A Cincinnati-based Black professionals organization with 5,000 local members has landed a $50,000 grant from the foundation of the nation’s second largest bank to help it launch chapters in Cleveland and Columbus.
While working as an information technology project manager at Fifth Third Bank, West Side native Michael Moore in 2018 started Black Achievers primarily as a way to connect diverse talent to employers. Now working full time on his nonprofit for the past nine months as its third employee, Moore will use the new Bank of America Charitable Foundation funding to give his organization the capacity to help more people either start or buy a business.
“In many cases, wealth creation and economic mobility starts with entrepreneurship,” said Moore, Black Achievers’ president and CEO. “This support from Bank of America helps us lay a foundation for people living in underserved communities to change their lives through entrepreneurship.”
The Cleveland chapter launched Aug 3 with over 300 Black professionals signing up for a kickoff event. Eight local leaders in Cleveland provided information on topics such as career advancement, small business financing and real estate investing. The Columbus chapter kickoff is scheduled for Sept. 15.
Black Achievers is also making available via Zoom for people living in Cleveland and Columbus its Business Academy and Business Institute programs. The academy helps young professionals learn the fundamentals of starting a business. The institute is hosted in partnership with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Cincinnati Minority Business Accelerator. The focus of the institute is to help educate Black professionals on the process of buying existing businesses in the $1 million to $10 million range.
“The grant will have a huge impact on our budget by allowing us to hire a director to implement our chapter expansion strategy,” said Moore. “We have proof of concept now but we have a long way to go. We have identified 10 additional cities for chapter expansion in 2023. The Bank of America grant will allow us to expand in these new markets and create a leadership team in each city. The key to success is finding local leaders and companies like Bank of America, who believe in our mission to help more African Americans achieve the American Dream.”
Moore is an Elder graduate who wants to replicate the power of the Elder network for Black professionals. He hopes to grow his organization from its current 30,000 members nationally to 1 million members in 100 cities. Memberships range from $29 per year for students to $149 per year for business owners. The $50,000 in new funding joins $300,000 Moore has attracted from funders and partners in the Cincinnati region.
“This is our first time granting to Michael, who we met last year,” said Jennifer Hurd, Bank of America’s Ohio market leader. “He’s got and continues to build an incredible network.”
The $50,000 going to Black Achievers is part of $700,000 the bank has granted to 15-20 organizations in amounts between $25,000-$50,000 in the Greater Cincinnati area so far this year. The total will grow to $1 million by year end when it chooses its annual recipients of its largest neighborhood-builder grants, $200,000 over two years. Past recipients include Freestore Foodbank, Cincinnati Works and the Urban League.
“Addressing community needs through our philanthropic investments is just one way we deploy
capital to help build a more sustainable community,” said Mark Ryan, Bank of America’s Cincinnati market president. “We’re honored to partner with nonprofit organizations like Black Achievers across the Ohio Valley that are helping to advance economic and social progress, in particular for vulnerable populations.”