PayPal today announced the recipients of the third annual Maggie Lena Walker Award. Named in honor of the first Black woman to charter a bank in the U.S. and serve as its president, the award celebrates the achievements of women in the U.S. who are economically empowering their communities and shaping a more inclusive world for all.
The 2023 award recipients are working to expand equitable access to capital for entrepreneurs and increase affordable home ownership opportunities, particularly for people in historically redlined neighborhoods.
“This year’s recipients exemplify the spirit of Maggie Lena Walker’s legacy and are building innovative solutions for increasing access to capital and revitalizing communities,” said Franz Paasche, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, PayPal. “Over the past three years, we have recognized 12 outstanding recipients. I am proud to see how this recognition has helped fuel their work and brought positive impact to communities across the country.”
Award recipients are chosen by a Selection Committee whose members included senior leaders within the PayPal community, Ellen McGirt, Senior Editor, Fortune Magazine, Co-chair, Fortune CEO Initiative, and Liza Mickens, Walker's great-great-granddaughter, and co-founder of Vote Equality.
Recipients will receive a cash award of up to $50,000 and access to resources and mentorship from the PayPal community to further their impact and vision. Recipients will also receive a piece of artwork commissioned by PayPal from Alice Beasley, a renowned fabric artist based in Oakland, CA.
The PayPal Maggie Lena Walker Award was established in 2021 as part of the company’s commitment to advancing its mission of creating a more inclusive economy. Read more about past award recipients here.
2023 PayPal Maggie Lena Walker Award Recipients
Tulaine Montgomery, CEO, New Profit (Washington, D.C.)
Tulaine is an entrepreneur, educator, writer, organizer, and currently serves as CEO of New Profit, a philanthropic organization that supports high-impact social entrepreneurs creating solutions to systemic challenges in America by leveraging their proximity to the genius, assets, and vision of the communities they serve. She was a key architect of New Profit's proximity strategy, a $100M effort launched in 2018 to address the systemic funding gap faced by Black, Latinx, Indigenous, rural, and other overlooked social entrepreneurs.
She also led initiatives at New Profit focused on strengthening pathways to opportunity for underserved youth, driving resources and support to entrepreneurs impacted by the American legal system, and building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization and philanthropic sector. Tulaine serves as the Board Chair of GirlTrek, the largest health nonprofit dedicated to Black women and girls in the United States, and is the host and executive producer of Say More with Tulaine Montgomery, a podcast that brings together influential leaders from different identities, generations, and sectors for radically candid, action-oriented, and joyful conversations around how we can design and build a thriving society.
"As Maggie Lena Walker once said, ‘We can do anything just as soon as we learn the lesson of unity.’ It is unity — the transformative power that is unlocked when we get closer to one another — that motivates me,” said Montgomery. “To build new systems of opportunity in America, we must come together, connecting as a multiracial, intergenerational, cross-sector coalition in the pursuit of a better world for everyone.”
Emerging Leader Award
Omi Bell, founder and CEO, Black Girl Ventures (Washington, D.C.)
Black Girl Ventures (BGV) is a foundation that addresses the unique barriers BIPOC women face in accessing social and financial capital to grow their businesses. BGV holds up to twelve large-scale founder pitch events nationally and has funded 450 women of color through more than 50 pitch programs across 15 cities.
“Being part of the legacy of this award, and standing alongside a maven like Maggie Walker, motivates me as much as it humbles me,” said Bell. “It renews my spirit to continue to fight for economic, racial, and gender equity for our founders. The award also reassures me that I do not stand alone in this work. My thanks to the committee for giving me this opportunity and recognition.”
Bree Jones, CEO and founder, Parity (Baltimore)
Bree Jones is the CEO and founder of Parity, a nonprofit in Baltimore, Md., working to turn abandoned properties within historically redlined neighborhoods into opportunities for Black homeownership. Parity taps into existing groups of friends, extended family, colleagues, and congregations across Baltimore to create pathways for these organic peer groups to buy homes together on a block-by-block basis. In June, Parity handed over the keys to its first two completed homes in Baltimore. Over the next few years, they plan to redevelop 96 abandoned rowhouses in West Baltimore.
"There's no greater honor than to receive an award in the memory of a trailblazer like Maggie Lena Walker,” said Jones. “Maggie dedicated her life to building financial institutions and social systems that would serve Black Americans, where the majority of institutions would not. In many ways, Maggie's spirit is reflected in my work of revitalizing historically redlined and disinvested Black neighborhoods. I'm truly humbled to be thought of in the same thread as Maggie, and plan to continue to carry her torch for economic justice."
Arian Simone, co-founder and CEO, Fearless Fund (Atlanta)
The first venture capital fund built by women of color for women of color, Fearless Fund is trying to bridge the funding gap faced by minority women entrepreneurs and supports women of color led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed level or series A financing. The Fund has invested in more than 40 businesses in the past four years and provided more than $26 million in investments and $3 million in grants.
"I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the 2023 PayPal Maggie Lena Walker Emerging Leader Award. Maggie Lena Walker's legacy of resilience, innovation, and leadership is an inspiration to us all,” said Simone. “This recognition is a testament to the power of perseverance and the belief that every dream is within reach. As we strive for progress, equity, and equality, may we remember her pioneering spirit and dedicate ourselves to creating a better future for all. Thank you to PayPal and the award committee for this incredible honor."