Bakersfield, CA – Circle of Life Development Foundation (COLDf) is strengthening its commitment lo closing the economic gap by developing the next generation of leaders through the launch of COLDf Black Emerging Millennial Leadership Initiative with the support of a $20,000 grant from Bank of America. 

COLDf will strengthen its MLKcommUNITY Initiative to close the economic gap collaboratively and promote a more inclusive leadership in Kern County by educating and connecting Black future leaders through its new COLDf’s Millennial leadership program. The Millennial Leadership program will offer 12-18 future leaders ages 18-35 the opportunity lo participate a 9-week intensive certification cohort where they will engage in executive board training, civic and community leadership courses. They will also be exposed lo peer leadership, mentorship, self-assessment, project learning, and inclusion, awareness, authenticity, and 


“In a world that is becoming more and more polarized, ii lakes partnership, trust and leaders working together to find solutions lo the crises we face today. COLDf partner ShePower has been preparing the next generation of leaders for five years, and I’m pleased lo announce the creation of the forthcoming Leadership Development for Black Millennials, which will expand our commitment in this space and harness our expertise in developing an innovative leadership program for equitable change,” said Arleana Waller, President and CEO, COLDf. 

In 2019, there were 467 new board members appointed in Fortune 500 companies. African 

American members accounted for 10% of new directors in 2019, compared to 5.3% in 2009, a 1% decrease compared to 2018. In Kern County the lack of representation on boards, commissions, committees and at leadership affect our community divide.

“Helping young Black and leaders of color in Kern County develop skills and networks to build brighter futures for themselves and their communities is what closing the wealth gaplooks like. Building human capacity in the Black community is beneficial on multiple levels,” said Chike Nwoffiah, Founding Director, Silicon Valley African Film Festival.

“If the racial and economic gaps were closed today, we could see $5 trillion of additional GDP (Gross Domestic Product) over the next 5 years, or an average add of 0.35 percentage point to U.S. GDP growth per year and 0.09 percentage point to global growth per year.” said Veronica Smith, Chief Economic Strategist, Impact Community.

“While all racial and ethnic groups ore suffering from the fall-out of the pandemic. data reveals the burden is falling more heavily on certain demographics. Black persons, in particular, appear to have suffered greater job losses; possessed more pre-existing factors leading to COVID-19 mortality; and reported elevated rates of food. income, and housing insecurity amid the crisis. The tangible and emotional hardships of the virus impact spilled over into this community exposing multiple layers of disparities. This is an opportunity to reach this audience, build leaders and impact generational security through real access. resources and training,” said Jovan Agee, CEO. Agee Global Solutions and former CA Deputy Treasure. 

“COLDf Black Emerging Millennial Leadership Initiative comes al a critical time as society and the economy begin to safely reopen from the pandemic. There’s a real opportunity right now to address systemic race and wealth disparities through new career programs so that the region’s economic recovery and future opportunities are inclusive and equitable to all. As a major company and employer, Bank of America recognizes the responsibility we have o support our local communities through empowering young and diverse leaders,” said Karen Zuber. Markel Executive. Bank of America Bakersfield.

Learn more about COLDf’s Millennial Leadership work. enroll your staff. or yourself – visit 

COLDf Black Emerging Millennial Leadership Initiative

is a nonpartisan. nonprofit diplomacy leadership development initiative that connects Black 

leaders. ages 18-35 through culture and collaboration to drive solutions for community 

challenges. COLDF vision is to equip leaders with the networks, insights and cultural context essential for non-partisan work on shared issues. Introducing to them to be placed on 

commission. boards and community leadership positions, strengthening engagement 

between communities. community leaders and community decision makers, culturally, because we believe we are stronger together when inclusively engaged.