Forward Cities is among the 24 non-profit organizations from across the United States who were selected for their work addressing income and wealth inequality.
DURHAM, N.C., December 20, 2023 - Forward Cities today announced that it received a grant from MetLife Foundation as part of their two-year, $10 million Accelerating Commitment to Equity Innovation Fund (ACE Innovation Fund). The fund aims to democratize access to capital for non-profit organizations addressing income and wealth inequality in communities that have been historically and systemically disinvested.
Forward Cities was awarded a $250,000 grant to accelerate the Black Wall Street Forward narrative change initiative in Durham and Wake counties. By accelerating the reach and impact of BWSF Durham and Raleigh, Forward Cities aims to engage more leaders, entrepreneurs, and community members in efforts to champion and strengthen Black-owned businesses. By building on the pillars of Durham’s historic Black Wall Street as a model, Black leaders and allies can shape a sustainable model for the future of thriving, equitably invested, self-determined Black-centric entrepreneurial communities that support quality, competitive businesses.
"We are immensely grateful to be named a grantee of MetLife Foundation's ACE Innovation Fund. This grant is not just a recognition of our work but a crucial catalyst for expanding our Black Wall Street Forward initiative”, shared Fay Horwitt, Forward Cities’ President & CEO. “ This will enable us to deepen our commitment to empowering Black-centric entrepreneurial communities - ensuring they have the tools and resources necessary for sustainable success.”
Black Wall Street Forward is an action-based learning network launched in 2022 and piloted in five North Carolina communities – Durham, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem. The initiative aims to develop new narratives about the roles that Black leaders and allies can play in revitalizing and strengthening ecosystems designed to support Black entrepreneurs. Provident1898, a Black-centric coworking community located in historic Mutual Tower in downtown Durham, serves as the program’s headquarters.
As a result of being awarded this grant, Forward Cities is now part of a national cohort of actively engaged peers that will network and participate in a community of practice.
“MetLife Foundation launched ACE Innovation Fund to identify and uplift the solutions that address the growing income and wealth divide and instill confidence for the future,” said Tia Hodges, President and CEO of MetLife Foundation and Head of Corporate Giving and Employee Volunteerism at MetLife. “Over the next two-years, we will build partnerships with the 24 non-profit grantees, ensuring they have the support they need to make a lasting impact in their community.”
Nutishia Lee, Forward Cities firstname.lastname@example.org
Forward Cities is a national nonprofit equipping communities and regions to grow and sustain more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems. Launched in 2014, Forward Cities started as a learning partnership between leaders in four cities: Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, and Durham. The organization then built upon this work with a similar multi-city learning collaborative in North Carolina called InnovateNC and through a 2018 merger with CEOs for Cities, a seminal U.S. urban leadership network.
Forward Cities has since partnered with numerous national entities interested in reaching underrepresented entrepreneurs and connected them with the resources they need through various hub and spoke models. Forward Cities is headquartered in the Provident1898 coworking space located within the historic N.C. Mutual Life Insurance tower in downtown Durham.
About MetLife Foundation
At MetLife Foundation, we are committed to driving inclusive economic mobility for underserved and underrepresented communities around the world. We collaborate with nonprofit organizations and provide grants aligned to three strategic focus areas – economic inclusion, financial health and resilient communities – while engaging MetLife employee volunteers to help drive impact. MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its inception, MetLife Foundation has contributed over $1 billion to strengthen communities where MetLife has a presence. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.