The Partnership Provides Black–Owned Businesses with Financial and Business Support to Scale Their Design, Marketing, and Social Media Strategies to New Heights
Boston, MA (September 15, 2022) – Today, VistaPrint, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, and NAACP announced the next cohort of recipients from the Power Forward Small Business Grant. The grant program, now in its third iteration, focuses on creating lasting impact for Black-owned small businesses across New England. Select applicants will receive $25,000 in grant funding and the tailored design and marketing support they need to expand their existing businesses and achieve long-term success.
The latest group of grant recipients includes 14 New England-based small-businesses across industries including food and beverage, retail, healthcare, tech, and more. Each business selected was identified as having a meaningful impact on their community and demonstrated a clear vision in its use of the funding. Recipients of the Power Forward Small Business Grant were notified with a mix of surprise in-person and virtual visits from Boston Celtics players JD Davison and Derrick White, Celtics Vice President of Player Development and Organizational Growth Allison Feaster, Assistant Coach Aaron Miles, and the team’s beloved mascot, Lucky. From Vista, Cliff Skeete, Global ECD; Michael Buckley, Senior Director, Sports Marketing; and Erin Shea, Head of North America Marketing, were also present at the surprise notifications.
“It’s an honor to work with the Boston Celtics and NAACP to build a truly unique grant program that serves some of the most vibrant and visionary Black-owned small businesses in New England,” said Erin Shea, Head of North America Marketing at Vista. “Our program doesn’t only provide funding, but also offers support to recipients, providing individualized marketing and design services that ultimately help our small businesses grow. This third deployment marks the final round of our $1 million fund – and we can’t wait to see the full results of our grant program in action.”
In total, following this most recent and final round of the program, more than 1,700 small businesses applied from more than 500 areas across New England. Among these applicants, over one-third of the businesses had less than $25k in annual revenue and 57 percent were female.
“Providing funds and critical resources for minority-owned businesses is one of the many ways we seek to create lasting change in the community,” said Allison Feaster, Boston Celtics United Co-Lead and Celtics Vice President of Player Development and Organizational Growth. “Through the Power Forward Small Business Program, we hope to alleviate some of the barriers and obstacles these businesses face and support them while they pursue their passions.”
“Building Black business is synonymous with building Black power. For far too long, our Black small business owners have been shut out of the opportunities necessary to ensure financial freedom, and the growth and prosperity that it affords,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “Providing Black businesses with the investments they deserve is a vital component of our continued efforts to promote community growth and close the racial wealth gap. NAACP is proud to be making entrepreneurial visions a reality through this critical initiative. We salute our partners in this effort, the Boston Celtics and VistaPrint for their investment in, and commitment to building Black power. With our corporate partners invested in our future, there is nothing we can’t achieve.”
In June 2021, VistaPrint and the Boston Celtics announced the first group of the Power Forward Small Business Grant recipients designed to make a lasting impact on local business throughout New England. The launch of the grant was the first collaboration within this partnership, an initiative of Boston Celtics United for Social Justice. In January 2022, the two partnered with NAACP to announce the second round of recipients along with a shared commitment of $1 million.
Vista is the design and marketing partner to millions of small businesses around the world. As a global, remote-first company, Vista has a growing footprint with team members working in more than 25 countries. For over 20 years we’ve been inspired by small businesses and we work incessantly to deliver solutions to their evolving needs. Together, VistaPrint, VistaCreate, and 99designs by Vista represent a full-service print, digital and design solution, elevating small businesses’ presence in physical and digital spaces and powering them to achieve success. Vista is a Cimpress company (Nasdaq: CMPR). To learn more, visit vista.com.
About the Boston Celtics
A charter member of the Basketball Association of America (which evolved into the National Basketball Association) since 1946, the Boston Celtics have won a record 17 NBA Championships, including eight (8) in a row from 1959-1966, winning their first title in 1957 and their most recent in 2008. The Celtics have long stood for equality, and respect, including hiring the first African American Coach and starting the first all Black starting five. In addition, 35 former Celtics players, management or staff have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In December 2002 the team returned to local ownership for the first time since 1963. For more information on the Celtics, log on to www.celtics.com.
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
The NAACP is a c4 organization (contributions are not tax-deductible), our partner c3 organization is known as NAACP Empowerment Programs (contributions are fully tax-deductible as allowed by the IRS).
In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.