Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance gets $800K investment from Gilbert Foundation, JP Morgan Chase

The Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance formed during the pandemic to level the playing field for business owners who didn’t have a seat at the table.

Two years later it represents more than 800 companies, has secured millions of dollars in capital, and has now secured a partnership with the Gilbert Family Foundation and JP Morgan Chase.

JP Morgan Chase and the Gilbert Family Foundation are investing a combined $800,000 into Black businesses in Metro Detroit. This isn't just about keeping the lights on for small minority-owned businesses - but creating generational wealth for owners and their families.

One such business is Chita’s Nefertiti Bar on Detroit’s west side.

FOX 2 sat down with Charity Dean, the president and CEO of the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance — about the big investment from the two big name investor brands.

"The work that we’re doing is about closing the racial equity gap, and we can’t do that by ourselves," said Charity Dean.

The investment breaks down like this: A $600,000 dollar commitment from the Gilbert Family Foundation and another $200,000 from JP Morgan Chase.

"What it means is that they’re joining the fight.," Dean said. "When we first started Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance, we had a partner in Gary Torgow and Huntington Bank that said we believe in what we’re trying to do in Metro Detroit."

Dean — an attorney by trade — started MDBBA during the pandemic. Think of it as a non-profit, which does the work of a chamber of commerce.

A 2020 report, by the Pew Research Center, says only 3 percent of American businesses are Black-owned, compared to 86-percent owned by whites.

Black businesses are also more likely to close sooner.

"Before MDBBA was formed, at least in the City of Detroit, you had the blackest city in the nation with no real advocacy. We started the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance to provide an opportunity for Black businesses to have a voice."

Two years later, MDBBA has 800 members and has secured $9 million in capital.  Its new partnership will help businesses including Chita’s Nefertiti Bar.

"I'm a fan of Chita’s, I live right down the street," Dean said. "We connected with Dominique, the owner, during the pandemic. She needed help for her business, so we were able to help Dominique navigate city government, and we've been able to help her get funding. She’s expanding, and moving next door. So, great things are happening for Chita’s."

Charity Dean says what’s next for the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance is to meet with the City about creating an office for small businesses.