DivInc continues to set the example of shifting the tides of equity and justice in Austin.
By Cy White, Illustrations by Jessica Wetterer
Founded in 2016, DivInc is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is “to generate social and economic equity through entrepreneurship.” CEO and co-founder Preston James II says of his desire for DivInc’s impact, “In 10 years I hope there’s no need for DivInc. That’s the vision.”
After seven years as the president of Huston-Tillotson University, Austin’s first higher education institution, Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette is retiring from her position. She was the first woman president of the university since the Huston and Tillotson colleges merged in 1952. At DivInc’s fourth annual Champions of Change Awards ceremony, she was awarded the Legacy Award, the first of its kind for DivInc’s annual ceremony. The distinction will be named in her honor as the Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette Legacy Award for her tireless dedication to the education and uplifting of Black and Brown students. Not only in Austin, but from all over the country.
DivInc is directly responsible for ensuring BIPOC and woman-led companies and companies that are severely under-resourced have the capital and support they need to launch. As of June 2020, the nonprofit has aided 100 founders of diverse backgrounds and experience in launching 73 companies.
From 2016-2021, companies who have participated in the DivInc cohort have raised $14.7 million in investments.
On March 4, 2022, DivInc held its fourth annual Champions of Change Awards and fundraiser. This ceremony recognizes the contributions of some of Austin’s most stalwart drivers of change in Austin’s economic landscape and community. In particular, it recognizes those who have had a direct impact on shifting Austin’s makeup in equity, diversity, inclusion and justice. This year, nominees spanned across nine categories including Executive of the Year, Nonprofit Leader of the Year, Champion of the Year and the DEI Leader of the Year.