Asheville based nonprofit selected as finalist in national pitch competition

Press release from Truist Foundation:

Truist Foundation announced the finalists for its first Inspire Awards, a pitch-competition event inviting nonprofits that support Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and women-owned small businesses to submit innovative solutions that address complex challenges facing small businesses.

Truist Foundation partnered with Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to identify nonprofits with the most creative ideas to support, grow, and develop small businesses and create lasting change in underserved communities. From more than 127 applicants, seven finalists from 13 states were chosen.

“Since the launch of the Inspire Awards in February, we quite literally were inspired by the submissions we received from nonprofits seeking wraparound support and capacity building funding for their solutions,” said Lynette Bell, president of Truist Foundation. “With the help of Inspire Awards judges, we conducted a thorough vetting and interview process to select our finalists, all of whom are women or BIPOC-led and dedicated to making a positive impact across the country.”

For business owners most affected by systemic barriers, forward-thinking solutions and services provided by nonprofits are essential. The following organizations submitted solutions with transformational potential and have been selected as the finalists:

Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, employing a community-wealth building framework to bolster 1,000 Black businesses in 1,000 days

Democracy At Work Institute, financing the sale of great businesses to their employees, primarily workforces of color, through their Legacy Fund

Synergies Work, creating a framework of end-to-end support for entrepreneurs with disabilities focusing on financial capital, social capital, education, and mentorship to bridge gaps between the business and disability community

Black Wall Street AVL, preparing women of color to start, grow, and scale businesses in marginalized communities

Beautiful Ventures, accelerating the entrepreneurial success of Black, story-driven creatives for lasting wealth creation, business sustainability, and narrative influence

Change Labs, creating a first-of-its-kind culturally responsive lending model based on Navajo kinship that provides Native entrepreneurs access to capital and resources to support growth and sustainability

Quality Care for Children, helping child care businesses maintain at-capacity enrollment, collect fees on time, and ensure that their revenues cover expenses
Scheduled for October 20, the Inspire Awards will culminate with a dynamic event hosted in Charlotte. Each finalist will pitch their solutions for an opportunity to become one of the winners of the challenge, with the winner receiving a $250,000 award to bring their solutions to life. Runner-up teams also will receive cash awards. The event will follow a hybrid format, convening an in-person and online audience to vote for their favorite nonprofit.

To register to watch live and participate in selecting the audience favorite during the awards show, visit

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