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MLK Day inspires Kansas City G.I.F.T. to bridge racial economic gap on East Side

MLK Day influence on local organization helping bridge racial economic gap on east side KC
Posted at 6:05 AM, Jan 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-15 09:06:46-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the nation honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on this special day, his message of equality and justice continues to resonate, inspiring positive actions in communities across the country.

Organizations like Kansas City G.I.F.T have taken up the cause and are helping close the racial and economic divide on the East Side.

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“Ultimately, we are trying to do our part to decrease the racial wealth gap right here in Kansas City," said Brandon Calloway, CEO and co-founder of Kansas City G.I.F.T. "We do that by providing grants and back office support to Black businesses located on the East Side of Kansas City so that they can grow and create jobs for the communities that they're operating in.”

Dr. King's dream of a nation where people are judged by their character rather than the color of their skin remains a powerful force for change.

“If we look back at Martin Luther King's message and his legacy and the work, I can sum it up as doing good deeds, prioritizing the collective good over the individual good and taking action," Calloway said.

With a similar approach, the organization is helping provide grants up to $50,000 dollars to help Black-owned businesses grow.

“We know the East Side of Kansas City is historically (a) red line area of Kansas City," Calloway said. "It is the area of Kansas City with the greatest concentration of Black poverty still to this day. And so by helping those businesses grow and create jobs, we're trying to do our part in creating an economic engine that creates some racial economic equity.”

The organization is also helping future business prospects by providing free mentorship programs and the proper resources needed to get them started.

"To me, it feels like what we are doing, and what a lot of other nonprofit organizations, a lot of other people, specifically people in the Black community, are doing around the city, are ways to carry on that legacy of taking actionable steps to create some racial economic equity," Calloway said.

Kansas City G.I.F.T's commitment to bridging the racial economic gap aligns with Dr. King's vision of a just and equal society.

“With that same level of passion and work, we got to carry it on so that we can continue to make progress so that 50 years from now we are better than we were, better than we are today," Calloway said. "Just like today, you could say we are better than we were 50 years ago.”

Calloway encourages business owners looking to expand or startup on KC's East Side to reach out.