Since May 2020, nonprofit Generating Income for Tomorrow (GIFT) has awarded more than $200,000 to Black-owned businesses in Kansas City’s urban core, helping them grow and sustain.
“We’re always trying to figure out how we can help more businesses right now,” said GIFT co-founder and CEO Brandon Calloway.
To help local businesses in even more ways, on the last Saturday of each month, GIFT is hosting a Black Business Market that is free for both participating vendors and the public. This month’s market is Oct. 30 at GIFT’s office, 325 E 31st St. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We would love to be able to give grants to every small Black-owned business but, having events like this helps us to still be tangibly impactful,” said Karis Harrington, chief of business development at GIFT. “We want to make sure we're present in the community and that our business owners know that we're there to support them in any way that we can.”
This month’s vendors include Ophelia’s Blue Vine Farm, food truck KC Cajun, vegan food vendor Wyldkard Lyfestyle, tea shop Soulcentricitea and fitness brand Goddess Fitness.
The Black Business Market gives an opportunity for small businesses to continue selling in the colder months when there are fewer opportunities for outdoor pop ups.
“Many vendors lose the opportunity to be economically impacted in a positive way during winter months,” Harrington said.
Harrington and Calloway anticipate a great turnout and urge people to come out and support local Black-owned businesses.
“There's a wide range of vendors at the Black Business Market and you'll absolutely be able to find at least one thing that you want to buy,” Calloway said.
GIFT is always accepting applications for their small business grants. Through April 2022, the nonprofit will be awarding two grants each month -- one $10,000 grant and one either $25,000 or $50,000 grant -- to help small businesses grow. To learn more about how to apply, visit GIFT’s website: https://www.kansascitygift.org/get-funded.
GIFT is also looking for volunteers to offer technical assistance to businesses including business professionals, accountants, bookkeepers, photographers, those who specialize in marketing strategy and website design. To volunteer, visit: https://www.kansascitygift.org/take-action.
To donate to GIFT, visit: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/generating-income-for-tomorrow/g-i-f-t-gala-uap-matching-grant.