BEW Grantees 2023-2024

Black Empowerment Works

Black Empowerment Works promotes Black self-determination, social mobility and economic prosperity by providing resources and funding to grassroots/community-based, Black-led work.  

The application for Black Empowerment Works is closed and will reopen in Spring 2025.

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About Black Empowerment Works

Black Empowerment Works is an equity-focused grant program that is part of United Way's Black-Led Social Change initiative. It promotes Black self-determination, social mobility and economic prosperity by providing resources and funding to grassroots/community-based, Black-led work.

Since its inception in 2020, we have invested over $5 million into 130 ideas and their leaders. A thank you goes out to the first class of Champions of Change, who originally conceived and designed this program.  

This work exists for two reasons:  

  • There is an over-representation of Black families experiencing poverty and an underinvestment in community-based, Black-led work and expertise to address it. This has to change.  
  • We are compelled to hold spaces and provide resources to imagine and bring to life unencumbered, self-determined Black futures.  


Black Empowerment Works by the Numbers

Since the program's inception in 2020, Black Empowerment Works has achieved the following:


Black-Led project, initiatives & efforts funded


Total dollars invested into our local community


Community members engaged as volunteer grant decision-makers


Hours invested by volunteer Community Reviewers

Table of Contents

Past Black Empowerment Works Grantees

Funding Class 2023

  • 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.

Funding Class 2022

  • 2nd Chance Living ($22,000) to fund a group home to support recovery and provide housing and programming for male veterans and other men on their journey to become productive citizens after being impacted by the criminal legal system.
  • Agricademy Inc. ($25,000) to introduce community members to small-scale farming/agribusiness operations, offering technical assistance for program graduates to start their own successful agribusinesses.
  • As Told By Foundation ($25,000) to support Black youth (preschool through sixth grade) in becoming stronger readers by providing access to free books centering on Black stories, along with programming that includes story times, book clubs and parent education.
  • Black Boys in Tech ($14,046) to provide a 12-week drone course designed to expose Black boys to technology. Participants will be led through a series of technology- and engineering-related activities, including soldering basics, circuit board basics, mini-drone design and assembly, and 3D modeling using commercial drones.
  • Blossoms Florist Inc. ($24,000) to provide training necessary for participants to secure a professional floral design position or launch their own floral business in a sector where only 2% identify as Black.
  • Breastfeeding Outreach for Our Beautiful Sisters - BOOBS ($25,000) to help protect against infant mortality and morbidity via breastfeeding promotion and support, education, outreach and advocacy to Black mothers and other populations most vulnerable or at risk. (bi3 Health Equity Fund recipient)
  • Brick Gardens Foundation ($25,000) to educate teen boys, girls and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) young adults on how to use free resources and grow premium, high-end mushrooms to create opportunities for residual income.
  • Brown Hands LLC ($25,000) to host community-wide literacy events in African American communities to educate kids at an early age about historically black colleges and universities, using Black children's books, members of the Divine Nine, local authors, fun-filled HBCU activities and hands-on literacy interventions.
  • Butterflies in Heels ($25,000) to support the social, emotional and academic needs of girls by providing after-school programming centered on confidence-building, resiliency, community service and post-secondary education and career aspirations. (bi3 Health Equity Fund recipient)
  • Center For Healing The Hurt ($20,000) to provide free, trauma-based therapy for children and teens to help them to address, process and recover from traumatic experiences. (bi3 Health Equity Fund recipient)
  • Cincinnati Parent Empowerment Network ($20,000) to promote generational economic mobility through comprehensive family coaching, housing mobility, literacy and streamlined access to community resources.
  • Citizens of the World Charter Schools Cincinnati ($12,000) to fund family engagement workshops that address food insecurities through a farm-to-table series, celebrate cultural heritage through community-based events, and equip families with resources to advocate for equity-centered environments.
  • Developing Enriching Bettering Individuals (DEBI Home) ($19,000) to provide transitional housing and assistance for women and children experiencing homelessness.
  • DevonshireSmith Diversity and Education Solutions ($25,000) for an intensive 11-month program to develop and empower high school students of color to complete post-secondary education. Programming includes ACT/SAT prep, application and financial aid processes, career pathway exploration, adjusting to the new school and how to advocate.
  • Elementz Cultural Art Center ($22,000) to expose young people of color to and prepare them for creative college and career pathways. Young people will gain first-hand experience with the inner workings of the creative sector, from planning and production to performance. (P&G Always Confidence Fund recipient)
  • Emerging Cities International-ECI ($25,000) to address and improve the social and economic conditions of sub-Saharan African immigrants and refugees by providing resources and education in literacy (ESL/ESOL classes, digital/financial literacy) and personal development and advancement (citizenship, life readiness and career preparation).
  • Erica Easley Foundation ($19,850) to work with teens and young adults on the importance of responsible driving and education about vehicle safety.
  • EVERYBODY IS L.I.T.T ACADEMY ($25,000) for after-school programming for third-grade boys in Cincinnati. Using culturally responsive literacy aimed at restoring joy in the classroom for Black boys, they will be taught to read, write and express themselves creatively while discovering their talents and interests academically.
  • Gibson Financial Planning ($25,000) to educate 100 African American working adults ages 18 to 25 on the benefits of investing early by setting up bank and investment accounts.
  • Girls Health Period ($25,000) to promote understanding of menstrual health, eliminate stigma surrounding menstruation and provide access to products and resources.
  • GPD Creative Agency ($25,000) for Revive Black Cincy, an initiative that supports Black-owned businesses and Black-led organizations in developing a website at no cost.
  • Health Care Resources Plus Inc. ($20,000) to support strengthening the emotional and mental health of girls as it relates to "girlhood," especially periods. This program includes a rite of passage, leadership development, creative exploration, self-advocacy and inner-narrative shifting. (P&G Always Confidence Fund recipient)
  • iCan Health LLC ($25,000) to partner with local Black-owned barbershops to facilitate and provide information regarding diabetes while also providing paid opportunities for Black nursing and public health students, exposing them to community health as a possible career option.
  • Ladies of Leadership-Ohio Inc. ($20,000) to sustain and build existing mentoring programming for girls in grades 2 to 12. Topics addressed include physical and mental health, academic achievement, developing social emotional skills, creating financial stability and overcoming trauma.
  • MA'AT Business Consultants & Paralegals ($15,000) to combat high rates of minority recidivism by aiding returning citizens in forging a path to entrepreneurship so they can move effectively to social mobility and economic self-sufficiency.
  • M & R Performance LLC ($10,000) to provide a construction training program for 18-to-24-year-olds, leading to certification and employment opportunities.
  • Mentoring Young Minds ($25,000) to provide holistic support for African American students in grades 3 to 12, including individualized academic instruction, behavior and trauma supports, mentorship and skills development. (bi3 Health Equity Fund recipient)
  • Michelle Jarmon Financial ($25,000) for credit repair and credit education services intended to empower people in the Black community to have a better relationship with money.
  • Miller's Karate Studios ($20,000) for a Breaking Barriers program designed to take students on a journey of discovery and empowerment through martial arts. The nine-month journey has three phases: believe, achieve and breakthrough.
  • MY KIDZ ($20,000) to provide resources – including food, supplies, clothes and hygiene items – to children experiencing homelessness in the Cincinnati Public School district.
  • Next Is Now Plan ($25,000) for a program that provides 12th-grade students in Cincinnati Public Schools with 12 months of career-readiness training, financial stipends, upskill training for the workforce, industry credentials, employment partnerships and employment opportunities in health care and technology.
  • Next Level Dance and Drill Team ($19,000) to provide a safe environment for youth to express themselves through the art of dance while learning skills needed to be productive members of the community, including leadership, team building, discipline and conflict resolution.
  • Noble Barber & Beauty ($20,000) for The Gifted Event, a program to provide a dedicated day of professional barber services for children with various disabilities, including physical, developmental or intellectual.
  • Ohio Prisoners Justice League DBA Opportunities Peoples Justice Leaders ($25,000) to provide support to women previously incarcerated or directly impacted by incarceration.
  • Our Tribe ($25,000) to provide programming and events to connect, empower, educate and advocate for the Black Austism Community in Cincinnati. (bi3 Health Equity Fund recipient)
  • Parent Promise ($25,000) to host family resiliency support groups and family enrichment opportunities with a specific focus on single motherhood. (bi3 Health Equity Fund recipient)
  • Parents for Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati ($20,000) to advocate and provide training and engagement programs that influence quality of education and build relationships with parents, school and the community.
  • Poppy's Therapeutic Corner ($25,000) to host three eight-week transitional groups for young women as they move from high school into the adult world. (P&G Always Confidence Fund recipient)
  • Praise These Hands ($25,000) to host community dinners that bring people together with an emphasis on removing stigma and stereotypes about what it means to experience homelessness.
  • Preston Brown Foundation Inc. ($10,000) to provide virtual and in-person Youth Mental Health First Aid training/certification at no cost to 70 caring adults (teachers, coaches, social workers, parents, etc.) serving students in Hamilton County with majority Black representation. (bi3 Health Equity Fund recipient)
  • Purposeful Innovative Beautician ($20,000) to provide professional beauty services and education for Black foster children, leveraging stylists and technicians throughout the community.
  • Queen Mother's Market ($25,000) to establish a grocery store and provide locally produced and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color)-farmed food for local neighborhoods experiencing a food desert.
  • Radical ALLI Center ($10,000) to host the Institute for Justice, Inclusion, and Social Change for undergraduate student enrichment, which teaches participants to practice racial healing and teach anti-hate awareness.
  • RE-Assist ($15,000) to provide digital health outreach services to educate people with disabilities and seniors on post-acute care services and resource-finding techniques.
  • Sharing with Sheri ($10,000) to fund a documentary that focuses on mental illness, caregiving, and dementia within the Black community.
  • Soul Palette ($25,000) for the C.A.N.V.A.S. Mentoring Program, focusing on teens age 12 to 18 with natural creative and artistic ability looking to hone their skills and inspire their communities. Looking to foster the next generation of Black visual artists. (P&G Always Confidence Fund recipient)
  • Sowing Seeds in Omi Services LLC ($25,000), for the Postpartum Nourishing Program that provides meals and nourishment to Black birthing people for up to six weeks immediately after giving birth.
  • Step Higher Inc.-Nella's Place ($25,000) to provide a comprehensive health and wellness program supporting the mental health, academics, and basic life-skill needs of girls living at one of the organization's group homes.
  • Sweet Sistah Splash ($25,000) for its The Cincinnati Young Entrepreneurs and Business Fair, which promotes business creation, financial literacy, economic stability, and asset-building by working with teens and children to create their own business.
  • Teefah's Learning Center ($25,000) for the Mindfulness Project, designed to teach parents about social emotional learning (SEL) and how to raise more empathetic and passionate children by teaching mindfulness, trauma-informed SEL, SEL Yoga and managing emotions as parents
  • The Dr. Kim Experience LLC ($25,000) for working with Black teens and young adults to author and publish their own books.
  • The Heights Movement ($17,500) to improve the economic and social mobility of residents of Lincoln Heights and surrounding communities by providing out-of-school opportunities for youth to increase their access to STEM careers.
  • The Mothership Institute ($25,000) for creating community peer birthing circles for young women in high school, supporting them as they support one another and providing childbirth education and period products and resources. (bi3 Health Equity Fund recipient)
  • The Wright Institute for Transformative Change ($25,000) for its Liberated Black Leaders Academy, aimed at helping Black change agents, community-engaged clergy, and nonprofit practitioners experience freedom within as they work to create freedom and justice within their community.
  • Their Voice of Greater Cincinnati ($25,000) for the Respite Care program, which focuses on the needs of caregivers whose children have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. (bi3 Health Equity Fund recipient)
  • Trazana A Staples Alternative Stroke Recovery Fund ($23,000) for a seminar series created to educate individuals and families in Lincoln Heights on ways to prevent and manage health issues/chronic conditions (stroke, diabetes, hypertension, etc.) through lifestyle change and wellness practices.
  • TRIIIBE Foundation ($25,000) for the Ubuntu initiative, created to elevate and amplify Black artists and Black venues in Greater Cincinnati.
  • Tryed Stone New Beginning Church ($17,500) to start a community-based, youth-led prevention coalition around drug and alcohol use among teens.
  • Young People's Liberation School ($25,000) to support its work affirming and celebrating Black youth transitioning into adulthood by building upon legacy and supporting youth engagement in liberation struggles in Africa and the African Diaspora.
  • Zion Global Missions ($25,000) to provide training for nontraditional job routes and apprenticeships for those coming out of school and interested in construction-based employment.

Funding Class 2021

  • Academy for Technologists Extraordinaire, Inc ($10,000) for the “BYOC Camps and Clubs Explorer Program - STEM Fundamentals Class,” 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 “Black Empowerment Works Through Agriculture Program,” 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 “Cincinnati Black Yoga Network,” 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 – 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 “CMA Music Business Program” 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,"—three 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 “Creative Futures Initiative,” 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 “Financial Stewardship Program,” 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 “Community Doula Project,” 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 “Breaking Barriers Program,” 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 “Tech Savvy Seniors Program,” 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 “Self-Love and Self-Care Empowerment Program,” 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 “Cincinnati Construction Academy,” 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.

Funding Class 2020

  • 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.


As the saying goes, “it takes a village.” We are grateful for our village of givers - every individual, corporation, and foundation that has invested in Black futures by supporting the Black Empowerment Works program. While we do not have the space to name everyone, below are a few.  

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The bi3 Fund
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US Bank

What Does Black Empowerment Works Fund?

We seek to fund Black-led work focused on building solutions and/or aligning systems to help families in our community thrive, with an intentional focus on supporting Black families. This grant opportunity is open to nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, for-profit social enterprises, community coalitions and individuals whose work meets our eligibility requirements.  Applicants may submit only ONE application per year, with amounts ranging from $4,000 to $40,000 annually. Collaborative projects are welcomed. Grants are renewable for a second year, contingent upon performance and funds available.

Single-Entity Applications (most common)

Single-entity applications are ones where the applying individual/organization will be the recipient of the grant funds and holds majority responsibility for carrying out the work as defined. While the work may be carried out in partnership with other organizations, the applicant holds primary decision-making authority. Single-entity applicants may request funds ranging from $4,000 to $40,000. 

Collaborative Applications

A collaborative is defined as a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations/groups to achieve a common goal or body of work. What sets collaboratives apart from traditional partnerships are the following qualities: 

  • Shared decision-making power with clearly defined roles for each member. 
  • Shared resources (members pool resources to carry out the work, and all receive a portion of requested Black Empowerment Works funds).
  • Defined shared outcomes, with all partners responsible for and accountable to working toward those outcomes. 

In determining if a collaborative is the best route, the question to ask is, “Is this work where if any one partner around the table is not provided with resources, the work cannot happen?”. 

Collaboratives will submit only one application, with a collaborative lead serving as our sole point of contact throughout the application process. Collaboratives may request up to $75,000 and must upload a “document of collaboration” as an attachment to their application.

Note: For any partner listed in a collaborative, this application counts as their one application for the year. For more details, see the Frequently Asked Questions section of this site. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Geography: Located and providing services within the UWGC nine-county service region (Hamilton, Clermont and Brown counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties in Kentucky; Dearborn and Ohio counties in Indiana).
  • Black Leadership and Labor: At least 60% of the leaders of the work (those empowered to make decisions on behalf of the group) identify as Black. The work has an intentional (though not necessarily exclusive) focus on advancing the well-being of Black people.
  • Grassroots/Community-Based: Community members, especially those directly or indirectly impacted by the focus of your work, have and continue to shape the work you do. Example: staff leading this work have direct experiences with the challenges your work seeks to overcome.
  • Community Benefit: The work benefits the community rather than benefitting any private individual, group or business. The work has a focus on individuals, families and/or communities with limited access to resources. 
  • Actionable: The work is far enough along in development or execution that if provided funding, it could produce measurable results within the grant cycle.

Ineligible Work

  • General business operating support.
    • This is not a traditional small-business grant. Applications must demonstrate a community benefit, aligned to one of the focus areas and beyond a benefit provided to employees and stakeholders of the business.  
  • Capital campaigns (a targeted fundraising effort to raise a large amount of money in a specific timeframe for a large project, like securing or developing a property).  
  • Political campaigns or partisan political work.  
  • Debt reduction or work occurring prior to the grant period. 
  • Work occurring outside of the UWGC nine-county service region.


*Please note: Cycle 4 funding has been completed, and the application process is closed.

Grantees will be selected by community reviewers, with all applications reviewed by no fewer than three people. In addition to a written application, grant applicants will be invited to speak with reviewers to learn more about the work.

Interested in Being a Community Reviewer?

Community Reviewers are community members who are passionate about and invested in Black futures. They work collaboratively to decide what work gets funded each grant cycle. Click to learn more about the review process.

Multiple Funds. One Application.

Black Empowerment Works has invested in community partners through three funding pools: our general funding plus two special funds - the Always Confidence Fund and the bi3 Health Equity Fund. Selected work will be funded through ONE of these sources.

In addition to investing in a broad range of social impact causes such as education, economic mobility and community organizing and coalition-building (see the FAQ section below or grant information packet for other issue areas), Black Empowerment Works also includes two specialized funds in partnership with local strategic partners:

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The Always Confidence Fund

In alignment with the Black Empowerment Works focus and P&G Always brand’s mission to unleash girls’ and women’s confidence, the Always Confidence Fund will invest in Black Empowerment Works-eligible work that:

  • Tackles societal barriers on period stigma and gender inequality.  
  • Supports confidence-building of puberty-aged people with periods.  
  • Provides access to period products and education to help people with periods understand their bodies.  

Priority will be given to work that addresses one of the opportunity areas lifted up by the panel of girls who helped to shape the fund:  

  1. Frank conversations and education around periods to reduce stigma and mystery.  
  2. Period education for boys and men. 
  3. Reshape, challenge school policies and practices that negatively impact girls.  
  4. Equip public spaces, especially schools, with a diverse array of period and period-adjacent products and resources.  
  5. Create/provide opportunities for girls to explore their interests, whether they be academic, creative, or career focused.
  6. Provide space for girls to practice positive self-care.  
  7. Equip people to advocate for the safety and protection of girls (and equip girls to advocate for themselves).
The bi3 Fund

bi3 Health Equity Fund

In partnership with Black Empowerment Works, the bi3 Health Equity Fund invests in Black-led 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations working to improve health outcomes and build health equity, transforming the health and well-being of all people in Greater Cincinnati.

In 2023-2024, the bi3 Health Equity Fund will prioritize organizations focused on the following:

  • Accelerating birth equity

    Projects that improve the birth experience and reduce health disparities in maternal and infant health, resulting in better outcomes for Black families, including initiatives that address racial and social barriers that lead to poor outcomes.
  • Improving youth mental health

    Projects that improve mental health and provide mental health services, resources and assistance for Black youth, including projects focused on prevention and reducing stigma. Special priority will be given to youth-led projects.

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Want to Learn More? Access the Information Packet

We encourage all applicants to review the full Request for Proposals information packet.

This document provides more details about the program, including instructions for navigating the online system and a complete list of application questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the program support new work?

Yes. The Black Empowerment Works program is open to new work, existing work and existing work with a new twist.

Is the grant open only to existing nonprofit organizations?

No! Beyond existing nonprofits, we are open to funding for-profit social enterprises, individuals and community coalitions. For work not connected to a nonprofit 501(c)(3), leaders can either choose to be funded through a fiscal sponsor or assume the tax liability of the grant.

Are there specific focus areas for investment?

We are open to a diverse array of work. The focus areas you’ll be asked to select from are listed below. You can pick more than one.  

  • Quality Early Child Care and Education (Ages 0-5)  
  • Quality K-12 Education, including academic after-school time 
  • Youth Social Emotional Skill Building and Leadership Development 
  • Career and Post-Secondary Preparation, Exploration and Training  
  • Financial Empowerment and Asset Building  
  • Basic Needs and Housing  
  • Birth Equity (assurance of optimal births)  
  • Physical Health  
  • Mental Health  
  • Systems Change, Mobilizing and Movement Building  
  • Community and Social Connectedness  
  • Other (You will be asked to describe your focus area in the application.)

What makes a strong application?

Some of the qualities of a strong grant application include: 

  • The proposed work is clear, defined.  
  • The provided budget and timeline are clear and feasible.  
  • With funding and other supports, the organization can demonstrate having sufficient capacity and resources to carry out the proposed work.  
  • The work can produce measurable works within a year (September 2023 – September 2024)  
  • The work demonstrates a strong alignment to the BEW eligibility criteria, especially the “community-based” and “community benefit” criteria.  
  • The work demonstrates strong alignment to one of the focus areas identified or makes a strong case for another focus area.

I am a member of two organizations looking to apply. Is that OK?

So long as the work is distinct and other members of the leadership team are different, your name can be attached to multiple applications.

If I receive funding, what will I be required to do and report?

All selected organizations will be required to submit necessary paperwork to receive the grant. Grantees will have no fewer than two check-in calls with UWGC staff annually. A final report will be due at the end of the grant year.

Is the Collaborative application different from the Single-Entity application?

The application form itself is the same, but the applicant will take a different approach to answering the questions. All responses should amplify the collaboration. Additionally, collaboratives will be required to submit a “document of collaboration” describing the current state and structure of the collaborative, the distinct roles of the partners and an agreement to share resources. This could be a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among all partners, letters of commitment or partnership agreements. 

Will Black Empowerment Works give preference to Collaborative applications over Single-Entity applications in making funding decisions?

Not necessarily. We look at overall strength of the applications submitted. A strong single-entity application could be selected over a less-strong collaborative one. 

If preference is not given to Collaborative applications, what is the benefit of applying as a collabortative?

Collaboratives can request more in funds than single-entity applicants. We honor that it might take more resources to carry out intentionally with others.

What happens if a collaborative is funded in an amount less than what was requested?

We would work with the collaborative partners to determine modifications, which is the same strategy we take with single-entity applicants.

Can I be a part of a collaborative and submit a Single-Entity application for separate work?

No. The collaborative application would count as the one submission of the year for all collaborative members listed.

Additional Information & Resource Events


Click or tap below to watch recordings of each Black Empowerment Works Cycle 4 Workshop or watch on YouTube.

Information Session | BEW Funding Class 2023

Are you grant-ready? | BEW Grant Workshop #1 | May 9, 2023

Application Deep Dive | BEW Grant Workshop #2 | May 16, 2023

Designing, Delivering and Evaluating Programs | BEW Grant Workshop #3 | May 23, 2023

Building a Budget that Works | BEW Grant Workshop #4 | May 30, 2023

Applying as a Collaborative | Black Empowerment Works Cycle 4

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