dear Destiny,” a new creative produced by UNINTERRUPTED and featuring Nas.
According to the team, it represents the evolution and legacy of Black Wall Street dating back from Tulsa in 1921. Nas, who is a Hennessy ambassador, said he was inspired by Tulsa’s hub of cultural activity and community-built success, and wanted to pay homage to the Black creativity and wealth that thrived during that time in history.
“A narrative about family, legacy, entrepreneurship and empowerment, ‘Dear Destiny’ is a message to my daughter Destiny, and in many ways, the entire Black community,” he said in a news release. “Nearing the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, I believe the powerful spirit of Black Wall Street is still strong and can be revived with programs like Hennessy’s ‘Never Stop Never Settle Society.'”
About the ‘Never Stop Never Settle Society’
Hennessy and MGP’s co-created accelerator is meant to assist Black founders in furthering their entrepreneurial journeys to ultimately transform communities.
Executives from Moët Hennessy USA and MGP together designed all elements, and will evaluate proposals to curate the group of Black participants. And, leadership from both organizations will aid members during the program to help evolve each business.
Hennessy and MGP actually have a long-time partnership. Previously, Hennessy has supported MGP’s annual gala and bootcamp fellowship program.
Allen told Forbes in an interview that her team deeply respected MGP Co-Founder and CEO Lincoln Stephens, and believes in the organization’s mission.
“Together, our goal is to establish this program as a long-term, generational wealth building initiative that supports the next generation as it pursues the limits of potential,” she said. “The society is not just a one-moment-in-time campaign, it is inherently connected to our brand values and commitment to Black communities.”
MGP is dedicated to identifying, exposing, mentoring, and training ethnically diverse men and women in advertising, media, and marketing. Its project-based training programs provide mentorship, exposure, and career development in those areas.
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The two organizations share a common ground: advocating for cultural diversity and equity, and understanding the nuances of Black entrepreneurship.
“Some of the most powerful leaders and creators in the Black community are entrepreneurs creating jobs, rich legacies, and taking ownership of new paths. Access to capital resources to allow for authentic growth has traditionally been a barrier,” Stephens said in a statement. “For over a century now, Hennessy’s participation in the Black community has transcended typical corporate action, and I’m excited to be part of this next chapter that substantively uplifts entrepreneurship as a means towards closing the wealth disparity.”
The “Never Stop Never Settle Society” program will offer high-impact funding, resources, and infrastructure to selected applicants, including:
- $50K in lump sum funds to ventures that have the “potential to reshape the world through social impact;”
- Access to The Gathering Spot Connect, a Black-owned digital hub equipped with networking, education, and business development resources; and
- Growth opportunities at the program’s office in the Moët Hennessy’s headquarters in New York City. Set to debut later this year in the space is a content studio, educational programming, and leadership engagement for business mentorship.
Applications opened yesterday, April 6. You can go here to apply.
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