Black Empowerment Works

Black Empowerment Works promotes Black self-determination, social mobility and economic prosperity by resourcing and funding grassroots-generated, Black-led ideas, programs and projects.

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Black Empowerment Works promotes Black self-determination, social mobility and economic prosperity by resourcing and funding grassroots-generated, Black-led ideas, programs and projects. It is an equity-focused grant program addressing poverty. The 2020 Black Empowerment Works grant program was designed by the first class of Champions of Change. In June 2020, the first class of Black Empowerment Works grantees were selected.


We are proud to announce that we are NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for our 2021-2022 class of our Black Empowerment Works Program.

For more information about the processes, qualifications and how the program works, please visit or click the button below.



Black-Led efforts received funding.


Total dollars invested into the local community.


Star rating of program given by participants.


This case study highlights how a group of community volunteers—coordinated, coached, and cheered on by a team of facilitators—created an equity-focused grant program from the ground up. It’s a story about challenging power constructs, trust-based philanthropy and participatory grantmaking.



  • 2020-2021 GRANTEES
  • Agricademy ($25,000) for the Black Empowerment Works through Agriculture program which aims to increase access to healthy food and awareness around careers in the farming industry.

  • Cincinnati Music Accelerator ($8,500) for the CMA Community Music Tour program provides free concerts in predominantly Black neighborhoods while employing Black artists and vendors.

  • Cozy Home Childcare and Learning Center ($18,000) provides support in opening their quality childcare center in Avondale, greatly expanding their capacity to serve families.

  • DevonshireSmith Diversity and Education Solutions ($25,000) for the Pathways to Success College Access Program, developing and empowering Black high school students of lower incomes to achieve post-secondary readiness and success by providing comprehensive training, enrichment, and academic prep.

  • Easley Blessed Foundation ($25,000) for the Multimedia & Live Stream Production program, which provides hands-on training in software, photography, videography, content creation and more to youth and young adults with the ultimate goal of building career pathways and creating more media content developed by Black people.

  • Empire Consulting ($13,405) for the Establishing Generational Wealth program, providing community-based workshops to equip participants to build generational wealth through financial planning.

  • Envision Children ($25,000) for their Catch Every Child program providing out-of-school educational programs and private tutoring to increase academic performance.

  • Extreme Clean Auto Detailing LLC ($25,000) provides employment and training opportunities for community members considered hard-to-employ.

  • Filling the Gap ($20,000) for the Prison to Professional: College Readiness and Leadership Development Program, providing training and peer coaching to individuals returning to the area from incarceration.

  • Gourd-geous Sacred Vessels ($25,000) channels the community's creativity into an income-producing arts and craft manufacturing venture.

  • High Achievers Aim High ($25,000) for the HUSTLE Academy program, a leadership training and entrepreneurship program in partnership with Cincinnati high schools (Oyler, Shroder, Taft, West High, Winton Woods and Woodward) and MORTAR.

  • Hodge-EDU LLC ($25,000) for the ALPHA-Male program, which aims to close the academic achievement gap for school-aged African American males at Silverton Paideia by providing math enrichment.

  • iCan Health LLC ($9,889) provides self-management resources to support individuals with a diagnosis of Pre-diabetes and Diabetes Type 2.

  • Isaiah 55, Inc ($5,000) for the Breaking Generational Cycles program, which aims to teach participants how to break cycles of poverty with education in the areas of nutrition, growing food and healthy behaviors.

  • Ladies of Leadership, LLC ($25,000) to sustain and expand their mentorship programming for girls grades 2-12.

  • Laundry Love Cincinnati ($25,000) for the Love-In-Action program, providing access to basic needs and services to individuals and families with lower incomes and those experiencing homelessness.

  • Madisonville Mission Ministries ($18,350) for the Financial Stewardship Program, addressing financial literacy and providing practical tools for improving the economic quality of life among African Americans.

  • Mentoring Young Men ($25,000) for the Summer Enrichment Program, centered on African American male students grades 3-6 at Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy.

  • New Prospect Baptist Church ($25,000) supports opening and operating their shelter for women experiencing homelessness.

  • Parents for Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati ($25,000) implement a comprehensive, research-based approach designed to provide parents and community members with the information and leadership skills to build educational partnerships that lead to improved academic performance.

  • Q-KIDZ Dance Team ($25,000) supports general operating expenses required to fulfill their mission of engaging kids through dance and educational programming.

  • Queen City Foundation ($20,000) for the Bridge to Excellence program, a new year-round educational enrichment program focused on youth grades 6-12.

  • SuperSeeds ($25,000) for the Options Day Program, aimed at disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline by providing alternate resources for discipline, focusing on youth development and restorative practices training for school administrators, law enforcement, and parents.

  • Sweet Sistah Splash ($10,000) for the Cincinnati Youth Entrepreneurs Camp and Business Fair, encouraging economic stability, business creation and retention by providing entrepreneurship education to youth ages 7-18.

  • The Green Store ($20,000) for ThatGreen.Life, equipping Black Millennials with the tools to live an eco-conscious and healthy lifestyle through a series of micro-courses, coaching/consulting and content creation.

  • Triiibe Foundation ($20,000) for Triiibe Works, a workforce development program centered on gardening and promoting healthy lifestyles.

  • West End Art Gallery ($22,400) supports a workshop series that provides access to art as a means of building healthy behaviors and community cohesion.

  • Youth at the Center ($15,000) for the Youth Leadership and Civic Engagement Academy, providing leadership education and training opportunities to youth grades 7-12.


For more information, contact:

Jena Bradley

Senior Manager, Community Impact 513-762-7118 | Email

Jena joined the United Way of Greater Cincinnati in 2014 and her passion exists at the intersection of public good, storytelling, and reallocating power. She believes that everyone has the ability to create positive change, but not everyone has equal access to the resources to do it; she wants to help change that. For questions about the Black Led Social change program and any subsidiaries, email her at or call 513-762-7118.

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