The Announcement Includes a Call for Applications
for Black-Owned Businesses to Apply for the Next Round of Grants
BOSTON, MA (January 24, 2022) – Today, VistaPrint, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, and NAACP announced the second cohort of recipients from the Power Forward Small Business Grant. This shared commitment of $1 million was designed to create a lasting impact through the economic empowerment of Black-owned small businesses across New England. Featuring grants of $25,000 and the opportunity to be featured on national co-branded platforms, recipients also receive design and marketing assistance customized to their specific needs.
The second group of grant recipients consists of 13 small businesses from the Boston metropolitan area, Western Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut representing a variety of industries including health and wellness, fashion, food service, journalism and consulting, among others. Recipients of the Power Forward Small Business Grant were notified with a mix of surprise in-person and virtual visits from Celtics players Aaron Nesmith and Grant Williams, Head Coach Ime Udoka, President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens, Legend Cedric Maxwell, Director of Community Engagement Kash Cannon, and the team’s beloved mascot, Lucky.
Video and photos found here.
To date, nearly 1,400 applications have been submitted from more than 700 towns and cities across New England. Nearly 60% of the small businesses who applied are women-owned with 69% of selected first-round recipients identifying as female. The majority of those who applied reported less than $100,000 of revenue in each of the past two years. Applicants reported that their main reasons for applying to the Power Forward Grant include assistance building their brands, hiring more team members, and raising capital.
“It is thrilling to announce the next round of Power Forward grant recipients,” said Emily Whittaker, Vista President, North America. “We are continually amazed by the passion and resilience of small businesses and are honored to have the opportunity to partner with these small businesses on their design, marketing and social media plans in addition to the financial grant support. We have seen the impact the grant has had on the first cohort. For example, we assisted Beraka Juice with a rebrand that brought to life owner Vanessa Mukania’s vision and worked with the White Lion Brewing team on their merchandise and social media marketing. We look forward to doing the same for the second cohort and hope to keep the program growing.”
In June 2021, VistaPrint and the 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.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of a strong economy and our community. We’re eager to begin working with each of these small businesses, and future grant recipients, as we seek to make a positive lasting impact on a diverse group of small businesses throughout New England,” said Celtics Co-Owner and Alternate Governor Steve Pagliuca.
“Ensuring that generations of Black small business owners are afforded a level of financial freedom and business support is vital to developing communities and closing the racial equity gap,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “One key way to close the wealth gap is by closing the investment gap. The NAACP is proud to be a part of this initiative and we salute our partners, the Boston Celtics and VistaPrint for their investment and commitment. This level of investment in our communities is a seminal moment in America, where we have an opportunity to transform the next generation of entrepreneurs from not just business developers but to community developers.”
Meet The Recipients
- Keith Chaney, City Sealcoating Inc. (Lawrence, MA)
City Sealcoating is a company that specializes in all kinds of asphalt maintenance and asphalt construction. Services include sealcoating, line striping, crack sealing, paving and snow plowing.
- Shironda White, Cupcake Therapy (Boston, MA)
Cupcake Therapy is a tree nut-free and peanut-free cupcakery that bakes made-to-order cupcakes.
- Alfred Enchill, Elegant Stitches Inc. (Pittsfield, MA)
Elegant Stitches is a family-owned custom embroidery and screen-printing company that supplies branded apparel and promotional products for public and private sector employees, teams, and community groups.
- Ronnette A. Taylor-Lawrence, Firecode Design LLC (Roxbury, MA)
Firecode Design offers Fire protection installation and inspection services such as fire sprinklers, fire extinguishers, fire alarms and first suppressants. They are a one-stop shop when it comes to fire safety.
- Priscilla Edwards, The Glow Cafe & Juice Bar (Providence, RI)
The Glow Cafe & Juice Bar is a plant-based cafe, juice bar & smoothie shop that specializes in wellness-centered superfoods.
- Alisa Primavera, In Shape Incentive (Norwood, MA)
In Shape Incentive provides a wide range of training, fitness and nutritional services.
- Moses Karugu, Oasis Transport Inc. (Lynn, MA)
Oasis Transport is a warehouse and logistics company providing trucking, van courier and storage services.
- Kashawna Harling, Paws & Purrfection Company (Malden, MA)
Paws & Purrfection Company provides essential pet supplies and delivery to the local community.
- Esther Wallace, Playa Society (Dorchester Center, MA)
Playa Society is a sport-inspired streetwear brand that prioritizes women and promotes both gender equality and social justice.
- Joseph Charles, Rock City Pizza, Inc (Allston, MA)
Rock City Pizza is a quick service pizzeria that offers a wide variety of take out food.
- Shana Bryant, Shana Bryant Consulting (Dorchester, MA)
Shana Bryant Consulting works with small businesses and nonprofits to create memorable moments through education training and curated experiences.
- Danielle Johnson, Spark FM Online, LLC (Hyde Park, MA)
Spark FM Online is a digital radio platform that was created to empower and amplify the underserved voices of the community.
- Tira McNeil, SweeTy’s Treats LLC (New Haven, CT)
SweeTy’s Treats is the neighborhood bakery that supplies the tastiest cupcakes, brownies, cheesecake cups, and custom cakes for weddings, baby showers, gender reveals, bridal showers, birthday parties and more.
How To Apply
Applications for the Power Forward Small Business Grant will be administered by the NAACP in partnership with Hello Alice, a platform for small business owners to identify the right path to start and grow their company. Applications for the financial grants opened in February 2021 and will remain open until all funds have been disbursed. If you have already applied for this grant opportunity, your application remains in the pool of candidates. You do not need to re-apply for consideration. Applicants selected to receive grant funding will be announced on a rolling basis.
All applications must be submitted through Hello Alice: http://www.helloalice.com/power-forward
Grants are available to new or existing Black-owned small businesses based and operating in New England* with 1-25 employees.
*Some geographic limitations apply for areas of southern Connecticut. See application eligibility requirement for details.
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, VistaCreate, 99designs by Vista and VistaPrint represent a full-service design, digital and print 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.