Black-Led Social Change encompasses organizations, ideas and strategies led by individuals who identify as Black, and that aim to build power and positive outcomes within the population. Recognizing poverty disproportionately impacts Black families, this initiative increases the investment of time, talent and treasure in community-based, Black-Led ideas addressing poverty.   

We believe by investing in more Black-Led ideas and strategies, we can:

  1. Diversify solutions and thought leadership in United Way’s work.
  2. Better understand the unique strengths, opportunities and challenges within communities.
  3. Collaborate on strategies that reduce racial disparities in outcomes.

Currently, there are two programs under the Black-Led Social Change initiative: Champions of Change and Black Empowerment Works.


The Champions of Change program began in 2019 by selecting 15 community leaders with diverse backgrounds, skills and perspectives to:

  • Work together to create social change in Greater Cincinnati. 
  • Learn alongside grassroots leaders and other experts.
  • Build knowledge and skills about grant-making and other topics.
  • Use their collective knowledge and networks to address community needs.

Each year, Champions work on a shared project to improve outcomes for Black people in Greater Cincinnati. In its inaugural year, the Champions of Change designed the Black Empowerment Works program.

  • 2019-2020 Champions of Change

  • Interested in being a Champion of Change?


Black Empowerment Works promotes Black self-determination, social mobility and economic prosperity by resourcing and funding grassroots-generated, Black-led ideas, programs and projects.It is an equity-focused grant program addressing poverty. The 2020 Black Empowerment Works grant program was designed by the first class of Champions of Change. In June 2020, the first class of Black Empowerment Works grantees were selected.  

  • 2020-2021 GRANTEES


  • Interested in taking part in Black Empowerment Works?

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Questions? Contact us at or (513) 762-7157.