Gilbert Family Foundation And JPMorgan Chase Invest In Racial Equity Work Through Partnerships With Metro-Detroit Black Business Alliance As MDBBA Celebrates Two Years Of Impact
DETROIT (March 20, 2023) – The Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance (MDBBA) today announced partnerships with the Gilbert Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase to address the racial wealth gap in Detroit by supporting MDBBA’s core programs for Black businesses.
The Gilbert Family Foundation has committed $600,000 over three years, and JP Morgan Chase has committed $200,000 over two years.
The Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance had its two-year anniversary on March 19. MDBBA is commemorating the milestone by hosting the first annual State of Black Business Luncheon. MDBBA will release its annual report and invite policy and decision-makers to engage in strategic thought around how they can further help close the racial wealth gap.
In the evening, the Alliance will host a celebration that will be open to the public at Empire Kitchen and Cocktails, a Black-owned restaurant and member of the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance.
“We have accomplished a lot in two years, from our membership growth to the millions of dollars we’ve been able to get in the hands of Black-owned businesses,” said Charity Dean, CEO, Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance. “We were not able to do this alone. The Alliance succeeds because we have strong committed partners in the ecosystem that care about closing the racial wealth gap and support our capital access programming, youth entrepreneurship internship program, member services and more.”
Since inception, the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance has developed initiatives and fought for legislation that foster the growth of Black-owned businesses. MDBBA now has over 750 members and has assisted Black businesses in gaining access to about $9 million in capital.
The organization launched a successful youth internship program, UpNxt, where young people aged 16-24 had the opportunity to work for Black businesses while enrolled in an entrepreneurship curriculum. The students participated in a pitch competition, where the winning young entrepreneur won $1,000.
MDBBA has also served as a leader in advocating for public policy decisions that make a direct impact on Black businesses. MDBBA’s policy work caught attention last year when they led a coalition in opposition of a City of Detroit food ordinance that would have negatively impacted Black businesses.
By supporting MDBBA’s ongoing efforts, the Gilbert Family Foundation is furthering its commitment to improving economic stability and mobility in the city of Detroit through initiatives that reduce structural barriers and provide opportunities to build wealth. With today’s announcement, the Gilbert Family Foundation has invested more than $1 million into Detroit’s Black entrepreneurial ecosystem just in the last six months, as it previously committed $500,000 to Black Leaders Detroit to provide new community-informed resources and expand the reach of effective programs.
“We cannot continue to ignore the stark reality of the racial wealth gap and the systemic barriers that have perpetuated it for generations,” said Darnell Adams, Director of Detroit Community Initiatives at the Gilbert Family Foundation. “To truly address this issue, we must prioritize investments that empower Black entrepreneurs and businesses, who have historically faced significant hurdles in accessing capital and resources. By doing so, we can create a more equitable and prosperous society for all, where every community has the opportunity to thrive.”
In addition to the goal of helping more Black businesses access capital, the Alliance plans to double down on its policy work this year. Current priorities for the Alliance include advocating for an office of Small Business Affairs in the Detroit Mayor’s office, as well as having access to land and resources for the upcoming I-375 project. The MDBBA also hopes to turn its current Black business directory into a mobile app and launch a youth advisory council this year.
“All too often, access to capital, mentorship and other critical resources needed for growth and scale are not equitably available, especially for Black business owners,” said Pierre Batton, Vice President and Program Officer, JPMorgan Chase. “We’re proud to support MDBBA and their ongoing effort to open more opportunities for Black business owners here in Detroit.”
To learn more about the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance, visit mdbba.com.
About Gilbert Family Foundation
The Gilbert Family Foundation is a private nonprofit foundation founded by Jennifer and Dan Gilbert to accelerate a cure for neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and build economic opportunity and equity in the city of Detroit. The Gilbert Family Foundation supports groundbreaking, cutting-edge research in hopes of eradicating NF1, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves anywhere in the body. Additionally, the Foundation supports the economic stability and mobility of residents in Detroit by investing in wealth-building opportunities and breaking down systemic barriers. For more information on the Gilbert Family Foundation, please visit gilbertfamilyfoundation.org.