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The Inclusive Economy

Bob Friedman, “Economic Superhero,” Honored with AEO’s Founding Vision Award

By Lauren Williams on 06/09/2016 @ 11:00 AM

Tags: Entrepreneurship, News

Bob accepting the Founding Vision award at AEO's 25th anniversary gathering.

On May 19, CFED Founder and Chair Emeritus Bob Friedman was presented with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity’s (AEO) Founding Vision award. This award recognizes his lifelong efforts to ensure that entrepreneurship can be a key to opportunity for everyone, especially the most economically vulnerable in our country. As Connie Evans, President & CEO of AEO noted, “Bob has dedicated his life to closing the wealth gap in America, in whatever form it expresses itself, from the racial wealth gap to the geographic and gender gap. He is an economic superhero for our times.”

For those who know Bob, “economic superhero” might just be the perfect title. His long history of fighting for an opportunity economy dates back to his childhood, when he first began using his own privilege to help others who weren’t “born lucky” (as he puts it). Economic justice has been the driving principle of his career; it’s what compelled him to found AEO in 1991, just 12 years after founding CFED and starting our journey of building opportunity for all. The result? In its 25 years of existence, AEO has served millions of low-income entrepreneurs, connecting them with the resources they need not only to grow their businesses but also to become the bedrock of financial strength in their communities.

Of course, if you asked Bob, he’d deny the “economic superhero” claim, preferring instead to heap praise on the many others who brought AEO into the world. “Founding AEO was one of the most collaborative, spirited and memorable experiences of my life, and a real feat of democracy for the 30-odd founders and innovators in the field,” Bob noted. But among this field of innovators, Bob stands out as a pioneer, and the AEO award honors his vision, his passion and his dedication. Here at CFED, we’ll add modesty to that list of his laudable qualities.

As nonprofit cousins, CFED is honored that AEO chose to honor Bob with the Founding Vision award, and we congratulate AEO on a quarter-century of service to economically vulnerable entrepreneurs. Here’s to 25 more!

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