Happy Women’s Entrepreneurship Day!
Several weeks ago, I received an email from iFundWomen with the subject line, “You’re in consideration for an American Express • IFundWomen Debut Program.”
I wasn’t aware of the details or the amount, but I was so excited. I have been hard at work applying for public and private foundation grants to help cover the cost of my upcoming exhibition.
The iFundWomen of Color and American Express team organized a Zoom meeting to discuss the details, which took place in late October. After briefly talking about my goals for Her House Media (previously AC Media), I heard something like…
You are actually not in consideration. You won the “100 for 100” Program grant.
In the feeling of gratefulness, I shed tears of joy… and relief. I thought to myself…
I can really do this.
My grand idea…
I had an idea to make my exhibition in March 2021, accessible for visitors with visual and hearing disabilities. The largest expense being the conversion of 2D photographs into 3D and adding audio description of my portraits from I Am More Than My Hair book. It’s a $35,000+ expense, as compared to $3,000 to $5,000.
Yes, you read that right!
It cost over $35,000 to create an accessible exhibition. And that’s the lower end of the scale. But it all worth it, to make my exhibition accessible for all to feel included.
To give some background…American Express created “ 100 for 100 ” in partnership with IFundWomen of Color , the leading platform for women of color to raise capital, to support Black women entrepreneurs as they work to jump start and grow their business ventures. The program will provide each of the 100 women with grants of $25,000 and 100 days of business resources, including business education, mentorship, marketing, virtual networking, WorkSpaces by Hilton hotel reservation credits and more. The initiative is part of American Express’ recently announced $1 billion action plan to enhance diverse representation and promote equal opportunities for its colleagues, customers and communities.
To add to the amazing gesture, I returned home last week to beautiful, handpicked gifts from The American Express Team. The custom gifts were all created by Black Women:
- “Creator” tote bag from rayo & honey @rayoandhoney
- “Muse” candle from LITBKLYN @litbklyn
- Enamel mug from Black Pepper Paperie Co. @blackpepperpaperieco
- Notebook from Greer Chicago @greerchicago
- “Power” print by Jade Purple Brown @jadepurplebrown
It was hard to keep this a secret, but I am beyond grateful for the impact iFundWomen and The American Express Team has created for me and the 99 other business owners in the “100 for 100” Program.
Together, we’re making history. And that’s a beautiful thing.