Black-owned businesses are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis due to historic discriminatory practices that have left them under-funded, less likely to secure bank loans, and more likely to be left out of government aid. Together We Thrive (TWT) is a coalition convened by United Way of New York City (UWNYC) that provides access to capital, social networks, and technical assistance to support the success and sustainability of Black-owned businesses.

Hester Street supported the ongoing building and expansion of this program and provided targeted support for NYC’s Black businesses to ensure their survival in the near and long term. We worked with coalition partners, composed of nonprofit, corporate, and government partners, to expand TWT work and directly supported the management, technical assistance (TA), and volunteer service offerings, web and communications, outreach, and program evaluation and research framework to support the ongoing development of this program.

HST has built and adapted a curriculum of volunteer orientation materials called Modules intended for varied audiences to mentor Black business owners and help them develop business strategy. The team also designed a dynamic website that serves as an information hub for the initiative and hosts a Black Business Directory; and collaborated with various partners to develop interactive maps and build data visualization dashboards.

In January 2022, an impact report was published, highlighting accomplishments of the program, as well as testimonials from business and volunteer participants.