Five local nonprofits launch effort to raise $155,000 for Black Enterprise Fund

students learning in Maydm
Photo by Marla Bergh
Maydm is one of the participating nonprofits. Maydm helps introduce girls and youth of color introduces to opportunities in the STEM field.

MADISON, Wis. — On the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, five local nonprofit organizations are launching a joint effort to raise $155,000 for the Black Enterprise Fund.

Juneteenth is marked as the country’s second Independence Day when the last enslaved people were declared free. On June 19, 1865, Union Major Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with news that slavery had ended and the war was over. This came two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation giving slaves in Texas their long-awaited freedom.

The Black Enterprise Fund will benefit Madison365, Maydm, the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce, Urban League of Greater Madison and the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, a release said. The funds will be equally divided among the five organizations.

“This fund will empower the Black community of Madison and Dane County through these five dynamic, successful, enterprise-building, Black-led nonprofit organizations,” said Henry Sanders, CEO and publisher of Madison365, the nonprofit news outlet serving Wisconsin’s communities of color. “These organizations serve youth, entrepreneurs, job-seekers, young professionals, and the community at large. We’re proud to partner with these organizations and support their work for the long term.”

BGCDC CEO Michael Johnson said the funds will help place 150 teenagers in paid virtual internships at more than 40 businesses and nonprofits in the area. Maydm founder Winnie Karanja said they plan to use donations to continue providing more students of color opportunities to educational programming and opportunities in STEM.

“The support of our community partners is essential as we work to close the equity gap in education and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work with other community partners to invest in students of color who live in our community,” Karanja said.

Urban League CEO Ruben Anthony said the fund is needed more than ever as the coronavirus impacted Black families and businesses.

“Our children have had an extended educational gap that threatens to widen the Black and white disparity gap,” Anthony said. “We need to be able to provide educational options this summer, such as science and technology programs that will keep them engaged intellectual and prepare them for the upcoming school year.”

Camille Carter, president of the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber hopes to be a catalyst for positive change and economic progression.

“In executing our mission, we are motivated to work collectively with our community partners, Madison365 and the Boys and Girls Club, to generate the necessary funds that will help our organizations sustain and uplift our businesses, families and youth,” Carter said. “The time is now to leverage our resources and change Wisconsin’s trajectory of being ranked last of all 50 states in racial equality. We must do better and we can do better together, working towards common objectives and mutual benefits.”

Funds are being collected through a GoFundMe campaign.