December 12, 2022
In the world today, the most successful creators are also entrepreneurs, investors and tech innovators. They’re at the forefront of disrupting the status quo and reinventing commerce and culture. This truth is at the heart of MADE, the original video series produced in partnership by EBONY and Bloomberg Equality that spotlights the work of visionary Black artists, designers and creators.
The show’s second season launched November 28, 2023, supported by Ally, a leader in digital financial services. Ally sees its commitment to creating pathways to economic mobility coming to life in the series, said Ally executive LaShauna Lowry. “The core of economic mobility is education and knowledge. If you have more information, you’re going to do better. The MADE series gives real-world creative entrepreneurs a platform to tell their stories and develop their brand — but it also offers a blueprint for others to learn from, to help take their dreams to the next level.”
Lowry’s perspective on the importance of education, motivation and innovation to make lasting impact comes from her 17 years at Ally, where she’s worked across audit compliance and technology operations as well as playing an integral role in the company’s DEI initiatives and mentoring programs. And she’s making direct contributions to education in her current role as an on-loan executive from Ally to Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, part of a partnership focused on driving tangible progress.
A similar focus on real progress is behind the ambition of the MADE series to tell stories that bridge the opportunity gap that Black entrepreneurs and creators face, and to amplify their creativity, business acumen and essential influence on our culture. Data from the Alliance for Entrepreneurial Equity shows that recent entrepreneurial growth has been especially strong in areas where minority groups comprise the majority of the population: from 2019-2021, majority Black counties saw new-business applications jump 103%, compared with a 54% increase nationally. MADE aims to capture that energy and bring it to audiences wherever they engage.
That makes the show a natural fit with key Ally initiatives, Lowry said. “Our brand tagline is ‘Do It Right,’ which for us means continuously leaning into transformation, leaning into new ideas and leaning into diversity, equity and inclusion. We have a commitment to our relationships with consumers within the African American and Latino community. We understand that representation matters, and that our actions matter.”
Along with Ally’s support for MADE, the company’s Moguls in the Making program is a prime example of that. The program, a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, offers students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) the chance to participate in a weekend of learning, mentoring and pitching their business solutions to the issue of economic mobility. 2019’s winning team helped develop Fintropolis, a new world in the Minecraft video game platform designed to teach financial concepts to middle school students. Ally launched it in 2021.
“That brings it full circle,” Lowry said. “These HBCU students dreamed up this new world, and we actually implemented it. The students earn scholarships and internships that can transform into jobs — but we’re also allowing their ideas to reach and impact many more people.”
Ally seeks to innovate positive change in many other ways as well. On the operations side, it was the first big bank to remove overdraft fees, recognizing that such fees can have a disproportionate effect on black and brown communities. In media, Ally’s advocacy helped get the National Women’s Soccer League championship game to be aired in primetime for the first time ever. And this spring, the bank announced its commitment to reach equal spending in paid advertising across women’s and men’s sports programming over the next five years. “It’s about really looking at what we’re doing and asking, how can we make an impact,” said Lowry.
Such actions speak to the values shared by Ally, EBONY and Bloomberg Media, each of whom has a longstanding investment in creating positive social and economic change. That means meeting communities where they are, understanding how they operate and what motivates them, what connects them, and how to equip them for success. The partnership between EBONY and Bloomberg Equality, announced in 2021, combines Bloomberg Equality’s data-driven approach to covering how global business leaders are confronting gender, race and society with EBONY’s more than 75 years’ experience as one of the leading voices of the Black American perspective and in Black culture, through a range of content that engages new and wider audiences.
The collaboration is resonating, said Ally’s Lowry. “I grew up reading EBONY — it was in my parents’ house, it was in my grandma’s house, it was on our coffee table. It’s a staple in our culture, a staple in our community. To be able to lean into this media platform and others that have had a lasting impact among this community, that’s really important.”
Read more: EBONY x Bloomberg Equality