Central Florida Foundation and Wells Fargo announced their support for the Enterprising Black Orlando Initiative, a new project that aims to strengthen local Black businesses and the community at large, by promoting racial economic equity. Central Florida Foundation will support the initiative with $50,000, and Wells Fargo with a $25,000 contribution as the initial seed investment for the effort.
“The economic and health challenges of COVID-19 along with the loss of Black lives this year have made this a critical time for Central Florida to invest in equitable solutions that support Black businesses and communities in the region,” said Mark Brewer, President/CEO of the Central Florida Foundation. “Central Florida Foundation believes that we must all work together to build a community where everyone feels at home.”
Black and minority businesses and households play a critical role in Central Florida’s economy, but they are also largely underfunded and under-represented. The Enterprising Black Orlando Initiative resulted from a yearlong partnership between Wells Fargo, and the Central Florida Community Collaborative – an alliance between the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, BBIF Florida and the Central Florida Urban League – to address this need.
“The Enterprising Black Orlando Initiative is something we’ve been working on for about a year now, yet its importance has resonated even more in 2020,” said Glenton Gilzean on behalf of the Central Florida Community Collaborative. “The initiative provides an opportunity to apply proven best practices that help close the wealth gap in Black businesses and communities in Orlando. We are grateful to Wells Fargo for championing this effort and bringing together the Central Florida Foundation and the Central Florida Community Collaborative to make it a reality.”
In 2021, The Collaborative plans to partner with the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at Prosperity Now to participate in a 2-year capacity building community of practice to amplify their ability to address racial economic and wealth inequity for Black people in Orlando. Through technical assistance from Prosperity Now, theCentral Florida Community Collaborative will implement a national proven, racial economic and wealth equity model to strategically engage public and private entities to identify the causes and consequences of structural economic inequity and design solutions in partnership with community members and leaders. Since 2015, Prosperity Now has implemented this strategy in 15 cities and 11 states, yet this will be the first time it is executed in Orlando and in the state of Florida.
“Systemic racism has disadvantaged leaders of color for decades,” said Lillian Singh, Vice President of Programs and Racial Wealth Equity at Prosperity Now. “Today, nonprofits led by and serving Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color are being asked to do more with even fewer resources. Our partnership with the Collaborative on the Enterprising Black Orlando Initiative will bring best practices to build a more equitable ecosystem and incubate economic mobility innovations in Orlando by fortifying strong leaders to build stronger communities,” states Cat Goughnour, Associate Director of Racial Wealth Equity at Prosperity Now.
The Foundation hosted two briefings last week about the initiative, which allowed funders and investors to learn more about it and the plans to reach the initial $2 million fundraising goal.
“Wells Fargo is committed to do our part in eliminating systemic inequity and strengthening our Orlando community,” said Wells Fargo Community Relations Senior Consultant Candice Simmons. “We are excited to partner with the Central Florida Community Collaborative and support work that empowers Black businesses and neighborhoods in Orlando.”