Recognizing their work in transforming economically disadvantaged areas in Kansas City to areas of economic opportunity, the Kansas City council honored the nonprofit Generating Income for Tomorrow (GIFT) during last week’s business session.

GIFT was founded last year after a group of friends posed the question, “what if $15,000 people donated $10 each month to support Black-owned businesses in Kansas City?” They knew it would have tremendous impact on Black-owned businesses that may be struggling due to the pandemic or were just starting up.

“We have lived and experienced the long standing, intentional and aggressive disinvestment in Black businesses, in the Black community and in everything east of Troost,” said Brandon Calloway, co-founder of GIFT. “We constantly hear that there are these people, developers or organizations who are trying to rectify it, but we were just a couple of dudes who got tired of hearing what everyone else was going to do and seeing what they weren’t doing, so we did it ourselves.

GIFT’s goal is improving the urban core by creating more jobs, building generational wealth and reducing poverty-related crime, all by funding businesses in need in the urban core.

“Oftentimes in this chamber, we recognize organizations that have been around for multiple years and have done amazing things, but GIFT has only been in operation for one year,” said Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, who introduced the resolution honoring GIFT. “And when you read the statistics of what they’ve been able to accomplish in one year, you will know why it’s so very important for us to take an opportunity to honor their work.”

In GIFT’s first year, they awarded $227,000 in grants to 14 businesses. As a result, those businesses were able to create 22 jobs and were able to save seven jobs.

In addition, in July, GIFT gave $50,000 to a Black-owned Montessori school on Troost Avenue, Dream Palace Education Center, and $10,000 to a Black woman-owned lawn care company, Fearless Chix.

“These businesses that GIFT support reside in historically disinvested parts of our community, and they realize the importance of growing the local economy, especially in areas that are hurting most,” Robinson said. “GIFT is the gift that keeps on giving.”

To donate to GIFT, visit their website: https://www.kansascitygift.org/donate.

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