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Community Challenge aims to promote economic equity and increase neighborhood business growth, sustainability

The challenge aims to promote Black-owned businesses across the city and increase capital flow to neighborhoods they are located in
GRABB Sankofa MIxer Pop-up Shop

GRABB Sankofa MIxer Pop-up Shop /Rich Photography

Underwriting support from:
GRABB Sankofa MIxer Pop-up Shop

GRABB Sankofa MIxer Pop-up Shop /Rich Photography

Earlier this year Grand Rapids was listed in a Forbes article as 51st out of 52 as worst places economically for African Americans. One of the indicators used was self-employed (Business ownership) coupled with data from economist Manuel Pastor stating that nearly 49% of African Americans in Grand Rapids are living in poverty. To address these issues, Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) launched their 30 days 30 dollars challenge.

The Grand Rapids Area Black Business 30 Days 30 Dollars challenge aims to promote Black-owned businesses across the city and increase capital flow to neighborhoods they are located in. GRABB's economic empowerment initiative primarily seeks to raise the community's awareness of Black owned businesses while increasing the capital flowing to these businesses. Secondly, our intent is to aide in the sustainability of locally owned black businesses that support families. By doing so we will increase employment opportunities for residents within neighborhoods of focus that will lead to a reduction in the unemployment rate and begin to revitalize economically neglected neighborhoods.

GRABB challenges our community to purchase $30 or more in products and/or services from Black businesses in the Greater Grand Rapids Area through our #30days30dollars challenge. Our challenge seeks to slow the leakage of dollars leaving predominantly Black neighborhoods. The goal is to make the average dollar stay in Black neighborhoods longer than six hours - which is nationally the current length of time dollars stay in Black neighborhoods. African American neighborhoods are neither creating nor building wealth because of the extreme leakage of dollars. A full 98% of dollars leave predominately African American neighborhoods, leaving only 2% to start and support businesses, acquire assets that buildspersonal wealth, provide supplemental education opportunities for neighborhood children and invest in the upkeep and maintenance of their neighborhood.

One reason why there is such a high percentage of dollars leaking out of Black neighborhood has to do with the limited overall number and variety of Black businesses. To a certain extent there seems to be misalignment between the types of products and services offered by Black businesses and the type of products and services sought by Black consumers. Location of Black businesses also play a role in dollar leakage. In predominately Black neighborhoods you find that most if not all businesses are owned by non-African Americans. Many of the business owners are immigrants who neither live nor reinvest in the neighborhoods their businesses are located in.

With that being said, we have some great Black businesses in the Greater Grand Rapids with great products and services. The challenge we have is locating, supporting and championing these businesses. This creates a plethora of business opportunities for those looking to go into business for themselves. Grand Rapids in an entrepreneurial city so if we are missing or lacking the type of businesses and industries that would drastically reduce dollars leaking out predominately Black neighborhoods, then it's our responsibility to launch them.

From October 1 to 31, we are challenging 900 residents to commit to shifting $30 of their monthly spending to Black owned businesses, with the overall goal of increasing the length of time dollars remain in Black neighborhood businesses. By shifting your dollars to Black businesses, you will be playing a vital role improving the quality of life in economically marginalized neighborhoods in Grand Rapids while purchasing great products and services. By the end of our #30days30dollars challenge, we will realize the collective strength of our dollars and the strength of the people in our community.


Take the pledge to support Black businesses and economic equity here.

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