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Baltimore Fund Puts the Health and Wellness of Black Female Entrepreneurs First

Gaby M. Rojas

Jamye Wooten, founder of CLLCTIVLY, a Baltimore-based social change organization that mobilizes resources for Black-led organizations, lost his sister to cancer at the age of 53. His sister, Sherri was a serial entrepreneur and the owner of two pizza delivery stores in West Baltimore.

“I watched her build her businesses from the ground up with little to no funding,” said Wooten.  Research conducted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found that 61% of Black women must self-fund their startup capital. “She was not only committed to being a successful businesswoman, but she was also equally committed to giving back to the community. While we celebrate the resiliency of our community, we also know the grind and stress of entrepreneurship can take you out.”

With his sister in mind and armed with a commitment from local donor to provide a monthly donation of $600, Wooten launched the “We Got Your Back” Campaign with the goal of providing a Black woman entrepreneur a $2000 monthly no-strings-attached grant to cover her living expenses or to do whatever brings her joy for one year.

CLLCTIVLY partnered with The WELL (The Women Entrepreneur Leadership Lab), a Baltimore and Detroit-based community of Black women entrepreneurs to provide support and community for their first recipient of the award. The application was open to the members of The WELL’s Baltimore community and received twelve video submissions. CLLCTIVLY assemble a selection committee made up of Black women leaders in Baltimore. This week, Jamye and Nakeia Drummond, founder of the WELL went Live on Instagram to announce the first winner – Dominiece Clifton, owner of the Mobile Movement Studio. Dominiece is creating a mobile movement studio that will offer free movement and body-centered approaches to healing trauma and reducing stress such as yoga, dance and exercise provided exclusively by instructors of color.

“Often funders invest in projects and programs, but we wanted to develop a fund that invests in people first and foster a culture of health. I know my sister would be proud,'” said Wooten.

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