Black Investment Fund offering business grants

Black Investment Fund offering business grants

Jul. 17—ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The city of Albuquerque’s $1 million program aimed at helping the local Black community is open for applications — at least through Monday.

Administrators are using a portion of the city-supported Black Investment Fund for grants to Black-owned businesses and Black-serving nonprofit organizations. Businesses are eligible for up to $50,000 each, while nonprofits can qualify for up to $20,000 apiece.

Applications for the money will be accepted through 5 p.m. Monday, July 19.

The One Albuquerque Fund — a city-supporting foundation — is administering the program funded with city money.

Nicole Bedford, a coordinator working on the program, said the grants are the first phase and will represent about $300,000 to $400,000 worth of spending.

Most of the rest will go toward a second phase that remains in development.

The next phase will be more program-based, Bedford said. It could entail training opportunities for business owners or investments related to arts, culture or even mental health. The Fund is presently soliciting feedback to help set the direction.

“We want the second phase to be as impactful as we can (make it) in the Black community,” she said.

Bedford said over 40 businesses and eight nonprofits had already applied for the grants as of earlier this week.

She said a steering committee that has helped design the program will also score all applications and make funding recommendations to the One Albuquerque Fund board of directors. The evaluation will consider applicants’ impact, need and viability — “the ability to survive or persist” — according to the application.

Bedford said the committee will try to spread the money around and that successful applicants may not end up with the maximum level of support.

“We’re trying to fund as many as we can,” she said.

The Black Investment Fund has been a year in the making.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller announced in June 2020 that the city would invest $1 million in the city’s Black community. The City Council ultimately approved the appropriation.

At the time, One Albuquerque Fund officials said they had no particular plan but would meet with the Black community to understand how best to address the needs.

Grant applications and a short survey to help develop the fund’s second phase are both available online at onealbuquerque.org/black-investment.

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