United Way, partners invest record $1.9M in Black-led organizations

Dozens of Black-led organizations, programs and community efforts focused on helping Greater Cincinnati families thrive are receiving a major capital investment through the Black Empowerment Works program.

The United Way of Greater Cincinnati-led program awarded a record $1.9 million this year. Grants are going to 53 organizations. Their focus areas range from maternal and mental health to community art to financial empowerment.

Grant amounts range from $17,000 to $75,000. 

Black Art Speaks, for example, received $67,500 to find art-focused, innovative solutions for addressing violence, and promote community healing, in the Cincinnati neighborhoods of Avondale and Roselawn.

Some of the other funding recipients include Black Boys in Tech ($40,000), Cincinnati Music Accelerator ($25,500), My Brother’s Keeper Cincinnati ($40,000), and Revolution Dance Theatre and David Choate Productions ($40,000).

Girls Health Period received $34,000 to provide menstrual and STEM education to students, coaches and players to educate and keep female-identifying students in sports.

The program is an ongoing partnership with P&G Always brand and bi3, a philanthropic funding agency focused on health and health care solutions.

A full list of grant recipients and project details is below.

“United Way is committed to tackling deep-rooted problems that hold families back and building solutions that ensure economic well-being for all,” said Moira Weir, president and CEO of UWGC. “We are excited to engage with this new class of grantees, supporting them as leaders and amplifying their work.”

Through its first four grant cycles, the Black Empowerment Works program has awarded $5 million to 133 groups since 2020.

This year, 53 Greater Cincinnati community members played a role in reviewing applications and selecting the grantees. The group spent a combined 1,590 hours working reviewing the nearly 300 applications.

“By shifting decision-making power to community members, we are opening ourselves up to new possibilities,” said Jena Bradley, director of Black-led Social Change at UWGC.

Bradley noted that the overall goal of the Black Empowerment Works program is to provide access to resources, partnership opportunities and what the United Way describes as “sharing power” with the community.

“By providing these kinds of flexible resources, we aim to create space for leaders to imagine new futures and bring them to life,” she added.

This was the third year of the United Way’s partnership with P&G Always brand and the second year with bi3. Through these partnerships, Black Empowerment Works invests in organizations through three funding pools: general funding, the Always Confidence Fund and the bi3 Health Equity Fund.

Jill Miller, president and CEO of Bethesda Inc.
Jill Miller, president and CEO of bi3 and Bethesda Inc.

bi3 awarded a $1 million grant to the program last year to establish its specialty fund. It’s focused on providing assistance to Black-led organizations working to improve health outcomes.  

“bi3 recognizes that Black-led organizations are best positioned to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes in the Black community,” Jill Miller, president and CEO of bi3, said. “By partnering with those closest to the issues, we can lead the way to a day when every person has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.”  


Grant recipient details

All-In Cincinnati Equity Coalition – $63,325 
Increase the number of successful Black women-owned businesses in Hamilton County through an entrepreneur bootcamp.

Black Art Speaks – $67,500
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. (Partnership with Avondale Community Council and Roselawn Community Council)

Black Boys in Tech – $40,000 
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
Launch an 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
Increase access to healthy foods, food literacy and career opportunities for Black residents in Cincinnati.

Black Women Cultivating Change – $20,000
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
Provide training and mentorship to help Black residents of Greater Cincinnati pursue a career in the floriculture and floral design industry.

Breastfeeding Outreach for Our Beautiful Sisters (BOOBS) – $30,000)
Provide health education services dedicated to women and babies in the community. (bi3 Health Equity Fund) 

Brick Gardens – $32,000
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
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
Support the Avon Yard Project, an Avondale space designed to host activities and entertainment for the Black community

Cincinnati Parent Empowerment Network – $24,000
Expand its social-media-driven community resource network to include new staff members focused on legislative advocacy and digital inclusion. It’ll also launch a teen technology center.

Connecting For Impact – $17,000
Educate, empower and enlist current and future voters to exercise their voice through their vote in every election. 

Dieudonne Foundation – $30,000
Support the foundation’s Haitian Women Empowerment program.

Easley Blessed Foundation – $40,000
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
Develop a wellness platform called BE Camp to support the mental health needs of Black women in our community. It’s conceived as a retreat experience and ongoing connectivity circle to support participants’ mental health and holistic wellness. 

Girls Health Period – $34,000
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
Support Dine on a Dime, which provides meal preparation classes to individuals and families with food insecurities. 

Gray Road Church of Christ – $30,000
Support the church’s mobile food pantry, which distributes nutritious food to underserved communities.

Hearts in the Park – $40,000 
Launch an effort to support people with disabilities.

Isaiah 55 Inc. – $30,000
Expand the Kanggy Mobile Meals program to multiple neighborhoods. The program offers hot meals, meal kits, resources and training.

Jamaa Health and Diasporic Soul – $65,000
Funds will support the Peace of Mind Project, which aims to bring 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
Support its efforts to launch a boxing gym focused on the physical and mental health and well-being of young people.

MENtors – $30,000
Provide youth enrichment programming to support children in single-parent households.

Motherhood & Mental Health – $40,000
Address Black maternal mental health and social issues associated with Black motherhood. (bi3 Health Equity Fund)

My Brother’s Keeper Cincinnati – $40,000
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
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
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

Empower underserved youth, ages 5 to 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
Promote equity and justice for the Black autism community in Cincinnati. There will be a focus on uplifting and nurturing families with newly diagnosed children. (bi3 Health Equity Fund)

Pregnancy Loves Company – $30,000
Provide doula and maternal support services to Black moms and families. 

Preston Brown Foundation Inc. – $40,000
Partner with schools and organizations to provide mental health programming to youth and Youth Mental Health First Aid education to supporting adults. (bi3 Health Equity Fund) 

Push Through Society – $20,000
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
Support the Transformational Healing Program, a therapeutic experience designed to empower Black women through mindfulness and other healing modalities.

Reginald Johnson – $30,000 
Support the Next Generation Music Program, which provides music lessons, workshops and classes specifically tailored to African American youth. 

Reliable Plus Heating and Air – $32,000
Provide HVAC training to prepare individuals for employment as HVAC technicians upon certification.

Revolution Dance Theatre and David Choate Productions – $40,000
Support the Dream Project, engaging underrepresented youth to demonstrate the power of representation in media.

Robert O’Neal Multicultural Arts Center – $30,000
Support its two flagship arts programs in the West End. 

Rosemary’s Babies Co. – $40,000
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 
Provide youth (kindergarten through sixth grade) with resources, events and programming focused on expanding a student’s literacy skills and physical fitness, while also encouraging parental-child engagement. 

Soul Palette – $40,000
Host a second cohort of the C.A.N.V.A.S Mentoring visual arts program, which focuses on youth, ages 12 to 18. (P&G Always Confidence Fund) 

Sprouting Minds – $40,000
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
Improve access to health care and reduce health disparities among marginalized communities.

SuperSeeds and I Dream Academy – $75,000
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 
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 
Expand its I CAN literacy program. 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
Work 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
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
Provide full-spectrum childbirth education and an ecosystem of related services that will follow a Black mother from pregnancy through the postpartum year. (bi3 Health Equity Fund)  

Their Voice of Greater Cincinnati – $40,000
Support its mission to uplift, inspire and support families affected by cerebral palsy.

Trazana A Staples Alternative Stroke Recovery Fund – $30,000
Continue and expand its Intergenerational Wellness Partners workshop series.

We Rock the Spectrum Cincinnati – $40,000
Provide an inclusive after-school program supporting youth and families in Greater Cincinnati. 

Youth At The Center – $30,000
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. 

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