The Rockefeller Foundation has announced the addition of Jackson, Mississippi, and Baltimore, Maryland, to the Rockefeller Opportunity Collective (ROC), as well as grants totaling $7 million in support of communities hit hard by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Launched in June, ROC aims to catalyze public- and private-sector investment in efforts to promote more inclusive growth in a post-pandemic recovery. The grants boost the foundation's total support for the initiative to $12 million, while the addition of Jackson and Baltimore raises the number of participating locations to twelve; the other locations are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, El Paso, Miami-Dade County, Houston, Louisville, Newark, Norfolk, and Oakland.
Recipients of the latest grants include the National Domestic Workers' Alliance, which was awarded $2 million to increase access to benefits for those who have fallen through the social safety net; 1863 Ventures, which will receive $1 million to provide technical assistance and capital to minority-owned companies with annual revenue of less than $2 million; and the Atlanta-based Russell Technology Business Incubator, which was awarded $500,000 to create a physical space that helps incubate local businesses and serves as a hub for Atlanta's burgeoning tech community. Additional recipients include Our Village United, which was awarded $500,000 to provide direct technical assistance to Black-owned businesses in Atlanta; the Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF), which will receive $400,000 in support of its Contractor Assistance Program; and the Oakland-based East Bay Community Foundation, which was awarded $500,000 in support of efforts to create a more inclusive economy, with a focus on women-, Black-, and Latinx-owned small businesses.
"It is clear that we have reached a critical inflection point exposing unique opportunities for real, structural change," said Otis Rolley III, senior vice president of the foundation's U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative. "Social equity cannot exist without economic equity. That’s why we are excited to be partnering with these organizations to help businesses nationwide with technical assistance and stabilizing capital. Through our efforts, we will help entrepreneurs of color, decrease BIPOC unemployment rates across the country, encourage additional investment into communities of color, and stop countless doors from closing."