United Way of Greater Cincinnati and Partners Invest a Record $1.9M in Local, Black-Led Work

More than 50 initiatives awarded grants for work promoting vibrant, equitable communities.
August 28, 2023
Black Empowerment Works 2023 grantees

Contact: media@uwgc.org

CINCINNATI (Aug. 28, 2023) — The Black Empowerment Works (BEW) program, led by United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) in partnership with bi3 and P&G Always brand, is investing $1.9 million in 53 Black-led efforts focused on building solutions and aligning systems to help families thrive. The grantees’ work is diverse, ranging from maternal and mental health to community activation and financial empowerment. Grant amounts range from $17,000 to $75,000. 

With this fourth cycle of funding, BEW has awarded $5 million to 133 unique Black-led efforts since 2020.  

BEW is more than a grant fund. The program’s goal is to contribute to the ecosystem of support for Black changemakers by providing access to capacity-building resources, opportunities for partnership, and by sharing power with the community. This year, 53 community members played a crucial role in reviewing almost 300 funding applications and selecting the recipients.  

“United Way is committed to tackling deep-rooted problems that hold families back and building solutions that ensure economic well-being for all,” said Moira Weir, President and CEO of UWGC. “We are excited to engage with this new class of grantees, supporting them as leaders and amplifying their work. We appreciate the community members who spent a combined 1,590 hours learning and working to make these difficult decisions.” 

Jena Bradley, director of Black-led Social Change at UWGC and the lead of this work, echoes the appreciation and excitement. “By shifting decision-making power to community members, we are opening ourselves up to new possibilities. By providing these kinds of flexible resources, we aim to create space for leaders to imagine new futures and bring them to life.” 

2023 marks the third year of partnership with P&G Always brand and the second year with bi3. bi3 awarded a $1 million grant to Black Empowerment Works last year to establish the bi3 Health Equity Fund to support Black-led organizations working to improve health outcomes.  

“bi3 recognizes that Black-led organizations are best positioned to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes in the Black community,” Jill Miller, President and CEO of bi3, said. “By partnering with those closest to the issues, we can lead the way to a day when every person has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.”  

The full list of grantees is below. Additional information can be found at www.uwgc.org/bew.


  • All-In Cincinnati Equity Coalition ($63,325) to increase the number of successful Black women-owned businesses in Hamilton County through an entrepreneur bootcamp (including business coaching, wellness approaches, stress management, media training, social media and business planning). 
  • Black Art Speaks, in partnership with Avondale Community Council and Roselawn Community Council ($67,500), to use the power of art to address cycles of violence and trauma, explore ways to improve quality of life and empower and heal the community.
  • Black Boys in Tech ($40,000) toward the implementation of Mission ‘26, an initiative designed to expose and prepare 2,000 Black and Ingenious Boys of Color for a career in technology by the year 2026. 
  • Black Girls Stay Lit: A Literacy Movement for Black Girl Excellence ($25,000) to launch its after-school program to support the social, emotional and academic needs of Black adolescent girls/femmes by following in the Black literary tradition of using story in service of social justice. (P&G Always Confidence Fund)
  • Black Power Initiative ($40,000) to increase access to healthy foods, food literacy and career opportunities for Black residents in Cincinnati. 
  • Black Women Cultivating Change ($20,000) to provide safe spaces for community-driven mental health prevention education, panel discussions, resources and platforms for the Black community in Greater Cincinnati. 
  • Blossoms Florist Inc ($32,000) to create a network of Black florists in the community by providing training and mentorship so people may pursue a career in the floriculture and floral design industry.
  • Breastfeeding Outreach for Our Beautiful Sisters - BOOBS ($30,000) to provide health education services dedicated to women and babies in the community. (bi3 Health Equity Fund) 
  • Brick Gardens ($32,000) to support Caps and Trade, a program designed to educate Black men and women about growing premium mushrooms indoors in small spaces, providing economic impact with minimal changes to lifestyle.
  • Center for Healing the Hurt LLC ($40,000) to provide trauma counseling to African American children, teenagers and their families who have experienced crime, trauma or gun violence, or who have a parent who is incarcerated. (bi3 Health Equity Fund) 
  • Cincinnati Music Accelerator ($25,500) to support the Avon Yard Project, an Avondale space designed to be a place of the Black community hosting various activities and entertainment.
  • Cincinnati Parent Empowerment Network ($24,000) to expand its social-media-driven community resource network to include new staff members focused on legislative advocacy and digital inclusion, and to launch a teen technology center.
  • Connecting For Impact ($17,000) to educate, empower and enlist current and future voters to exercise their voice through their vote in every election. 
  • Dieudonne Foundation ($30,000) to support its Haitian Women Empowerment program to create a more equitable and inclusive society where women have equal opportunities, voice and agency in shaping their own lives and communities. 
  • Easley Blessed Foundation ($40,000) to provide media production and social media training to equip students with skills necessary to put them on a path to a media career. 
  • EDUC8theWORLD ($39,000) to develop an innovative wellness platform called BE Camp to support the mental health needs of Black women in our community. BE Camp is a retreat experience and ongoing connectivity circle for Black women's mental health and holistic wellness. 
  • Girls Health Period ($34,000) to provide menstrual and STEM education to students, coaches and players to educate and keep female-identifying students in sports. 
  • God's Favor Mobile Meals Ministry ($40,000) to support Dine on a Dime, which provides meal preparation classes to individuals and families with food insecurities. 
  • Gray Road Church of Christ ($30,000) to support its mobile food pantry, which distributes nutritious food to underserved communities.
  • Hearts in the Park ($40,000) to launch its effort to support people with disabilities to reach their full potential through acknowledgment, appreciation, nurture, love and respect.
  • Isaiah 55 Inc. ($30,000) to expand the Kanggy Mobile Meals program to multiple neighborhoods, providing hot meals, meal kits, resources and training to families.
  • Jamaa Health and Diasporic Soul ($65,000) for its Peace of Mind Project, dedicated to bringing about transformative change for Black men by offering a series of impactful mind-body-spirit interventions. The project includes developing a comprehensive curriculum and providing training for practitioners.
  • King of Kingz & FIT ($40,000) to support its efforts to launch a boxing gym focusing on the physical and mental health and well-being of young people.
  • MENtors ($30,000) to provide youth enrichment programming to support children in single-parent households.
  • Motherhood & Mental Health ($40,000) to address Black maternal mental health and social issues associated with Black motherhood. (bi3 Health Equity Fund)  
  • My Brother's Keeper Cincinnati ($40,000) to support the Wealth Achievers program, which educates and empowers young men of color about financial literacy. The program focuses on the head (knowledge), the heart (building trust), and the hands (experiential learning) model. 
  • Never The Less Inc. ($30,000) to provide enrichment for girls to enhance their potential in school, encourage graduation and prepare them for employment and a positive future. 
  • New Concepts Healthcare ($40,000) to provide art and gardening therapy and medication management to reduce mental health stigma and enhance confidence-building. (bi3 Health Equity Fund) 
  • Nicole Bailey Consulting LLC and Girls with Grit ($75,000) to empower underserved youth ages 5-18 through evidence-based mental health and prevention science services, fostering resilience, well-being and leadership skills among youth. (P&G Always Confidence Fund) 
  • Our Tribe ($40,000) to promote equity and justice for the Black autism community in Cincinnati by uplifting work that builds community and nurtures Black families managing newly diagnosed children. (bi3 Health Equity Fund) 
  • Pregnancy Loves Company ($30,000) to provide doula and maternal support services to Black moms and families. 
  • Preston Brown Foundation Inc. ($40,000) to partner with schools and organizations and provide mental health programming to youth and Youth Mental Health First Aid education to supporting adults. The goal: ensure young people have the skills and supports to manage stress and life changes with self-compassion. (bi3 Health Equity Fund) 
  • Push Through Society ($20,000) to provide tutoring, enrichment and resources to Black school-age youth and their families. (P&G Always Confidence Fund) 
  • Rabiah's House of Learning & Family Services Inc. and Empowered Touch LLC ($65,000) to support the Transformational Healing Program, a therapeutic experience designed to empower Black women with information to transform their lives through mindfulness and other healing modalities. 
  • Reginald Johnson ($30,000) to support the Next Generation Music Program, which provides high-quality music lessons, workshops and classes specifically tailored to African American underserved youth. 
  • Reliable Plus Heating and Air ($32,000) to provide HVAC training to prepare individuals for employment as HVAC technicians upon certification.
  • Revolution Dance Theatre and David Choate Productions ($40,000) to support the Dream Project, engaging underrepresented youth to demonstrate the power of representation in media.
  • Robert O'Neal Multicultural Arts Center - ROMAC ($30,000) to support its two flagship arts programs in the West End. 
  • Rosemary's Babies Co. ($40,000) to collaborate with Beech Acres Parenting Center to provide compassionate and trauma-informed mental health counseling and education solutions for teen parents and their children. (bi3 Health Equity Fund
  • Secure Your Gold ($24,000) to provide youth (kindergarten through sixth grade) with resources and programming/literacy events to expand their knowledge/skills in literacy and physical fitness, and to encourage parental/child engagement. 
  • Soul Palette ($40,000) to host a second cohort of the C.A.N.V.A.S Mentoring program, which focuses on youth 12-18 years old with natural creative and artistic ability seeking to hone their skills and inspire their communities through visual arts. The mission is to increase the participants' exposure, deepen their knowledge and expand their practical skills in the visual arts. (P&G Always Confidence Fund) 
  • Sprouting Minds ($40,000) to provide immersive, trauma-informed and strengths-based horticulture, and develop resiliency and psychological well-being in Greater Cincinnati youth. (bi3 Health Equity Fund)
  • Sterling Rapid Response dba Sterling Community Health ($34,000) to improve access to health care and reduce health disparities among marginalized communities.
  • SuperSeeds and I Dream Academy ($75,000) to provide youth with strategies, disciplines and behaviors for transformation beyond the SuperSeeds 2-Day Option's Day Tour, which provides an alternative resource for discipline with a focus on youth development. 
  • The Abercrumbie Group ($34,000) to support the 2024 Think Tank on Equity & Inclusion and share bold strategies being implemented by corporations and organizations to advance racial equity; specific interventions to address social determinants of health; unique opportunities for young Black and brown people to build generational wealth; and significant strategies for scaling minority-owned businesses. 
  • The Cincinnati Peace Movement LLP ($32,000) to expand its I CAN literacy program, a community-based, youth anti-violence literacy initiative. It trains high school student-led groups and places them in elementary classrooms as tutors/mentors, using literacy as a tool to overcome community violence. 
  • The Empowerment Foundation ($22,100) to amplify the voices of Black women to understand their experiences with the health care system; improve their health outcomes and birth experience; and reduce health disparities.
  • The Heights Movement ($40,000) to use urban farming and agriculture to transform, empower and uplift communities of color through two initiatives: Jackson Street Farms and the Lincoln Heights Urban Farm Initiative. The aim is to create sustainable and accessible food resources, foster economic opportunities and promote community well-being in underserved areas. 
  • The Mothership Institute ($30,000) to provide full-spectrum childbirth education to the community along with an ecosystem of services that will follow a Black mother from pregnancy through the postpartum year. (bi3 Health Equity Fund)  
  • Their Voice of Greater Cincinnati ($40,000) to support its mission to uplift, inspire and support families affected by cerebral palsy.
  • Trazana A Staples Alternative Stroke Recovery Fund ($30,000) to continue and expand its Intergenerational Wellness Partners workshop series.
  • We Rock the Spectrum Cincinnati ($40,000) to provide an inclusive after-school program supporting youth and families in Greater Cincinnati. 
  • Youth At The Center ($30,000) to support The Youth Antiracist Leadership Academy, a program for Cincinnati-area high school students. The program supports identity development, self-confidence and leadership by curating experiences and curricula that grow students' awareness of and affinity with Africa, the African Diaspora and Black LGBTQ+ freedom fighters. 

About United Way

With its dedicated donors, staff and partners, United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) brings new voices and solutions to decades-old challenges so more families in our community thrive.

As the community catalyst, UWGC drives change through investments, influence and filling gaps in services to create lasting change for families today and for future generations.

UWGC does this by focusing on six investment portfolios: Housing First, NextGen Success, Equitable Economic Mobility, Improved Prevention/Stronger Communities, Ready Kids/Resilient Families and Responding to Community Needs.

Learn more about UWGC’s work underway in nine counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana and how you can be part of our collective community impact at UWGC.org. #LiveUnited

About bi3

bi3 transforms health for all people in Greater Cincinnati by fueling innovation and health equity through grantmaking. bi3 leverages its strategic partnership with TriHealth and partners with community-based organizations to spark and scale new solutions to deep-seated community health issues, envisioning a day when all people in Greater Cincinnati achieve their best health. Learn more at www.bi3.org.

In Partnership With:

More about Black Empowerment Works

Black Empowerment Works promotes Black self-determination, social mobility and economic prosperity by resourcing and funding grassroots-generated, Black-led work.

Get the Latest News & Updates

Sign up for our emails and stay informed about how we work with partners and supporters like you to strengthen our community.

Contact Us

Send us your comments & questions!

Your Information

By submitting, you are agreeing to receive communications.

What's the balance listed on your invoice?