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The Rockefeller Foundation Awards $500,000 Grant to Baltimore Development Corporation to Assist Small Businesses

BALTIMORE – March 29, 2022 — Today, the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) announced that it has received a $500,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation to support the Baltimore BASE Network (Business Assistance and Support for Equity). The Baltimore BASE Network is a partnership of entrepreneurial support organizations led by BDC and the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development and is committed to helping Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) owned small businesses.

“Baltimore’s small businesses are crucial to the health of the city’s economy, and we’re grateful for the support of The Rockefeller Foundation,” said Mayor Brandon Scott. “Small businesses and especially those owned by people of color had the most difficulty accessing Covid-related assistance programs. The Baltimore BASE Network helped these businesses navigate federal, state, and local aid programs to ensure they were able to access the essential resources available.”

The Network was launched in April 2020 in response to Covid related challenges small business face, and has assisted more than 3,000 Baltimore businesses access upwards of $40 million in recovery assistance. Of the businesses assisted to date, 70 percent are BIPOC-owned.

“Baltimore City has more than 50,000 businesses, more than half those businesses are BIPOC-owned. And yet, they account for less than 12 percent of business revenues in Baltimore City,” said Gregory Johnson, Managing Director of the Equity & Economic Opportunity initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation. “The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support BDC’s BASE Network through our ROC initiative, and in turn, invest in the future of Baltimore by breaking down barriers to access to capital and technical assistance for BIPOC-owned businesses.”

The Rockefeller Foundation launched The Rockefeller Opportunity Collective (ROC) with the goal of catalyzing public and private sector investment to promote more inclusive growth, both in the post-pandemic recovery and over the long term. The ROC Funds are being allocated to a collective of government, business, faith-based, and non-profit partners.

“This grant from The Rockefeller Foundation for the Baltimore BASE Network will help continue our efforts to provide resources to small businesses in an inclusive and equitable manner,” said Colin Tarbert, president and CEO of BDC. “The City’s recently released Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, Baltimore Together, identified the challenges that small businesses, and particularly BIPOC-owned businesses face. This Network will help ensure that our most vulnerable businesses have additional resources to grow and thrive.”

For more information about how the Baltimore BASE Network can assist small businesses, please visit https://www.baltimorebasenetwork.org/.


About BDC

The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) is the economic development organization for the City of Baltimore. Our mission is to grow the city’s economy in an inclusive manner by retaining, expanding and attracting businesses and promoting investment, thereby increasing career opportunities for residents.

About Baltimore BASE Network

The Baltimore BASE (Business Assistance and Support for Equity) Network is a partnership of entrepreneurial support organizations led by the Baltimore Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development that is committed to helping Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) owned small businesses located in Baltimore City access pandemic-related recovery assistance. Since its launch in April 2020, the Network has helped more than 3,000 Baltimore businesses access upwards of $40 million in recovery assistance. The BASE Network is expanding its reach and scope, with a goal of assisting 7,000 business over the next two years in a wide range of business development areas to help businesses stabilize, pivot, and grow. 

About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation to enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.


This press release first appeared in Newsbreak on March 30th, 2022, and is reposted with permission.

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