Beyoncé Chicago: Superstar's BeyGOOD Foundation gives $100K to small, Black businesses

Beyoncé tour 2023 was in Chicago last weekend

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Friday, July 28, 2023
Beyoncé's foundation gives $100K to small, Black Chicago businesses
Beyoncé Knowles' BeyGOOD Foundation gave $100K to small, Black businesses in Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Beyoncé didn't just perform when she came to Chicago.

Her BeyGOOD Foundation gave $100,000 to several small, Black-owned businesses in the city.

It's all part of the singer's efforts to keep money circulating in the Black community.

To really understand what this means, it has to be put in context.

One dollar only circulates for a total of six hours in the Black community. That's why this grant and others are doing their part to change the narrative of what Black-owned business success should look like.

"I was like, that's me. That's me," said Franklin J Ward, with FRWD Style.

Ward got a chance to dance his way to $10,000.

"Small businesses like me don't really get grants," he said.

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He owns FRWD Style, a wedding and event planning company. He was one of 10 lucky Black-owned businesses Beyoncé honored with grants through her BeyGOOD Foundation.

"The main challenge is really capital, and, you know, so like that financial support to be able to scale your business," Ward said.

That scale starts with more Black ownership in business and land.

"In 1927, four Black families owned homes on Bauer Street here, and in 1927 a white developer wanted this land," said Steven Rogers, former Harvard Business and Kellogg School professor.

So, they took it.

Ninety four years later, Rogers took it back.

He bought the Evanston lot and church to host other Black businesses and events to help gain exposure.

"We got to get them to grow," Rogers said. "At least that threshold of $250,000 revenue."

That's the mark, he said, at which a business can make profit and hire employees.

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"The problem is 95% of those businesses have no employees," Rogers said.

That is what makes this grant such a big deal.

The goal is to make the dollar last longer than six hours in the Black community. Research shows in the Asian community, a dollar circulates for a month. In white communities, it's an unlimited amount of time.

"We know the average white person who was a high school dropout has a greater net worth than the average Black person who graduated from college, and the reason is because of that transference of wealth," Rogers said.

It's also about a transfer of love for Ward, who lost his grandmother, Gladys, in May.

"Just to be able to do something that continues that legacy, and what she instilled in me, is mind boggling," he said.

And after all the rejections, he finally has his yes.

"I'm in the process of figuring out how to steward that yes," Ward said.

Rogers said step one is paying it forward and making an intentional effort to buy Black.

Find @FRWDSTYLE on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.