• Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

By Alex Horton

For the third consecutive year, United Way of Greater Cincinnati is giving grants to Black change-makers to fund creative ideas and impactful projects that help Greater Cincinnati communities address poverty and systemic inequality. In partnership with bi3 and P&G Always, United Way has announced the investment of $1.3 million into 60 Black-led projects and programs promoting social mobility, economic prosperity and systemic change through its Black Empowerment Works program.

The work selected will provide a range of services to improve health, education, employment and economic well-being. The 2022-2023 class of 60 grantees includes a mix of community coalitions, nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses and individuals. Grants range from $10,000 to $25,000. Eighteen grantees are returning from the class of 2020 and/or 2021 to continue growing the capacity of their work. The full list of recipients is listed below and can be found, along with more information about the program, at uwgc.org/bew.

“We are proud to continue our deep commitment to collaborating with organizations and leaders who are closely connected to the community,” said Moira Weir, president and CEO of United Way. “We are incredibly thankful to partner with the changemakers carrying out this work and those making positive impact throughout Greater Cincinnati.”

Jena Bradley, director of Black-led Social Change at United Way, said one key to the Black Empowerment Works grant-making process is the community involvement. A panel of 45 community reviewers spent a combined 1,300 hours selecting organizations they believe exemplify the mission of Black Empowerment Works.

“We can’t thank our amazing community reviewers enough for the work they put into making these selections,” said Bradley. “Without their hard work and belief in the Black Empowerment Works program, none of this would be possible.”

Greater Cincinnati has a wealth of Black social changemakers, as indicated by the 215 applications received. Investing in more Black-led ideas, programs and projects brings:

      •     Greater diversity of ideas and solutions.

      •     A better understanding of the unique strengths, opportunities and challenges within communities, and

      •     Collaboration on strategies that work to reduce racial disparities in outcomes.

Since its inception in 2020, the Black Empowerment Works program has invested $2.9 million in100 Black entrepreneurs and social changemakers. Still, support goes beyond the grant. Grantees connect with other beneficial resources to support their ideas, including having access to volunteers and mentors, trainings and opportunities to share their knowledge with others.

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Congratulations to the 2022 Black Empowerment Works grant recipients:

      •     2nd Chance Living ($22,000) to fund a group home to support recovery and provide housing and programming for male veterans and other men on their journey to become productive citizens after being impacted by the criminal legal system.

      •     A. M. Lewis Enterprises LLC ($14,046) to provide a 12-week drone course designed to expose Black boys to technology.

      •     Agricademy Inc. ($25,000) to introduce community members to small-scale farming/agribusiness operations, offering technical assistance for program graduates to start their own successful agribusinesses.

      •     As Told By Foundation ($25,000) to support Black youth (preschool through sixth grade) in becoming stronger readers by providing access to free books centering on Black stories.

      •     Blossoms Florist Inc. ($24,000) to provide training necessary for participants to secure a professional floral design position or launch their own floral business in a sector where only 2% identify as Black.

      •     Breastfeeding Outreach for Our Beautiful Sisters – BOOBS ($25,000) to help protect against infant mortality and morbidity via breastfeeding promotion and support, education, outreach and advocacy to Black mothers.

      •     Brick Gardens Foundation ($25,000) to educate teen boys, girls and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) young adults on how to use free resources and grow premium, high-end mushrooms to create opportunities for residual income.

      •     Brown Hands LLC ($25,000) to host community-wide literacy events in African American communities to educate kids at an early age about historically black colleges and universities.

      •     Butterflies in Heels ($25,000) to support the social, emotional and academic needs of girls by providing after-school programming centered on confidence-building, resiliency, community service and post-secondary education and career aspirations.

      •     Center For Healing The Hurt ($20,000) to provide free, trauma-based therapy for children and teens to help them to address, process and recover from traumatic experiences.

      •     Cincinnati Parent Empowerment Network ($20,000) to promote generational economic mobility through comprehensive family coaching, housing mobility, literacy and streamlined access to community resources.

      •     Citizens of the World Charter Schools Cincinnati ($12,000) to fund family engagement workshops that address food insecurities through a farm-to-table series, celebrate cultural heritage through community-based events, and equip families with resources to advocate for equity-centered environments.

      •     Developing Enriching Bettering Individuals (DEBI Home) ($19,000) to provide transitional housing and assistance for women and children experiencing homelessness.

      •     DevonshireSmith Diversity and Education Solutions ($25,000) for an intensive program to develop and empower high school students of color to complete post-secondary education.

      •     Elementz Cultural Art Center ($22,000) to expose young people of color to and prepare them for creative college and career pathways.

      •     Emerging Cities International-ECI ($25,000) to address and improve the social and economic conditions of sub-Saharan African immigrants and refugees by providing resources and education.

      •     Erica Easley Foundation ($19,850) to work with teens and young adults on the importance of responsible driving and education about vehicle safety.

      •     EVERYBODY IS L.I.T.T ACADEMY ($25,000) for after-school programming for third-grade boys in Cincinnati.

      •     Gibson Financial Planning ($25,000) to educate 100 African American working adults ages 18 to 25 on the benefits of investing early.

      •     Girls Health Period ($25,000) to promote understanding of menstrual health, eliminate stigma surrounding menstruation and provide access to products and resources.

      •     GPD Creative Agency ($25,000) for Rebrand Black Cincy, an initiative that supports Black-owned businesses and Black-led organizations in developing a website at no cost.

      •     Health Care Resources Plus Inc. ($20,000) to support strengthening the emotional and mental health of girls as it relates to “girlhood,” especially periods.

      •     iCan Health LLC ($25,000) to partner with local Black-owned barbershops to facilitate and provide information regarding diabetes.

      •     Ladies of Leadership-Ohio Inc. ($20,000) to sustain and build existing mentoring programming for girls in grades 2 to 12.

      •     MA’AT Business Consultants & Paralegals ($15,000) to combat high rates of minority recidivism.

      •     M & R Performance LLC ($10,000) to provide a construction training program for 18-to-24-year-olds, leading to certification and employment opportunities.

      •     Mentoring Young Minds ($25,000) to provide holistic support for African American students in grades 3 to 12.

      •     Michelle Jarmon Financial ($25,000) for credit repair and credit education services.

      •     Miller’s Karate Studios ($20,000) for a Breaking Barriers program designed to take students on a journey of discovery and empowerment through martial arts.

      •     MY KIDZ ($20,000) to provide resources – including food, supplies, clothes and hygiene items – to children experiencing homelessness in the Cincinnati Public School district.

      •     Next Is Now Plan ($25,000) for a program that provides 12th-grade students in Cincinnati Public Schools with 12 months of career-readiness training.

      •     Next Level Dance and Drill Team ($19,000) to provide a safe environment for youth to express themselves through the art of dance while learning skills needed to be productive members of the community.

      •     Noble Barber & Beauty ($20,000) for The Gifted Event, a program to provide a dedicated day of professional barber services for children with various disabilities.

      •     Ohio Prisoners Justice League DBA Opportunities Peoples Justice Leaders ($25,000) to provide support to women previously incarcerated or directly impacted by incarceration.

      •     Our Tribe ($25,000) to provide programming and events to connect, empower, educate and advocate for the Black Austism Community in Cincinnati.

     •      Parent Promise ($25,000) to host family resiliency support groups and family enrichment opportunities with a specific focus on single motherhood.

      •     Parents for Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati ($20,000) to advocate and provide training and engagement programs that influence quality of education and build relationships with parents, school and the community.

      •     Poppy’s Therapeutic Corner ($25,000) to host transitional groups for young women as they move from high school into the adult world.

      •     Praise These Hands ($25,000) to host community dinners that bring people together with an emphasis on removing stigma and stereotypes about what it means to experience homelessness.

      •     Preston Brown Foundation Inc. ($10,000) to provide virtual and in-person Youth Mental Health First Aid training/certification to 70 caring adults  serving students in Hamilton County with majority Black representation.

      •     Purposeful Innovative Beautician ($20,000) to provide professional beauty services and education for Black foster children, leveraging stylists and technicians throughout the community.

      •     Queen Mother’s Market ($25,000) to establish a grocery store and provide locally produced and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color)-farmed food for local neighborhoods experiencing a food desert.

      •     Radical ALLI Center ($10,000) to host the Institute for Justice, Inclusion, and Social Change for undergraduate student enrichment, which teaches participants to practice racial healing and teach anti-hate awareness.

      •     RE-Assist ($15,000) to provide digital health outreach services to educate people with disabilities and seniors on post-acute care services.

      •     Sharing with Sheri ($10,000) to fund a documentary that focuses on mental illness, caregiving, and dementia within the Black community.

      •     Soul Palette ($25,000) for the A.N.V.A.S. Mentoring Program, focusing on teens age 12 to 18 with natural creative and artistic ability.

      •     Sowing Seeds in Omi Services LLC ($25,000), for the Postpartum Nourishing Program that provides meals and nourishment to Black birthing people for up to six weeks immediately after giving birth.

      •     Step Higher Inc.-Nella’s Place ($25,000) to provide a comprehensive health and wellness program supporting the mental health, academics, and basic life-skill needs of girls living at one of the organization’s group homes.

      •     Sweet Sistah Splash ($25,000) for its The Cincinnati Young Entrepreneurs and Business Fair, which promotes business creation, financial literacy, economic stability, and asset-building by working with teens and children to create their own business.

      •     Teefah’s Learning Center ($25,000) for the Mindfulness Project, designed to teach parents about social emotional learning (SEL) and how to raise more empathetic and passionate children by teaching mindfulness, trauma-informed SEL, SEL Yoga and managing emotions as parents

      •     The Dr. Kim Experience LLC ($25,000) for working with Black teens and young adults to author and publish their own books.

      •     The Heights Movement ($17,500) to improve the economic and social mobility of residents of Lincoln Heights by providing out-of-school opportunities for youth to increase their access to STEM careers.

      •     The Mothership Institute ($25,000) for creating community peer birthing circles for young women in high school.

      •     The Wright Institute for Transformative Change ($25,000) for its Liberated Black Leaders Academy, aimed at helping Black change agents, community-engaged clergy, and nonprofit practitioners experience freedom within as they work to create freedom and justice within their community.

      •     Their Voice of Greater Cincinnati ($25,000) for the Respite Care program, which focuses on the needs of caregivers whose children have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

      •     Trazana A Staples Alternative Stroke Recovery Fund ($23,000) for a seminar series created to educate individuals and families in Lincoln Heights on ways to prevent and manage health issues/chronic conditions (stroke, diabetes, hypertension, etc.) through lifestyle change and wellness practices.

      •     TRIIIBE Foundation ($25,000) for the Ubuntu initiative, created to elevate and amplify Black artists and Black venues in Greater Cincinnati.

      •     Tryed Stone New Beginning Church ($17,500) to start a community-based, youth-led prevention coalition around drug and alcohol use among teens.

      •     Young People’s Liberation School ($25,000) to support its work affirming and celebrating Black youth transitioning into adulthood by building upon legacy and supporting youth engagement in liberation struggles in Africa and the African Diaspora.

      •     Zion Global Missions ($25,000) to provide training for nontraditional job routes and apprenticeships for those coming out of school and interested in construction-based employment.