New grants available for Michigan’s Black leaders and nonprofits advancing racial justice efforts

What’s happening: The application window has opened for the first ever Community Trailblazer Award from the Michigan Founders Fund, a nonprofit organization made up of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from throughout the state. The Community Trailblazer Award will recognize Black leaders advancing racial justice efforts in Michigan with one $10,000 grant and two $2,500 grants. Applications for the awards are due by Sunday, Oct. 2, information of which is available online.

Who they are: Michigan Founders Fund (MFF) is a network of Michigan entrepreneurs and investors that have committed one percent of company equity, investment carry, or profit to a fund for grantmaking efforts throughout the state. The nonprofit started with a Washtenaw County focus in 2019 before restructuring as MFF in 2021, expanding their focus to the entire state. The organization currently has 59 pledged members.

The award itself: The Community Trailblazer Award is available to Black, Michigan-based leaders and nonprofits that are advancing efforts of racial equity and justice for Black residents. In addition to the $10,000 award and two $2,500 grants, those selected will also have the opportunity to engage with the MFF network of entrepreneurs and investors. More information about the application process and requirements is available online.

What they’re saying: “Our members are trailblazers and problem-solvers in entrepreneurship who believe, collectively, we can make positive impacts on the broader community,” says Trista Van Tine, Executive Director and Co-founder of Michigan Founders Fund. “Through the Community Trailblazer Award, we want to engage the trailblazers and problem-solvers in the community to achieve our vision of helping Michigan become the most equitable and successful state in the country — not only for entrepreneurs, but for everyone.”

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.