NEW ORLEANS — In New Orleans, only 2 to 3 percent of sales go to minority-owned businesses, according to Thrive New Orleans Executive Director Chuck Morse.
He said they face many more obstacles to success.
“Whether it’s not being able to get loans, not to be able to get contracts, not being able to get into the door to have a conversation with a potential client,” Morse said.
Thrive is working to help close the racial wealth gap.
Through its training centers and Restoration Thrift Store, the non-profit seeks to develop people and build opportunity.
“Affordable Housing is part of our paradigm, we have a community center in the Ninth Ward, we do small business development, that’s one of our sweet spots,” Morse said. “We also do workforce development.”
Thrive is one of 28 organizations led by African Americans to receive Racial Equity Grants from the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
This round of funding was paid for in part by a $1 million investment from Facebook.
“A lot of the groups that we’re funding today are really on the frontlines both in serving their community and helping African Americans build wealth through housing, through small business development,” GNOF President and CEO Andy Kopplin said.
Kopplin hopes the grants which range from $20,000 to $50,000 help erase systemic failures and inequities in the community.
“We’ve seen a greater rate of business shutdowns, small businesses that are black-owned,” Kopplin said. “Thrive NOLA which is one of our grantees today is working to address that.”
“Our job is to help the people we train be the best they can be,” Morse said.
The Greater New Orleans Foundation has now raised and granted about $1.5 million for black-led organizations now working to achieve racial equality in the community. That brings them halfway to their goal of raising $3 million in three years for the fund.