If a Black-owned business has modest revenue and relies on word of mouth to operate, broadening its customer base is critical to success. Thanks to two “socialpreneurs,” Hillary Van Dyke and Joshua Bean, countless Black-owned businesses in the area get help through the Green Book of Tampa Bay (Green Book).
Green Book is a nonprofit Black-owned businesses directory featuring businesses in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Along with the directory, Hillary and Joshua help boost Black-owned businesses when opportunities arise.
Let’s find three organizations that support Black businesses. Venture Philanthropy Fund Benefactor
Green Book got creative with a $35,000 grant from the Venture Philanthropy Fund (VenturePF) held at Pinellas Community Foundation (PCF). The agency used the grant to develop websites for 53 Black-owned businesses in Tampa Bay. The initiative gave the businesses an internet presence, raising their profile and validating their existence.
An anonymous donor established VenturePF to support and help grow the capacity of agencies with $100,000 and less in assets. PCF Venture Philanthropy Advisor J.A. Morton was familiar with Green Book’s mission and budget, and she saw the potential to advance its proficiencies.
“The donor who funded Venture Philanthropy knew there would be Black businesses in South St. Pete that could not apply for PPP because they lacked resources to gather the required documentation,” said J.A. “The donor was concerned they would not get funding, so he said, ‘Let’s find three organizations that support Black businesses.’”
Green Book was one of the organizations that fit the grant qualifications. Besides publishing the directory and helping businesses with an online presence via the PCF grant, the agency has trained Black-owned businesses with technical support for the websites. Indeed, many owners could not apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to keep workers on the payroll during COVID-19, and they needed a website to add legitimacy. “Each owner had a story to tell,” said Hillary. “We made their stories visual.” For more information, visit the Green Book website.
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Support the critical capital improvement and equipment needs of local nonprofit organizations by becoming a member of Pinellas Community Foundation. Gifts of all sizes are valued, and through the power of pooled investing, make a lasting impact.