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BECMA report: 117% increase in grants in ’23

Trajan Warren

Banner Business Sponsored by The Boston Foundation

 

The Black Economic Council of Massachusetts issued twice as many grants in 2023 than the year before, according to the organization’s most recent annual report.

The BECMA annual report, released Wednesday, shows that the organization issued $609,000 in grants, a 117% increase from the $281,000 in grants issued in 2022.

Nicole Obi, BECMA president and CEO. COURTESY PHOTO

“In 2023, BECMA recommitted to closing the racial wealth gap in the Commonwealth, adopting a new mission to, in short, build and sustain Black wealth across Massachusetts,” said Nicole Obi, BECMA president and CEO, in the organization’s annual report.

“We worked to substantially grow our membership base, recognizing that the more knowledge we have about the Black business landscape in Massachusetts, the more we understand the needs of our communities and can advocate on their behalf,” Obi added.

BECMA supported 429 businesses in 2023, focusing on helping them secure larger contracts. This is a 168% increase from 2022, during which BECMA supported 160 businesses.

Jae’da Turner, founder of Black Owned Bos., said the grants received by BECMA were vital in stabilizing operations.

“While many businesses faced adversity, I consider myself fortunate to have had BECMA as a dependable support system during such trying times,” Turner said in the report.

BECMA launched BECMA Community Investments in 2023 to invest capital into local underserved enterprises to spur growth and help close the racial wealth gap. BCI has raised $1.6 million in capital as of April 1 and uses that capital as a “catalyst for building financial, knowledge, social and political power.”

The first grantee of the BCI initiative was And Still We Rise, which provides culturally affirming psychotherapy, consultation and life-coaching services. BECMA and Boston Impact Initiative invested $325,000 in And Still We Rise this past March.

“We experienced a transformative 2023 and are hard at work to scale our impact in 2024. Supporting and empowering Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses should be a priority for all residents of the Commonwealth, as growing the Black economy will strengthen the overall Massachusetts economy.” Obi said in the report.

Trajan Warren is a reporter for the Boston Business Journal