Rebuild the Block: Two women helping black-owned businesses nationwide
MARYLAND – Two women are doing what they can to give back to black-owned businesses, and they say they’re taking their message nationwide. Alexis Akarolo and Ze Clark started the nonprofit Rebuild the Block just over a month ago, and they say they’re both shocked by how much support they’ve gotten since.
“Rebuild the block is a nonprofit organization that is focused on providing resources, wealth, and knowledge back into the community,” Alexis explained.
“With everything happening, in the political climate and also covid, how people were affected, she was like I want to do something with small black owned businesses,” Ze added.
They started with a Go Fund Me page that had a small goal of helping a few black-owned businesses through the tough times. From there, it took off.
“Our first week we made, I’ll say, over fifty thousand dollars,” Ze Clark.
With that money, the women were able to give monetary grants to six businesses, two of which were in Maryland. But now, with the Go Fund Me total nearly quadrupled, the two women want to do more. They’re looking for black-owned businesses that need a little extra help, and they’re hoping to reach one on the Eastern Shore.
“They have to be a small blacked owned business, they had to be affected by covid-19 and/or looting, destruction,” Ze explained.
If a business’s application is accepted, Alexis and Ze say a grant will be awarded based on how much of a financial loss the business has suffered. But even finances aside, the two say they’re just happy to be able to give back in any way.
“It made me realize I’m not too small to contribute something big to the world,” Ze said.
“You still can take the time to give back to your community, and it makes you feel good,” Alexis added.
If you’re a business owner and you want to apply, you can visit Rebuild the Block’s website. If you’d like to donate money to the nonprofit so that Alexis and Ze can help more businesses, you can visit the Go Fund Me page.