Kansas City group hopes to reverse rising tide against black-owned businesses

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Businesses across the country hope to rebound after the coronavirus shutdowns. But some business owners are having to work a little harder to stay open.

According to researchers at Stanford University, more than 40% of black-owned businesses are not expected to recover. A metro group called G.I.F.T. is hoping to change that. 

“What we are looking to do is to spur economic development in that area that was specifically structured to be an economic desert,” G.I.F.T. Executive Director, Brandon Calloway said. 

G.I.F.T stands for Generating Income For Tomorrow. It’s a newly formed organization that gives grants to black-owned businesses in low-income areas. 

Staff from G.I.F.T said these grants are needed because redlining has historically impacted black-owned businesses on Kansas City’s east side. 

“This example of economic systemic racism is a great example of how a system can be racist without the people inside of it acting on racist beliefs,” Calloway said. 

Other business owners are stepping up, too. 

Sean Van Horn is the owner of Freight House Fitness in the West Bottoms. His business is the organization’s first sponsor.

“So I really wanted to be a part of helping that out. I can really see how poverty can become cyclical and pass down to generations. I just want to be a part of breaking that cycle,” Van Horn said. 

So far the organization has raised just over $5,000. They hope to offer help to different businesses in need throughout the year.

You can donate by going to Kansascitygift.org/donate.

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