Kansas City G.I.F.T is a movement dedicated to cementing a better future for all. Founded in 2020, we have fought for impactful change for families, our communities and our city. We strive to be an actionable step after all the protests have ended, and to educate and empower others to take action. We work to ensure that we close the racial wealth gap, reduce poverty related crime and reverse the effects of systemic racism in our city.
Due to the discriminatory practices of Redlining in the 1920’s and 1930’s in Kansas City, Troost Ave. has long been seen as the dividing line between Black and white people of Kansas City, and the dividing line between high and low income communities.
Zip codes: 64109, 64110, 64127, 64128, 64130, and 64132, located east of Troost Ave. have the highest populated low income communities in Kansas City. Collectively they have a population of 107,398 residents and a poverty rate of 36%. Of those 107,398 residents, 75.18% of them are Black.
Zip codes: 64113, 64114, 64118, 64119, 64151, and 64152, located west of Troost or in Northern Kansas City, have the highest populated high income communities in Kansas City. Collectively they have a population of 145,554 residents and a poverty rate of 5.03%. Of those 145,554 residents, 91.82% of them are white.
Investing in Black owned businesses in low income communities is a proven method of increasing the economic prosperity of the community. However, banks often hinder that prosperity by discriminating against African American and other entrepreneurs of color seeking small business loans.
A 2017 study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition found that banks were twice as likely to provide business loans to white applicants than Black ones, and three times as likely to have follow-up meetings with white applicants than more qualified Black ones.
Generating Income For Tomorrow’s goal is to create a clear path to economic prosperity and wealth for the African American community in Kansas City.
We are doing this by providing grants to Black owned businesses in Kansas City, with a specific interest in businesses that operate in low income areas. We know that this creates more jobs and potentially converts an economically disadvantaged area into an area of economic opportunity.
Investing in Black-owned small businesses has been shown to be good for the local economy as a whole. 48% of small business purchases are recirculated locally compared to only 14% of purchases circulated by chain stores. Supporting Black-owned businesses supports families, employees, and other business owners, as well as attracts community investors who provide banking services, loans, and promote financial literacy--all things that build economic strength. Black-owned small businesses are also likely to hire from the local community, supporting them has been shown to foster the job opportunities people need to achieve financial stability.
After many hours of conversations, we feel strongly that we can have the greatest impact on the community by providing grants rather than loans to the business that we fund. Success will be determined by business growth, job creation, and positive impact on the community. By doing this, we are reducing the transportation barrier, that prevents those who live in a community of high concentrated poverty from being able to get to good paying jobs, we can increase the wealth of the residents that already live in the community, thus having the potential to transform an entire area.
After extensive outreach to Black business owners in Kansas City to assess the current needs of the community, the following program has been created:
We provide growth grants in the amounts of $25,000 & $50,000 while also providing startup grants in the amount of $10,000
We provide all of our recipients with a team of technical assistance professionals in the realms of Business Coaching, Accounting, Marketing and Legal services
We will give out a minimum of one growth grant and one startup grant per month
Our hope is that we will eventually be able to create 100-200 new jobs in low income communities each year through direct job creation (initial grant funding) and indirect job creation (being a catalyst for business growth). Over the next 5 years we want to see a steady decline in the poverty rate of the Urban Core and work to fund the development of a Black owned grocery store in an food desert.
How We Determine What Black-Owned Businesses To Fund
We will primarily focus on the zip codes of Kansas City, MO that contain the highest concentrations of Black people living in poverty. This area is bordered by Ninth Street on the north, Bannister Road on the south, Troost Avenue on the west and Hardesty Drive on the east. This area is generally referred to as the Urban Core of the city.
We've developed a four-tier system for determining the priority of the types of businesses to provide grants to, with tier 1 being the highest priority based on community need and impact.
Tier 1 businesses have been identified as businesses that provide an essential good, such as food, clothing, and gas. Examples of these are grocery stores, convenient stores, gas stations, and clothing stores.
Tier 2 businesses have been identified as businesses that promote access to health and employment. Examples of these are health clinics, day care facilities, and skilled labor providers.
Tier 3 businesses have been identified as businesses that facilitate community and entertainment. Examples of these are community centers, bowling alleys, skating rinks, etc.
Tier 4 businesses have been identified as businesses that promote self improvement. Examples of these are gyms, spas, and mental health facilities.
It is important to note that while some of these businesses can be identified in the community and expanded upon, others will have to be built from scratch. Our minimum goal is to provide 12 grants per year, with one of those grants being used to fund the development of an essential business. Our year runs from May 1st to April 30th.
Business Oversight and Resources
Grant recipients will be required to sign an agreement stating that they will utilize the grant dollars in the exact manner described in their submitted grant application, in a timely manner. Failure to do so will cause the grant to be converted to debt and will require repayment.
During our conversations with Black business owners all throughout the Kansas City area, there were a few common business needs identified by most businesses that were unrelated to funding. In order to address those needs, we are implementing the following:
Each grant recipient will be required to register on Black Privilege’s App, which is a Black business directory.
Each grant recipient will be required to sign up a free membership with Black Excellence to increase networking and collaboration opportunities.
Each grant recipient will be offered a paid year of an entrepreneurial resources service to ensure that they have access to adequate bookkeeping, marketing, and business education services.