Feb 10, 2022

Investing In Social Change and Black Futures

When Cherese Ledet, Chief Community Development and Equity Officer for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, stood alongside leaders from the NAACP and Impact Shares to ring the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), she felt a palpable sense of pride.

“Taking part in the Opening Bell Ceremony was more than participating in the daily tradition of opening the markets,” Ledet said. “It was the ability to engage with like-minded individuals to highlight the importance of how our work acts as a catalyst to drive change, advance equity, and bridge divides as we work toward a more just society together.”

Impact Shares, a nonprofit organization that designs exchange traded funds (ETFs) with social impact in mind, worked with civil rights leaders at the NAACP to create $NACP, a fund comprised of stocks from companies with a demonstrated commitment to minority empowerment.

Ledet’s presence on the NYSE trading floor, shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow change agents who actively invest in Black futures, was a full-circle moment for our Association—a meaningful continuation of the role we played in forming Black History Month’s roots.

“As we reflect on and celebrate the many accomplishments of our ancestors, current pioneers, and future leaders this month, it is an honor to represent the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and our rich history,” Ledet said.

Indeed, the Y’s work to fully actualize our promise as an antiracist, multicultural organization runs over a century deep—and we’re far from done. During Black History Month and always, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago remains committed to our legacy of connecting all people to their purpose, their passion, and each other.