Farwell Foundation Announces $500,000 Donation to Support The Black Business Hub
Project surpasses $20 million raised towards its $26 million goal.
MEDIA RELEASE: October 4, 2022
CONTACT: Ruben L. Anthony, Jr. | 608.729.1208 | [email protected]
(Madison, Wis.) (Oct. 30, 2022) – The Farwell Foundation today announced a $500,000 gift to the Urban League of Greater Madison in support of the Black Business Hub project.
The Farwell Foundation is a charitable organization that is run by Samantha M. Weston. The Foundation was funded by the unwavering generosity of Cheryl Rosen Weston. The gift represents one of the Foundation’s largest grants ever made.
In announcing the gift, the Foundation’s director, Samantha Weston explained that “we believe firmly in our duty to make this world, and more specifically, Madison, a better place. We do this by committing to support, love, honor, and respect all members of our community. In particular, we place emphasis on offering our assistance to those members and segments of our community that have not been given equal access to the resources that they deserve. We are delighted to partner with the Urban League of Greater Madison in the development of the Black Business Hub, and we believe in its enormous potential to effect positive change for Madison’s Black community.”
Urban League CEO Dr. Ruben Anthony noted that he was “overjoyed and humbled when he got the call” about the gift. “This is a tremendous investment in the Black Business Hub’s vision, and even more importantly in the hard-working small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who have experienced a lifetime of under-investment, challenges accessing capital, and the lack of a culturally relevant ecosystem of support.”
The Urban League of Greater Madison broke ground on the historic Black Business Hub project back in April. The $26 million project located in South Madison is the largest project in the organization’s history, and a part of a larger renaissance in the South Madison corridor, an area that has long experienced under-investment. Today’s gift from the Farwell Foundation puts total fundraising at nearly $20.5 million.
The Black Business Hub is an innovative Black-led, place-based project that seeks to provide a transformational ecosystem for underserved businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive. The Hub will be a one-stop-shop focused on supporting businesses and entrepreneurs through incubation, acceleration, and networking programs and services. This includes training, educational support, loans, grants, business coaching and mentoring, networking opportunities, shared services, and much more.
Already, the Urban League and its growing network of partners have provided training to 24 entrepreneurs through its collaboration with gener8tor on the gALPHA program. The Sylvia T. O’Neill Together We Build Wealth Fund has provided grants to five growing Black-owned businesses that will be affiliated with The Hub. Additionally, over 100 current and aspiring entrepreneurs have received one-on-one coaching or attended one or more educational webinars.
“We’re just getting started,” explained Anthony. “By 2025, the Hub expects to help grow or launch at least 200 new businesses, help these businesses access at least $3 million in funding, provide at least $1.5 million in discounted rent, and bring at least 150 jobs into an economically distressed neighborhood, and much more.
This leadership gift from the Farwell Foundation builds on other generous donations to the project, which have included:
- $1,000,000 donations from Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation and CUNA Mutual Group Foundation.
- $500,000 donations from Exact Sciences and the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation.
- Over $7 million in funding from the State of Wisconsin and Dane County, along with donated land and other generous in-kind support from the City of Madison and the CDA.
- Over $2 million in funding for the Black Business Hub Accelerator Program from the Sylvia T. O’Neill Together We Build Wealth Fund, American Family Insurance, WEDC, Schlecht Family Foundation, and others.
“The Hub will be transformational for generations of Black entrepreneurism in the Madison region. It will also be transformational for South Madison, and for the entire Madison region. It will create jobs, generate wealth, incubate new ideas, nurture talent, and so much more,” says ULGM President and CEO Ruben L. Anthony, Jr., Ph.D.
The Hub will be a nearly 80,000-square-foot center located at the corner of Park Street and Hughes Place. It will feature retail and other businesses owned by Black and other entrepreneurs of color, ranging from startups to established businesses seeking to grow or get storefronts for the first time. Its offerings will include food, personal care and wellness, financial services, entertainment, co-working space, a rentable commercial kitchen, a credit union, pop-up space, and more.
The campaign still has $5.5 million dollars to raise to reach its goal. If you are interested in supporting the Black Business Hub, please call (608) 729-1211.
The Urban League of Greater Madison is part of a national movement dedicated to empowering Black and other under-served communities through programs & services, advocacy & civil rights, and community engagement activities. Our work is aimed at increasing opportunity and eliminating racial disparities in education, economic well-being, housing, and other quality of life factors.
The Black Business Hub will be the Madison region’s premiere enterprise center devoted to incubating, accelerating, and networking diverse businesses and entrepreneurs. It will offer a one-stop, place-based system of entrepreneurial support, loans, grants, technical assistance, networking, and more. The Hub will be transformational for generations of Black entrepreneurism in the Madison region. It will create jobs, generate wealth, incubate new ideas, nurture talent, and so much more.