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Nonprofit gifts $230K in grants to east-side business owners in one year

Goal is to close racial wealth gap
Jasmine Gibson lawn care business
Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 18:50:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We hear a lot about the importance of supporting small businesses. KSHB 41 News wants to tell the uplifting stories about businesses who thrive and don't have to shut down and the organizations that help them.

One organization in particular made a huge impact in that effort in just a year.

Jasmine Gibson is new to the game but she's already kicking "grass."

"It's not a man's world, like James Brown used to say," Gibson said with a laugh. "No, it's enough for everybody to get around."

Gibson started Fearless Chix LLC, noticing that she never sees women, especially women of color, doing lawn care.

"It just gives the example to other young, Black women around the city," Gibson said. "I'm out in the yard sometimes and I'll have moms with their daughters or gentlemen just stop me and say, "Girl, it's admirable what you're doing, I've never seen women doing what you doing!' So, that's what's awesome."

Fearless Chix LLC is the recent recipient of a $10,000 grant from GIFT, Generating Income For Tomorrow.

The grant is designed to help her grow her business and hire employees.

"I wish y'all could see my smile, but it was amazing. It was a true blessing," Gibson said. "I definitely cried. I wasn't expecting it. I was glad to see other people saw the vision that I saw."

Since last May, GIFT has helped 13 other east-side business owners as well, not only with capital but technical and marketing support.

GIFT also gave a $50,000 grant to another woman-owned business - Dream Palace, a Montessori school near 43rd & Troost Ave.

That grant, along with Gibson's, are the most GIFT has given out at one time.

"In that one year's time frame, [GIFT has] been able to grant $227,000 to local area, small, Black-owned businesses in the urban core, thereby saving seven jobs and creating 22 in a pandemic, so we couldn't be more excited," Karis Harrington, GIFT's chief of business development, said.

Gibson wants to partner with existing organizations to do job-readiness training so other young women can get mow-tivated to start their own businesses.

"Girls, you can do it too! That's it. Do you," Gibson said.

GIFT is entering the second year of its grant process and is always reviewing applications. Harrington said they expect to give out even more grants in the coming year.

In fall 2020, 56 businesses applied for $1.3 million worth of grants.

KSHB 41 News has reported on GIFT's efforts over the last year, highlighting different business owners, who talked about what their grant means to them.