Investigation

Racial Consultants Took PPP Loans Intended For Struggling Businesses Despite Industry’s Boom

   DailyWire.com
A sign alerts bar customers that it is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The Trump administration is backing sending direct payments of $1,000 or more to Americans within two weeks as part of an $850 billion plan to blunt some of the economic impact of the widening coronavirus outbreak.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Prominent diversity consulting firms received millions in taxpayer-backed, forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, despite the industry’s boom.  

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) firms that received bailouts include Pollyanna, which has sent the nation’s most exclusive private schools into an uproar, and the Kaleidoscope Group, which pushed wokeness at Coca-Cola, a Daily Wire review of federal records found.

PPP loans were intended to offset the losses of businesses that could not fully operate during the pandemic. The pandemic resulted in the permanent closure of “likely below 200,000” establishments, many of whom did not receive PPP loans. 

DEI firms profited greatly from the anti-racism movement that occurred simultaneously with the pandemic. Following the death of George Floyd, companies and educational institutions invested heavily in diversity training and consultants. 

Among the recipients of PPP funds are firms who were busy throughout the pandemic providing racial training to government agencies, corporations, and schools. Some of the training is based in critical race theory, the ideology that says America is inherently racist. 

The Kaleidoscope Group, which has provided DEI consulting to some of the most notably “woke” corporations such as Coca-Cola and Deloitte, collected $498,240 in PPP loans. The firm also counts as clients large corporations such as Northrop Grumman, Discover, McDonald’s, Progressive, and Comcast. 

Coca-Cola’s broader DEI campaign included hosting online anti-racism training for employees. One purported whistleblower released a portion of a training telling people to “try to be less white” — although Coca-Cola company claims that that specific training was not part of its direct learning curriculum and was merely accessible through LinkedIn Learning.

Deloitte has instituted similar “anti-racism” training and told employees that “microaggressions” are considered a punishable offense. 

Newark-based BCT Partners received $910,540 in PPP loans, according to FederalPay.org. Far from struggling, it is currently hiring for nine positions, according to its website.

BCT Partners is contracted with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide “racial equity” and “unconscious bias” workshops. In September 2020, the NSF spent $75,000 on a year-long contract with BCT Partners for a “racial equity initiative.” DHS signed a three-year-long contract with the firm for $42,000 to provide an “unconscious bias workshop.”

The Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC), meanwhile, has raked in cash from public schools. 

MAEC landed a $454,680 contract with Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools to conduct an “anti-racist” audit during the coronavirus pandemic. A review of the MAEC’s financial records found that the group raked in $2 million solely in government grants between mid-2018 and mid-2019. 

MAEC collected $202,229 in PPP loans, according to FederalPay.org. A spokeswoman for MAEC said the firm’s application was “consistent with the program requirements” and invoked former President Donald Trump:

The PPP was created and administered by the Trump Administration. Our application was consistent with the program requirements. The application and the assistance it provided the organization were approved by the lender based upon the Trump Administration’s guidelines. The PPP loan we received supported work from May through October 2020. The MCPS contract work began in January 2021.

Pollyanna found a steady revenue stream in the elite private schools favored by wealthy liberals. The firm has worked with New York City’s Dalton School, Brearley School, and Bamford School, and with Harvard-Westlake in Los Angeles as well as private schools in Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Charlotte, and Providence, according to the firm’s LinkedIn

Pollyanna collected $21,687 in PPP loans. 

VisionSpring was hired by Cigna, one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers, to provide DEI training. A report from The Washington Examiner alleged that Cigna employees were “asked not to consider white men in hiring decisions.” The health provider’s DEI training discouraged employees from using words such as “brown bag lunch” or “mother/father,” and to be mindful of “religious privilege.”

VisionSpring secured two PPP loans, each for $20,600. The first loan was collected in April 2020, the second in February of 2021. 

The Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP) is a for-profit firm that charges $250 for a participant, or $4,000 to learn how to train others. It received a $175,000 contract from New York City’s public schools in 2019; a city equity official said that equity training would not stop because of coronavirus.

DEEP received $54,638 in PPP funds. It is currently looking to hire five people, according to its website.

A bevy of other DEI firms received PPP loans totaling almost three million dollars.

FirmPPP $EIDL $
BCT Partners$910,540$150,000
Kaleidoscope Group LLC$498,240$150,000
MAEC$202,229
Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP)$54,638
VisionSpring$52,200
Pollyanna$21,687$4,000
National Equity Project$623,900
Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing & Training$167,702
National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity$123,852
Recenter Race & Equity in Education$115,325
Equity in Education Coalition$49,474
Fellowship for Race and Equity in Education$43,600
Center for Racial Equity in Education$37,200
Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning$26,665
Total$2,927,252$304,000

Congress created the PPP loan program “to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. First Draw PPP loans can be used to help fund payroll costs, including benefits, and may also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations.”

Applicants to PPP loans were required to certify that “Current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.”

Some of the jobs purportedly “retained” by PPP loans were apparently for part-time jobs

According to Pollyanna’s tax form, the firm had one employee in 2019, though its PPP application claimed that a loan would retain four jobs. A Pollyanna spokeswoman told The Daily Wire that the PPP application “properly reflected the company’s number of employees — including part-time employees.”

BCT Partners, DEEP, The Kaleidoscope Group, and VisionSpring did not respond to The Daily Wire’s request for comment. 

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