Best of KC 2020: Black G.I.F.T. rallies for systemic change

Generating Income For Tomorrow. Brandon Calloway (left) And Cornell Gorman.

Generating Income for Tomorrow. Brandon Calloway (left) and Cornell Gorman. // Photo by Chase Castor

This month, we published The Pitch’s annual Best of Kansas City issue. You can browse the results of the readers’ poll here. The issue also included a list, compiled and written by our editorial staff, of some of our current favorite things about Kansas City in 2020. We’ll be publishing these items online throughout November. 

Founded back in May, G.I.F.T. has been reaching out to area businesses to see what problems need addressing. Their mission is to invest in Black-owned businesses located in low-income areas of Kansas City. Enter Ruby Jean’s Juicery. Faced with reduced revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the establishment was at risk of losing all three of its storefront locations. The $10,000 donation will help the establishment keep its doors open and staff working, G.I.F.T. Executive Director Brandon Calloway says. The recent outrage and protests centered on racial inequalities are ushering in a new era for Black business owners. While support has prompted an uptick in clientele and donations for some local Black-owned businesses, some fear that the momentum won’t last and businesses will suffer as a result. With little help outside of consumers, the root issues that perpetuate inequality in Kansas City’s local Black communities signal that there is more work to be done. Black KC residents are disproportionately impoverished, with a poverty rate of nearly 25 percent, according to 2018 U.S. Census data, as compared to a nearly 12 percent poverty rate for white residents.

Black G.I.F.T.

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