Since Black Empowerment Works' inception in 2020, 116 community reviewers have invested over 3,000 hours reading applications, speaking with applicants and selecting grantees. To date, they've helped United Way award $5 million to 130 Black-led ideas.
Black Empowerment Works promotes Black self-determination, social mobility and economic prosperity by providing resources and funding to grassroots/community-based, Black-led work (ideas, programs and projects). Since its inception in 2020, the program has invested over $5 million into 130 ideas and their leaders.
This work exists for two reasons:
This work would not be possible without the 116 community reviewers who, since the program’s inception in 2020, have invested over 3,000 hours reading applications, speaking with applicants and selecting grantees each cycle.
“As a reviewer for Black Empowerment Works you are plugged into the many innovative and creative, black-led local initiatives designed to meet the needs in the communities' individuals live and serve."
– Angela White, 2020 Reviewer
"I think this opportunity provided unique and exceptional networking opportunity to connect with other reviewers... Not to mention a great personal and professional development opportunity for us as reviewers.”
– Diamond Brown, 2021 Reviewer
"It not only helped a community I care about but helped bring light to the crucial role the under-recognized entrepreneurs in the city play to help it grow and develop.”
– Garrison Mays, 2021 Reviewer
"I loved the recognition that black folks are brilliant, talented, capable, and will be the creators of sustainable changes in our community. I also appreciated the opportunity to take part in a process that sought to address poverty—an issue that black communities have inherited because of generations of systemic racism.”
– Josselyn Okorodudu, 2020 Reviewer
For more details about becoming a reviewer, review the information below and the Reviewer Information Packet. We strongly encourage reviewing this document before you apply.
The Reviewer application opens May 1 and closes June 5 at midnight EDT.
We believe those closest to any opportunity or challenge are closest to the solution. This belief is foundational to the Black Empowerment Works program, both in terms of who receives investment and who has the power to make the investment decisions.
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.
Community Reviewers will work in small teams of three to five, evaluating a subset of the applications submitted. Through written application reviews and conversations with grant applicants, they will work to identify applicants in their pool they wish to fund. Final funding decisions will be made following the assessment of information collected from all review teams.
No prior experience is required.
Each facet of the Black Empowerment Works grant cycle is intended to build solutions and align systems to help families in our community thrive, with a specific focus on Black families and individuals. The grant cycle is not solely about investing dollars into great, Black-led work, but also investing in the people who raise their hands to make the decisions.
All reviewers will take the VIA Character Strengths Assessment.
By taking part in the decision-making process, Community Reviewers will experience:
We appreciate the time that our community members put into this process. While this is a volunteer opportunity, there are monetary tokens of appreciation offered.
In general, we are looking for people who are:
Community Reviewers can expect to spend approximately 30 hours between June 15 and Aug. 21 consisting of training, independent application review, decision-making meetings and grant applicant conversations.
|Reviewer Application Due||June 5, 2023|
|Meet & Greet Happy Hour (Optional)||June 20, 2023|
In-person Reviewer Training
|June 24 or June 29, 2023|
Virtual Mock Small Group Sessions
|July 6 or July 7, 2023|
Individual Application Review
|July 10-25, 2023|
Small Team Meeting #1
|July 26 or July 27, 2023|
Reviewer / Applicant Conversations
|July 31-Aug. 12, 2023|
Small Team Meeting #2
|Aug. 14 or 15, 2023|
All-Reviewer Decision Meeting
|Aug. 21, 2023|
Click or tap below to watch recordings of each Black Empowerment Works Cycle 4 Workshop or watch on YouTube.