During National Mentoring Month this January, Dark & Lovely, a pioneer and leader in Black beauty is launching Building Beautiful Futures: Closing the Opportunity Gap, a multi-year commitment that will help bring educational and career equity to Black, female college students and young professionals.
“Opportunity gap” refers to the fact that the arbitrary circumstances in which people are born — such as their race, ethnicity, ZIP code and socioeconomic status — impact their opportunities in life, rather than all people having the same chance to achieve the best of their potential. Recognizing the growing opportunity gap for young Black women, particularly post-pandemic, Dark & Lovely is partnering with The NAACP Youth & College Division to provide scholarships, mentorship and career coaching opportunities to recent graduates and those pursuing four-year degrees. Actress, producer, “artivist” and Dark & Lovely brand ambassador, Storm Reid will lend her voice to help inspire and uplift young women throughout the program.
“As a working actress, college student and Black woman, I know first-hand how important it is to have access to resources and mentors to help you achieve your goals. You can’t do it alone,” stated Storm Reid.
“That’s why I am excited to partner with Dark & Lovely to help impact the lives of so many young women like myself, who hope to break barriers and shatter glass ceilings.”
Higher student debt coupled with lower pay and workplace discrimination have placed Black women at a disadvantage. In fact, according to The Education Trust, more than half of White women (51.4%) have a college degree, compared to 36.1% of Black women, while Black women owe 22% more in student debt. Additionally, 50% of Black women are thinking of leaving their job in the next 2 years citing lack of support and mentors (Working Mother).
“Now more than ever, young Black women are in need of actionable support that can propel them forward,” said Erica Culpepper, General Manager, Dark & Lovely.
“Through this program, we hope to help close the educational and career equity gap by providing tangible resources that help young Black women embrace their limitless potential and shape their legacy.”
“Efforts to create meaningful and tangible change start with investment in communities and people who can benefit from it greatly,” said Yumeka Rushing, Chief Strategy Officer at NAACP.
“Removing the financial roadblocks college can often present while providing mentorships will leave an indelible mark on countless young Black women. We look forward to the outcome partnerships like this will have on our community.”
Dark & Lovely and the NAACP have had a long history of supporting women of color via scholarships and mentorship. Together through Building Beautiful Futures, they aim to create paths to success for 16,000 Black women while reaching them at a pivotal time in their development — during their college careers and as they enter the workforce. This robust initiative will include:
– Quarterly Masterclasses with key executives and thought leaders.
– 1-on-1 mentorship commitments from key executives at Dark & Lovely and parent company, L’Oréal USA.
– Grassroots activations and forums for Black women to network and share inspiring mentorship. experiences
– Building Beautiful Futures scholarships—$10,000 per year, for up to four years, granted to Black female students enrolled in a 4-year institution.
– Internships – Hands-on internship opportunities at L’Oréal USA.
– Career Coaching – Access to online resources, tools and experts to inspire, provide career coaching and educate around the opportunity gap and how to close it.
– Building Beautiful Futures care packages to include products from Dark & Lovely, along with college and early career essentials to bring moments of surprise and delight to recipients.