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Citi Foundation: FIU: Cooking Up A Stronger Community

Citi Foundation: FIU: Cooking Up A Stronger Community


EMILY GRESHAM:
In the city of North Miami, the unemployment rate is 22%, or three times the national average. Small businesses truly anchor
our economy. They make up over 60%
of the jobs, and we’re second in the nation
at creating new start-ups. Therefore, self-employment
or entrepreneurship is a viable option
for many residents. ♪♪ SHERRONDA DAYE: Back in 2010,
I lost a six-figure job overnight. And in that moment,
my life came to a screeching halt. There I was, with several degrees,
but no job. I had a new baby,
a recently purchased home, and no hope. And so, I started baking
to maintain my sanity. And to support my children. When we first started this business,
we baked from home, then we outgrew the house
and moved to the church kitchen, and when we outgrew
the church kitchen, I was introduced
to StartUP FIU FOOD. GRESHAM: StartUP FIU FOOD offers
a nine-month classroom and workshop based approach. Combined with individual mentors
and food experts. The program also helps entrepreneurs
transition of informal economy, and participate
in the resources available to documented companies. Community Progress Makers
combine fresh ideas and approaches with a first-hand understanding
of their communities’ challenges and resources. Florida International University,
embodies that. GRESHAM: It’s been so meaningful
to partner with a corporate foundation
that truly wants to be a partner. And I’ve never worked with a funder
who supported my creativity. FIU saw and pursued an opportunity
to expand access to their commercial kitchen
for local food entrepreneurs, struggling to start or scale
their own business. DAYE: You see,
this program has afforded me more business opportunities
because of the exposure and the increased space
in this kitchen. With this kitchen and this program,
I can take on more business and in turn, reach my economic goals. The Community Progress Makers Fund,
brings the international reputation and resources of the Citi Foundation
to FIU. The operational dollars isn’t
just about flexibility. It’s about entrusting us
with the awesome responsibility of being good stewards of grants. DAYE:
When I look at my children, it is a consistent reminder of… what I lost
and what I have yet to gain. I will never again have to look
in their faces and tell them that mommy doesn’t have a way
to provide for you. ♪♪

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