If you’ve been reading AfroTech for any period of time, you know about things like “investors” and “venture capitalists.” Specifically, you know that there are things these types of people look for before investing in a company.
But these “types of things” don’t matter to Vin Rock or to Money Avenue’s Donahue Baker. They know, perhaps better than anyone, that not every professional businessman started out that way.
“One of the things I hope to accomplish with my role as Community Outreach Officer for Money Avenue is to reach people that other people — other investment firms — don’t reach, or won’t reach,” he told AfroTech. “That’s one of our unique value propositions — to provide access to capital to people who otherwise wouldn’t have it.”
Money Avenue is a 100% Black-owned and operated digital financial services platform that fulfills the residential mortgage, investment, personal finance, and life insurance needs of clients nationwide. The platform is designed specifically with closing the racial wealth gap and advancing generational wealth among Black and Latinx communities at its core.
In addition to his community outreach, Vin Rock is focusing on engaging with politicians and community leaders nationwide to support municipality efforts to drive homeownership, business establishment & growth, and opportunity zone development funding.
And that, said Donahue Baker, is his unique charm.
“People need to understand that we’re not VCs,” he said. “We’re here to help people like the underbanked and the unbanked get education about such things as non-predatory lending. Things like, not putting up a personal guarantee when you’re agreeing to a loan. Things that most people don’t think about when they’re ‘underbanked’ or not used to a professional environment.”
Vin Rock, meanwhile, is perhaps best known for his work with Naughty by Nature, the bastion of 1990s New York Tri-State Area hip hop. But his other passion lies in giving back to the community. Namely, too, he wants to give back and inspire the next generation of talent, entrepreneurs, and young talent from his community. As such, he’s doubling down on championing financial well-being and its education to be the driving force behind igniting a pathway toward generational wealth.
And that, ultimately, is what he hopes to leave as his legacy for Money Avenue.
“It’s time to return the wealth to where it belongs: to the community,” he said. “The only way we’re going to return the wealth to the community is to take it back.”
Editorial note: Portions of this interview have been edited and condensed for clarity.