More than $500,000 has been awarded to area organizations to fund innovative ways to help improve Birmingham’s economic landscape. The BOLD program, which stands for Building Opportunities for Lasting Development, provides financial support to organizations and agencies that are taking creative, evidence-based approaches to solving various community issues. The city of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity (IEO) leads this initiative and recently awarded BOLD funding to Ed Farm, Rebirth Community Corporation, Urban Impact, Community Care Development Network, and the Women’s Foundation of Alabama.
“We are excited about the work that our BOLD recipients will do for our communities this cycle,” said Coreata Houser, deputy director of IEO. “Each program is laser focused on building a resilient and inclusive economy in Birmingham with workforce development, small business support and place-based development programs. We are also excited that each organization is minority and/or women led.”
Funding was allocated across four categories:
- Job accessibility
- Recovery and adaptation technical assistance for minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses
- Scale-up technical assistance for minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses
- Social innovation to address a pressing community problem
Projects were selected by a committee composed of members of the Mayor’s Office, City Council administration, IEO, the Department of Community Development, and the Department of Planning, Engineering and Permits to ensure alignment and transparency between the bodies. This is the fourth cycle of the BOLD Grant Program, which saw successful cycles since 2018.
After a rigorous application process and review, the Birmingham City Council approved funding this week. Here are each of the organizations plans for moving forward:
- Ed Farm will implement Pathways program to 50 Birmingham residents. Pathways is a 14-week introductory coding bootcamp that provides participants with digital skills training, promotive resources, and opportunities to transform communities positively. Additionally, participants are each loaned a MacBook and an iPad to support coding skills acquisition. $154,975
- Rebirth Community Corporation’s “REBOOT: Rebuilding Better” Mental Health and Emotional Wellness Program equips at-risk disadvantaged minority small business owners and entrepreneurs with mental health services, wellness strategies, and emotional support needed to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. $67,000
- Urban Impact will enhance existing place-based and citywide programs to accelerate and deepen impact. They will accomplish leveraged, collaborative impact by administering and launching proven programs that fill identified needs of working capital access, small business capacity building, “back-office” support, and development/design capital with guided assistance. $125,500
- Community Care Development Network is a faith-based nonprofit serving primarily the 35206 and 35212 zip code areas since 2014. CCDN’s Inspire program helps clients transition from high school to adult life, prison to society, and unemployment/underemployment to career track job skills. $80,000
- The Women’s Foundation seeks to address job accessibility and economic insecurity for women and their children, helping meet the workforce shortage demand while supporting talent. TWF will grow its two-generation (2Gen) approach by intentionally catalyzing collaboration among community college and social service nonprofits. $79,720
Updated at 1:09 p.m. on 1/26/2022 to correct the name of The Women’s Foundation of Alabama.