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 supports the ongoing building and expansion of this program and seeks to provide targeted support for NYC’s Black businesses to ensure their survival in the near and long term. Hester Street worked with Coalition partners, composed of nonprofit, corporate, and government partners, to expand TWT work and has 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 exciting, yet nascent, program.
Hester Street has built and adapted volunteer orientation materials for varied audiences; 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.
Our overall project goals include:
1. Leading our core team to achieve project goals and strategize on potential partnerships, funding opportunities, and outreach;
2. Developing outreach and communications strategies to build awareness of Together We Thrive;
3. Researching and documenting policy and innovative models;
4. Designing and maintaining a robust volunteer orientation infrastructure; and
5. Creating equity evaluation framework and tracking systems
An Impact Report highlighting accomplishments of the program, as well as testimonials from business and volunteer participants was issued in January 2022, and can be found here.