On the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth — our country’s second Independence Day, the day the last enslaved people in the United States were declared free — five local nonprofit organizations are launching a joint effort to raise $155,000.
The Black Enterprise Fund will benefit Madison365, Maydm, The Madison Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC), Urban League of Greater Madison (ULGM) and the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County (BGCDC). Funds will be divided equally among the five organizations.
“This fund will empower the Black community of Madison and Dane County through these five dynamic, successful, enterprise-building, Black-led nonprofit organizations,” said Henry Sanders, CEO and publisher of Madison365, the nonprofit news outlet serving Wisconsin’s communities of color. “These organizations serve youth, entrepreneurs, job-seekers, young professionals, and the community at large. We’re proud to partner with these organizations and support their work for the long term.”
“The Black Enterprise Fund will help Boys & Girls Clubs place 150 teenagers in paid virtual internships at more than 40 different businesses and local non profits,” said BGCDC CEO Michael Johnson. “We are confident local donors will help us place resources in the pockets of our young people as they learn practical work experience during this pandemic. We believe this internship program is now the largest organized youth internship in Wisconsin at the moment and we are excited about putting young people to work.”
“Maydm envisions a world where all students know that a career and a future in STEM is possible for them, where all students are equipped with the skills to elevate their quality of life and can pursue their dreams as entrepreneurs, developers, engineers, or professors,” said Maydm founder Winnie Karanja. “The support we receive from donations provides us the opportunity to introduce more students of color to educational programming and opportunities in STEM, supporting them in their brilliance and helping them to see a possible future in STEM. The support of our community partners is essential as we work to close the equity gap in education and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work with other community partners to invest in students of color who live in our community.”
“The Black Enterprise Fund is needed more than ever; the coronavirus has interrupted Black families and business in a wide variety of ways,” said ULGM CEO Ruben Anthony. “During these challenging times, families need sustainable waged jobs for economic stability, food, and shelter. The Urban League of Greater Madison launched the COVID-19 Workforce Relief and Recovery Initiative to connect families and businesses. Our children have had an extended educational gap that threatens to widen the Black and White disparity gap. We need to be able to provide educational options this summer, such as science and technology programs that will keep them engaged intellectual and prepare them for the upcoming school year. To realize the American Dream, all citizens need affordable homeownership options; it is essential for families. The Black homeownership rate nationally is 44% and in Wisconsin it is 23%, the third-worst in the nation. It is even worse in the Greater Madison Area. This year the Urban League launched phase 2 of its affordable homeownership program. I hope that you will help us continue this work; I am looking forward to your support.”
“The Madison Black Chamber of Commerce has been committed to building better businesses to build a better Madison,” said MBCC president Camille Carter. “In executing our mission, we are motivated to work collectively with our community partners, Madison365 and the Boys and Girls Club, to generate the necessary funds that will help our organizations sustain and uplift our businesses, families and youth. The time is now to leverage our resources and change Wisconsin’s trajectory of being ranked last of all 50 states in racial equality! We must do better and we can do better together, working towards common objectives and mutual benefits. Our chamber is ready to be a continued catalyst for positive change and economic progression. We are focused on improving our in technical programming and administrative assistance services to provide intensive support to small development and expansion.”
Funds are being collected through a GoFundMe campaign. All donations are tax-deductible.