Every February, we take the time to recognize the contributions Black Americans have made in the past. But this Black History Month, we also should celebrate the contributions they’re making in the present. Here are five, Virginia-based, Black-owned nonprofits to follow and support this year:
1. Pretty Purposed
Founded in Petersburg in 2014, Pretty Purposed’s mission is to empower young women (ages 9-14) in the Southside Virginia region. The organization offers different programs that promote the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of its participants. During meetings, the girls learn about a range of topics, from fostering healthy relationships, leadership skills and practicing conflict resolution, to nutritional education, physical fitness and entrepreneurship.
Currently, Pretty Purposed is looking for more volunteers to serve as mentors and leaders for its programs. In order to continue its vital work, it also is accepting donations. To find out more, you can visit its website here.
2. EduStar Performing Arts Society (EPAS)
EduStar Performing Arts Society (EPAS), founded in 2006, is the nonprofit branch of the Hampton Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama. This organization’s mission is to teach performing arts to the youth in the Hampton community and provide performance venues for them to showcase what they’ve learned. EduStar specifically supports students from moderate to low-income households and allows them to access cultural arts programs that they may not otherwise have been able to afford. Because of generous donors, EduStar has been able to finance the participation of every child who has wanted to be a part of its programs, sometimes at no cost to their families.
According to a survey conducted by EPAS, 100% of the parents said that these programs have made a difference in their child’s development and helped to shape them into well-rounded students. In fact, many former and current students at EPAS are pursuing and/or have careers in the arts, such as teaching or performing.
With additional funding, EPAS hopes to increase the number of scholarships it can award to deserving children. It also hopes to expand partnerships with local school districts by supplementing their fine arts programs. To learn more about EPAS, you can visit its website here.
3. The Destined for Greatness (DFG) Project
The Destined for Greatness Project is a nonprofit created in 2020 dedicated to financially empowering and uplifting people of color in the Greater Richmond area. DFG believes that financial literacy is one of the biggest obstacles that communities of color face when it comes to wealth disparity. Its main goal is to promote financial education through programs that explain generational wealth for youth and adults, entrepreneurship and paying for college. DFG designs custom programs depending on the size, location, age and needs of the group to better serve the community.
Currently, DFG is looking for volunteers, facilitators and donations to support its services. If you’d like to learn more about this organization, you can visit its website here.
4. Concerned Black Men of Richmond (CBM-R)
CBM-R is the Richmond chapter of Concerned Black Men (CBM), a national nonprofit that provides positive male role models and mentors to primarily Black youth. Founded in 1975 in Philadelphia, CBM’s mission is to eliminate gang influence and high crime among youth. While the stereotype of gang violence and crime mostly may be associated with larger cities, Richmond’s homicide rate reached a 15-year high in 2021. CBM-R’s work may be more important now than ever before.
Specifically, CBM-R’s programs and activities address five issues: career development, academic development, cultural awareness, personal growth and recreation. Each program has a specific theme, such as self-respect/self-esteem and personal development. CBM-R hopes that its offerings will help youth make wise decisions in their transition through adolescence and into adulthood.
If you would like to support CBM-R’s mission, you can contribute a tax-deductible donation. Additionally, you can designate CBM-R to receive funds through private, local, state and federal workplace campaigns or volunteer to serve as one of its mentors. To learn more, visit its webpage here.
5. The Virginia Black Business Directory (VABBD)
Last, but certainly not least, we have The Virginia Black Business Directory (VABBD). The VABBD was founded in 2020 to increase the overall support of Black-owned businesses throughout the D.C., Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area. Its goal is to help members thrive and achieve generational wealth by creating entrepreneurship opportunities.
According to the University of California, Berkeley, eight out of 10 Black-owned businesses in America fail within the first 18 months due to lack of resources and funding. VABBD seeks to generate wealth within a community that has been historically marginalized. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these businesses have struggled to remain open, both from a lack of funding and access to capital.
When a business joins the VABBD, it is listed as part of the directory and gains access to networking, marketing and educational opportunities. As of June 2021, the VABBD has over 1,000 members and the businesses range from corporations and LLCs to religious organizations and other nonprofits.
If you’d like to get involved, the VABBD is always looking for new members or sponsors. For more information, visit its website here.