PayPal Holdings announced the winners of its inaugural Maggie Lena Walker Award. Named in honor of the first Black woman to charter a bank and serve as its president in the U.S., the award seeks to celebrate the achievements of women from underrepresented groups in the U.S. who are economically empowering those in their community and creating a more inclusive world. The award was established and announced in March of this year.
“Maggie Lena Walker was a tireless advocate and pioneering entrepreneur. She broke down barriers and expanded access for the Black community. This was at a time when Black people were denied the opportunity for wealth creation,” said Dan Schulman, president and CEO, PayPal. “We are proud to honor her significant contributions and recognize these four women who are carrying Walker’s legacy forward in their work to economically empower underserved communities.”
The award winners were chosen by a Selection Committee. Members included senior leaders from PayPal and president and CEO Dan Schulman. External committee members included Liza Mickens, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter and co-founder of Vote Equality, Ellen McGirt, senior editor, Fortune Magazine and Rodney Adkins, PayPal board member and former IBM executive.
2021 PayPal Maggie Lena Walker Award Winners
Award winners will receive a cash award of up to $50,000. They will also have access to resources and mentorship from the PayPal community to further their impact and vision.
- Kathryn Finney, founder and CEO, Genius Guild; general partner, The Greenhouse Fund: Finney has dedicated her career to investing in Black women-owned startups. She empowers entrepreneurs who are breaking the glass ceiling and claiming their spot in industries that have historically excluded them. Through Genius Guild, a business creation platform that invests in Black entrepreneurs, and Greenhouse Fund, a pre-seed venture fund that invests in market-based innovations that end racism, she is rethinking and rebuilding how capital flows and is accessed in Black communities across the county.
Emerging Leader Award:
- Sheena Allen, founder and CEO, CapWay: Allen is the youngest woman to own and operate a digital bank in the U.S. Growing up in a town with only one bank, she saw first-hand the financial hardships suffered by the underbanked. In 2017, she founded CapWay. This digital bank and financial technology company focuses on creating economic access and opportunities through inclusive financial products.
- Chloe B. McKenzie, founder, BlackFem: As the founder of BlackFem, McKenzie is working to close the racial and gender wealth gap. She mobilizes cities, political systems, cultural centers and education systems to be the mechanism through which we maximize the wealth-building capabilities of Black women and women of color, their families and their communities.
- Vanessa Roanhorse, CEO, Roanhorse Consulting; co-founder, Native Women Lead: Roanhorse has spent her career building a better future for marginalized communities. Through Roanhorse Consulting, she informs how funders, investors and institutions in the Southwest approach inclusive economic development initiatives that impact Indigenous people and their communities. Through Native Women Lead, she co-developed one of the only organizations in the world that centers around Indigenous female founders, providing them the resources and connections they need to grow their businesses and livelihoods.
You can learn more about each of the winners and their work on the PayPal Newsroom.
Thoughts from recipients
“Maggie Lena Walker was a pioneer, a champion and an incredible Black founder,” said Finney, PayPal Maggie Lena Walker Achievement Award Winner. “Her story is one that Black entrepreneurs and all of society should know. It’s one of perseverance, strength and unwavering determination to challenge the status quo. Thank you to PayPal for this honor. And thank you to all my fellow Black investors, founders and women entrepreneurs for working to build your damn thing, tear down obstacles and open doors for those who follow in our footsteps.”
2021 PayPal Maggie Lena Walker Award Finalists
The Selection Committee has also named ten award finalists to recognize their extraordinary work.
- Shelly Omilâdè Bell, founder and CEO, Black Girl Ventures
- Kelly Burton, Ph.D., executive director, Black Innovation Alliance
- Connie Evans, president and CEO, Association for Enterprise Opportunity
- Kim D. Saunders, founder, president and CEO, Eads Group, Inc.
- Diane Sumpter, president and CEO, DESA, Inc.
- Luz Urrutia, CEO, Accion Opportunity Fund
Emerging Leader Award
- Mandy Bowman, founder and CEO, Official Black Wall Street
- Bridget Jones, CEO, FinRoth
- Alethia Mendez, division president, Grameen America, Inc.
- Diamond Walton, founder, Elpida Social Capital
This commitment builds on the previous actions PayPal has taken to advance its mission of creating a more inclusive economy, in which everyone has the opportunity to participate and thrive. Last year, PayPal pledged $535 million to address economic inequality among Black and underserved businesses and communities in the United States. In June 2021, PayPal committed $100 million to advance financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women and girls.
PayPal has remained at the forefront of the digital payment revolution for more than 20 years. By leveraging technology to make financial services and commerce more convenient, affordable and secure, the PayPal platform is empowering more than 400 million consumers and merchants in more than 200 markets to join and thrive in the global economy.