Black Empowerment Works grantees, Frederick and Morgan smiling in front of Cozy Home Childcare

Black Empowerment Works

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


What Is Black Empowerment Works?

United Way of Greater Cincinnati's Black Empowerment Works, an innovative equity-focused grant program, promotes Black self-determination, social mobility and economic prosperity by resourcing and funding grassroots-generated, Black-led ideas, programs and projects.

Originally conceived and designed by the first class of Champions of Change, the inaugural Black Empowerment works class of 2020 received a total investment of $600,000.

Now in its second year, we are proud to showcase our 2021-2022 grantees that together will receive a total investment of $1 million, a $400,000 increase over last year.

  • Academy for Technologists Extraordinaire, Inc¬†($10,000) for the ‚ÄúBYOC Camps and Clubs Explorer Program - STEM Fundamentals Class,‚ÄĚ presenting technology in a way that takes the science foundation that youth have as a stepping stone to building a stronger foundation in math, science and vocabulary.
  • Agricademy ($30,275)¬†for the ‚ÄúBlack Empowerment Works Through Agriculture Program,‚ÄĚ an online course that aims to increase access to healthy food and awareness around careers in the farming industry. *
  • Alexander Shelton Yoga ($16,000)¬†for the ‚ÄúCincinnati Black Yoga Network,‚ÄĚ to create rest campaigns through Cincinnati to hold space for Black people to see rest as more than a recharge but a political stance and a spiritual benchmark.
  • Blue Skyy Therapeutic Services, LLC (25,000)¬†to educate and provide resources in the discipline of self-care to Black parents and school-aged children.
  • Breastfeeding Outreach for Our Beautiful Sisters ‚Äď BOOBS ($25,000)¬†to offer a direct health path for prenatal intervention services that bridge between a healthy start to a healthy lifetime of outcomes for mothers, babies and the community.
  • CHIPs - Citywide Hamilton Internship Program ($25,000)¬†to reduce employment barriers by directly connecting untapped Black talent to companies, providing job coaching, leadership training skills and mentorship.
  • Cincinnati Music Accelerator ($25,000)¬†for the ‚ÄúCMA Music Business Program‚ÄĚ to educate music entrepreneurs in necessary skill sets to grow their knowledge and careers, including both creative and financial concepts.
  • Cincinnati Parent Empowerment Network ($25,000)¬†to provide comprehensive family coaching, housing mobility programming, and community-based literacy efforts to build out cross-sector partnerships to ensure children and families thrive.
  • Connecting for Impact ($10,000)¬†for the Civic Empowerment - "My Vote Does Matter" program, teaching and inspiring Black voters and future voters to participate in the democratic process.
  • Devonshire Smith Diversity and Education Solutions ($20,000)¬†for the "The Pathways to Success College Access Program," developing and empowering low-income and/or first-generation high school students of color to achieve post-secondary education completion.
  • Diasporic Soul ($24,750)¬†to support¬†"Black Dope & All Good: Communal Healing Retreats for Black Men,"‚ÄĒthree transformative community healing and restoration retreats that integrate culture and contemplative practices that will allow participants to deepen their capacity for healing and restoration, resilience and resistance despite the impact of race-based stress and trauma has on their individual and collective well-being.
  • Easley Blessed Foundation ($30,275)¬†to provide hands-on training in software, photography, videography, content creation and more to youth and young adults with the goal of building career pathways and creating more media content developed by Black people.*
  • East Westwood Improvement Association ($25,000), for the development of a center to provide community job skills such as resume assistance, interview skills and professional clothing.
  • Elementz Cultural Art Center ($20,000)¬†to support the ‚ÄúCreative Futures Initiative,‚ÄĚ working collaboratively with key cross-sector partners to increase the number of black and brown creative youth who have access to and are successful in the creative workforce.
  • Filling the Gap ($25,000)¬†to address the healing and trauma associated with incarceration that impacts individuals, families and communities.
  • Forever Kings Inc. ($25,000)¬†for the "Boyz II Kings Program," a community-based program that takes young men on a nine-month journey of self-reflection and self-visualization.
  • Gameplan ($10,000)¬†to equip Black Student Leaders with personal development and advancement life skills. The program offers an eight-week leadership and goal planning curriculum for students, grades 5 through 12.
  • Gateway to Grace Foundation ($25,000)¬†for the "Noah's Table and Leap Program," addressing the need for increased student learning success and confidence for now and the future by providing tutoring, school supplies, training, and supports for students and teachers.
  • High Achievers Aim High ($30,275)¬†for the HUSTLE Academy program, a leadership training and entrepreneurship program in partnership with Cincinnati high schools (Oyler, Shroder, Taft, West High, Winton Woods and Woodward) and MORTAR.*
  • iCan Health ($15,000)¬†for the Distribution of the iCan Manual and hosting a Mini Diabetes Health Fair and Barber Shop Pop-up that supports spreading the messages of diabetes prevention and maintenance.
  • Jamaa Health ($20,000)¬†to eliminate healthcare disparities by connecting people with physicians and other healthcare providers of color who will provide unbiased and qualified care.
  • Jurisdiction-wide Resident Advisory Board (J-RAB Inc) ($25,000)¬†to support the restarting of the Job Opportunity Center, which will assist residents in Hamilton County to become homeowners and an empowered workforce.
  • Ladies of Leadership LLC ($30,275)¬†to sustain and expand their mentorship programming for girls grades 5 through 12. *
  • Leave A Legacy Always (L.AL.A.) Nonprofit Org ($10,000)¬†to support the "Possibilities in Payroll Program" to address the lack of knowledge in the payroll process, payroll deductions and payroll taxes by providing education to youth, along with other topics such as budgeting, debt, etc.
  • Madisonville Mission Ministries ($23,625)¬†to support the ‚ÄúFinancial Stewardship Program,‚ÄĚ addressing financial literacy and providing practical tools for improving economic quality of life for African Americans. *
  • Me&She Doula Services LLC ($25,000)¬†to support their ‚ÄúCommunity Doula Project,‚ÄĚ bridging the gap between doula and maternal support services and black families by offering free and reduced-cost services, classes, and support groups.
  • MENtors ($25,000)¬†to expand mentoring networks, supplement mentoring activities and foster the creation of community among mentors, mentees and families.
  • Miller's Karate Studios ($24,000)¬†to support their ‚ÄúBreaking Barriers Program,‚ÄĚ a nine-month program based in martial arts, taking students on a journey of discovery and empowerment in three phases.
  • MY KIDZ ($15,000)¬†to provide resources and services to children experiencing homelessness within Cincinnati.
  • Hyperfarm ($25,000)¬†to operate a sustainable,¬† hydroponic farming system; providing access to fresh, local food- in food insecure neighborhoods, with a focus on BIPOC communities.
  • Opportunities Peoples Justice Leaders (formerly Ohio Prisoners Justice League [OPJL]) ($25,000)¬†to provide an integrated year-long cohort-based program designed for Black and Brown women, girls, trans and gender non-conforming people returning home from incarceration, aiding them in their first year and supporting them to advocate for change.
  • Option Plus Social Service Pantry ($15,000)¬†to support the pantry, providing additional services and resources in career readiness and financial literacy.
  • Our Tribe ($25,000)¬†to run a year-long program offered to Black families of children with autism to address feelings of isolation and stress, lack of opportunities to engage in social activities, and financial burden of care.
  • People's Initiative Network ($10,000)¬†to build economic power in the Black community in Middletown, OH, by providing networking and economic development opportunities.
  • Q-KIDZ ($30,275)¬†to support their work of empowering young girls living in the West End by engaging them in positive afterschool activities and offering different resources such as healthy food and tutoring.*
  • Queen City Foundation ($20,000)¬†to support students to reach their academic goals by exposing them to resources, tools and programs that prepare them to be productive, creative, ethical and engaged citizens and leaders.
  • Queen Mother's Market ($25,000)¬†to address racial inequities in the food system by providing local, fresh, affordable high-quality groceries to the Walnut Hills community.
  • Serving Older Adults through Changing Times ($25,000)¬†to support the ‚ÄúTech Savvy Seniors Program,‚ÄĚ providing access to tablets and training on how to use this technology to help senior citizens access needed resources such as transportation, food, health and connection.
  • Sweet Sistah Splash ($25,000)¬†to encourage economic stability and business creation in the African American community by providing small business and entrepreneurship exposure, training and resources to youths.
  • The Green Store ($25,000) to support the "Mamapreneur Program," equipping local Black mothers with tips, tools and strategies to create conscious businesses.
  • Their Voice of Greater Cincinnati ($25,000)¬†for the "Respite Care Program" to help the parents and caregivers of children affected by cerebral palsy.
  • Tree Essential LLC ($25,000)¬†for the¬†‚ÄúSelf-Love and Self-Care Empowerment Program,‚ÄĚ empowering people through self-love, self-care symposiums, health education demonstration workshops, holistic lifestyle series, products and services.
  • We Shall Overcome Foundation ($25,000)¬†for the ‚ÄúCincinnati Construction Academy,‚ÄĚ providing and supporting high-quality construction industry training and job placement for African Americans in Greater Cincinnati.
  • WiPROSPER ($20,000)¬†to support the integration of Nguzo Saba's principles into financial literacy training to create a culture of wealth building for impact and change.
  • Youth at the Center ($15,000)¬†to support the "Youth Antiracist Leadership Academy," engaging young people to explore their leadership and identity development and equipping them with tools to help their communities to learn about historical racism and make the information more accessible through the "How to be Antiracist" toolkit.

Black-Led efforts funded since 2020.


Total dollars invested into the local community.


Star rating of program given by participants.

City in blue color


This report details achievements and insights from Black Empowerment Works’ inaugural year: from the community review process to outcomes of $600,000 investment.

Read Now

Previous recipients

  • 2020-2021 GRANTEES
    • Agricademy ($25,000)¬†for the Black Empowerment Works through Agriculture program which aims to increase access to healthy food and awareness around careers in the farming industry.
    • Cincinnati Music Accelerator ($8,500)¬†for the CMA Community Music Tour program provides free concerts in predominantly Black neighborhoods while employing Black artists and vendors.
    • Cozy Home Childcare and Learning Center ($18,000)¬†provides support in opening their quality childcare center in Avondale, greatly expanding their capacity to serve families.
    • DevonshireSmith Diversity and Education Solutions ($25,000)¬†for the Pathways to Success College Access Program, developing and empowering Black high school students of lower incomes to achieve post-secondary readiness and success by providing comprehensive training, enrichment, and academic prep.
    • Easley Blessed Foundation ($25,000)¬†for the Multimedia & Live Stream Production program, which provides hands-on training in software, photography, videography, content creation and more to youth and young adults with the ultimate goal of building career pathways and creating more media content developed by Black people.
    • Empire Consulting ($13,405)¬†for the Establishing Generational Wealth program, providing community-based workshops to equip participants to build generational wealth through financial planning.
    • Envision Children ($25,000)¬†for their Catch Every Child program providing out-of-school educational programs and private tutoring to increase academic performance.
    • Extreme Clean Auto Detailing LLC ($25,000)¬†provides employment and training opportunities for community members considered hard-to-employ.
    • Filling the Gap ($20,000)¬†for the Prison to Professional: College Readiness and Leadership Development Program, providing training and peer coaching to individuals returning to the area from incarceration.
    • Gourd-geous Sacred Vessels ($25,000)¬†channels the community's creativity into an income-producing arts and craft manufacturing venture.
    • High Achievers Aim High ($25,000)¬†for the HUSTLE Academy program, a leadership training and entrepreneurship program in partnership with Cincinnati high schools (Oyler, Shroder, Taft, West High, Winton Woods and Woodward) and MORTAR.
    • Hodge-EDU LLC ($25,000)¬†for the ALPHA-Male program, which aims to close the academic achievement gap for school-aged African American males at Silverton Paideia by providing math enrichment.
    • iCan Health LLC ($9,889)¬†provides self-management resources to support individuals with a diagnosis of Pre-diabetes and Diabetes Type 2.
    • Isaiah 55, Inc ($5,000)¬†for the Breaking Generational Cycles program, which aims to teach participants how to break cycles of poverty with education in the areas of nutrition, growing food and healthy behaviors.
    • Ladies of Leadership, LLC ($25,000)¬†to sustain and expand their mentorship programming for girls grades 2-12.
    • Laundry Love Cincinnati ($25,000)¬†for the Love-In-Action program, providing access to basic needs and services to individuals and families with lower incomes and those experiencing homelessness.
    • Madisonville Mission Ministries ($18,350)¬†for the Financial Stewardship Program, addressing financial literacy and providing practical tools for improving the economic quality of life among African Americans.
    • Mentoring Young Men ($25,000)¬†for the Summer Enrichment Program, centered on African American male students grades 3-6 at Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy.
    • New Prospect Baptist Church ($25,000)¬†supports opening and operating their shelter for women experiencing homelessness.
    • Parents for Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati ($25,000)¬†implement a comprehensive, research-based approach designed to provide parents and community members with the information and leadership skills to build educational partnerships that lead to improved academic performance.
    • Q-KIDZ Dance Team ($25,000)¬†supports general operating expenses required to fulfill their mission of engaging kids through dance and educational programming.
    • Queen City Foundation ($20,000)¬†for the Bridge to Excellence program, a new year-round educational enrichment program focused on youth grades 6-12.
    • SuperSeeds ($25,000)¬†for the Options Day Program, aimed at disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline by providing alternate resources for discipline, focusing on youth development and restorative practices training for school administrators, law enforcement, and parents.
    • Sweet Sistah Splash ($10,000)¬†for the Cincinnati Youth Entrepreneurs Camp and Business Fair, encouraging economic stability, business creation and retention by providing entrepreneurship education to youth ages 7-18.
    • The Green Store ($20,000)¬†for ThatGreen.Life, equipping Black Millennials with the tools to live an eco-conscious and healthy lifestyle through a series of micro-courses, coaching/consulting and content creation.
    • Triiibe Foundation ($20,000)¬†for Triiibe Works, a workforce development program centered on gardening and promoting healthy lifestyles.
    • West End Art Gallery ($22,400)¬†supports a workshop series that provides access to art as a means of building healthy behaviors and community cohesion.
    • Youth at the Center ($15,000)¬†for the Youth Leadership and Civic Engagement Academy, providing leadership education and training opportunities to youth grades 7-12.

Sign up for updates!

To receive future announcements regarding Black Empowerment Works and other United Way updates, visit

The 2019-2020 Champions of Change standing together

2020 Report: Building Black Empowerment Works

This case study highlights how a group of community volunteers‚ÄĒcoordinated, coached, and cheered on by a team of facilitators‚ÄĒcreated an equity-focused grant program from the ground up. It's a story about challenging power constructs, trust-based philanthropy and participatory grantmaking.

Read Now
2020 Report: Building Black Empowerment Works

For more information, contact:

Headshot of Jena Bradley, Senior Manager of Community Impact for United Way of Greater Cincinnati

Jena Bradley

Senior Manager, Community Impact

513-762-7118 |

Jena joined the United Way of Greater Cincinnati in 2014 and her passion exists at the intersection of public good, storytelling, and reallocating power. She believes that everyone has the ability to create positive change, but not everyone has equal access to the resources to do it; she wants to help change that. For questions about the Black-Led Social change program and any subsidiaries, email her at or call 513-762-7118.

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?