Organizations will focus their combined efforts on achieving parity for Black America by addressing income and wealth inequality

ATLANTA, November 10, 2020 – Base 11 and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the world’s oldest African American fraternity, today announced they will work together in the Next Frontier Initiative  to empower 50,000 African American students, early career adults and entrepreneurs to be successful in the nation’s fastest growing and most highly compensated STEM industries.

“A major reason the net worth of African Americans is so low compared to the majority population, is the significant disparity in income from the types of jobs held by blacks and the net profits generated from the types of businesses most commonly owned by Black Americans,” said Dwayne M. Murray, Grand Sire Archon (CEO) of Sigma Pi Phi. “Our support of the Next Frontier Initiative will change the game for Black America by putting our highly talented students and professionals in an equitable position to compete and win in the most lucrative and influential industries of the 21st century.”

Earlier this year, Base 11, a nonprofit workforce and entrepreneur development company, launched the Next Frontier Initiative, with a goal to empower 100,000 students and young adults from underrepresented groups, including women, Latinos and African Americans, on their pathways to STEM success by 2030. The partnership with Sigma Pi Phi specifically focuses on supporting efforts to ensure that 50,000 students and early career adults impacted by the Next Frontier Initiative will be African American. As of 2020, Base 11 has impacted 11,000 diverse students on their pathways to STEM degrees, jobs, and entrepreneurial opportunities.

“Next Frontier Initiative is an audacious 10-year goal designed to increase Base 11’s impact tenfold and literally change the world as we know it,” said Landon Taylor, founder and chairman of Base 11 and a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. “We are excited to partner with Sigma Pi Phi to accelerate our efforts to give African Americans greater awareness of the vast opportunities that exist in STEM careers, access to the resources and connections needed to succeed, and unshakable belief that success in a STEM career is possible for them.”

The exponential growth of the internet and tech industry in the 1990s was the most recent frontier industry, and African Americans and other underrepresented groups were essentially left out. Despite years of effort to improve diversity in Silicon Valley, Facebook and Google each report 3% of their tech employees are African American, while Microsoft and Apple report 5% and 6% respectively, according to Wired. Blacks comprise 13.4% of the American population. The Next Frontier Initiative will address this disparity by accelerating the development of well-trained African American talent to fill the hiring needs of employers and launch new tech and science driven entrepreneurial ventures.

Sigma Pi Phi has more than 5,000 members in the US, London, UK, and the Bahamas. Base 11 has hundreds of connections and partnerships with academia, philanthropies, public, and private industries.

“Together we will work in a focused and intentional manner to ensure that Black America has an equitable seat at the table,” said Paul Griffin, Jr., Chair of the Grand Social Action Committee for Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.

The partnership will be unveiled to a national audience today at the  Next Frontier Conference & Expo 2020, a fully interactive virtual gathering of Next Frontier Initiative partner corporations, foundations, academic institutions and students who share a common interest in the Next Frontier Initiative mission.

Base 11 and Sigma Pi Phi combined efforts to facilitate NFI Membership grants awarded by Base 11 to 20+ Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well as minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and nonprofits that have demonstrated a commitment to African American student success in STEM, to underwrite their 2020-21 membership in the Next Frontier Initiative.

That membership enabled each of the universities to broadcast the Next Frontier Conference & Expo to their entire student population, including “STEM Career Playbook” sessions with industry leaders including Fred Lowery, President of Life Sciences Solutions at Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO at SpaceX.  Students majoring in STEM fields at these schools will also be able to create their own Base 11 Digital Portfolio powered by Tallo, showcasing their skills, experience and accomplishments to hundreds of employers eager to recruit diverse STEM talent now for their companies.

“Morgan State University students have benefited significantly from the $1.6 million Aerospace Workforce Development Grant from Base 11 and Sigma Pi Phi,” said David Wilson, president of Morgan State University. “We are equally excited about the doors that will open to our students across a wide range of industries through Morgan State’s membership in the Next Frontier Initiative.”

About Base 11
Base 11 is a nonprofit workforce development accelerator focused on solving the STEM talent pipeline crisis being fueled by the underrepresentation of women and minorities. Base 11 facilitates partnerships with industry, academia and philanthropy which deliver to employers a pre-recruitment pipeline of well-trained, highly skilled STEM talent. Through Next Frontier programs, facilities and events, Base 11 and its partners set students — and those returning to the workforce — on direct pathways to four-year STEM degrees, well paid STEM jobs, and the opportunity to launch their own STEM related business. For more information, please visit Base 11 is a DBA of the Center for Innovations in Education, a nonprofit 501(c) 3 – IRS exemption EIN# 26-4365936.

About Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity

Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, a.k.a. the Grand Boulé, is the first and oldest African American Greek-letter fraternal organization. It was founded in 1904, at a time when African American professionals were excluded from participating in the mainline professional, cultural and social associations. Sigma Pi Phi has approximately 5,000 members in 139 member boulés (externally known as chapters) throughout the United States, London England, and Nassau, The Bahamas. The members of Sigma Pi Phi are geographically dispersed domestically and abroad and represent the most accomplished pool of African American talent in the world. Their professional backgrounds include C-Suite leaders of public companies, private firms, and global leaders in fields of business, technology, medicine, law, politics, investment banking, real estate, accounting, private equity, academia and philanthropy. Sigma Pi Phi’s primary focus is on modeling leadership, education and civic responsibility in support of these endeavors and by mentoring young men and women, thereby advancing the African American community in all facets of equality, education, wealth creation and devotion to investing in the next generation of leaders.

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