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‘Building Bridges’ connects Black changemakers with tools to succeed

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 11:53 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - On another segment of United Way’s partnership with the TV6 News Alert Desk, the African American Leadership Society talks about a new initiative for local Black changemakers.

It’s called “Building Bridges.” United Way Quad Cities and AALS recognize the unique strengths and challenges that exist within the Black led-nonprofit community.

The initiative, which started Sept. 23, will help close those gaps by equipping local black organizations and changemakers with resources, networking and professional development.

On Wednesday, a panel of changemakers joined the TV6 New Desk to talk more about the initiative. They included:

  • Kayla Babers, AALS manager
  • Sherwin Robinson, AALS steering committee, as well as a participant in the Building Bridges program
  • Randy Moore, AALS Tri-Chair and President of Iowa American Water Co.
  • Harold Hague, Cospero Consulting, facilitator of Building Bridges

Babers says this three-month program will allow organizations to meet local leaders and subject experts on nonprofit operations, community dynamics and funding opportunities.

Participants include black-led organizations looking to get on a non-profit scale along with nonprofits looking to enhance their business.

“As participants go through the programming, once they hit the end mark they have all this great knowledge from Harold and community members, United Way and AALS will help them obtain that nonprofit status,” said Babers.

Panelists also went over some of the common challenges Black nonprofits face.

” I think the challenges that are most prevalent in our Quad Cities community, is the access to funding and so whereas people or organizations with a nonprofit status who move in a certain circle or have direct access to people who are giving out the grant dollars to do the work, whereas sometimes being in a marginalized group, such as a Black American, its harder to break through those barriers into those doors and shake hands with people who are willing to give the funding,” Babers said.

“When you don’t have the notoriety or the ability to be seen or heard as far as marketing, it’s probably very hard to be connected,” Robinson said.

Further discussion included the importance of the program.

“Over the last several years, decades, something like this would have never existed, there are a lot of black talented individuals that are sitting there, that have ideals, thoughts, plans for the future, but they’ll never get the chance to show them. One of the concepts that I shared very often, it doesn’t matter your educational level, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, it doesn’t matter about your background, it doesn’t matter about where you work, if you never get an opportunity you’ll never be successful,” Moore said.

AALS and United Way Quad Cities are working to make ‘Building Bridges’ an annual program, for those interested in signing up for next year’s program head to www.unitedwayqc.org/aals.

For our next episode on the TV6 News Alert Desk, new panelists will discuss “Local women aspiring to make the Quad Cities a better place to raise a family.’”

This episode is scheduled to air Oct. 13. A time will be announced later.

Download the TV6 News App to receive real-time notifications of live-streamed coverage.

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