High Point Equity Project
Being that many challenges are symptoms of economic hardship, we recognized that something would need to be done to address income-based inequalities in our society, giving way to the HPCIC’s inaugural 2020-21 initiative: a $1 million campaign to develop and establish the High Point Equity Project.
Launched in Summer 2021, the High Point Equity Project is a sustainable course of action to support the growth and development of minority-owned and economically-challenged businesses in the City of High Point through the provision of non-traditional business financing, technical assistance, entrepreneurial mentorship, and business coaching.
Leveraging the rising tide of revitalization means plugging the ‘leaks’ and removing the ‘anchors’ that inhibit many boats from being successful, and thus we must fulfill projects like this to give everyone a fighting chance.”
A number of new partnerships help to generate this project’s momentum, starting with High Point University’s $500,000 challenge gift and the High Point Community Foundation’s agreement to act as the fiduciary agent. These commitments prompted a steering committee of local leaders, facilitated by High Point’s social innovation consulting firm Change Often, to identify the National Institute of Minority Economic Development (The Institute) as the best partner for collaborative programming.
The collaboration between Business High Point - Chamber of Commerce, The Institute, and Change Often in executing the High Point Equity Project is working to create the right environment for developing a robust small business scene.
Hear about the process from Cyril:
"Our steering committee consisted of the major stakeholders as well as minority business leaders (Stratagon, Welfare Reform Liaison Project, and Mt. Zion Baptist Church in High Point), and individuals from other sectors/organizations (Faith community, NAACP, Philanthropy, Nonprofit, etc.). This was a great cross-section of all necessary collaborators who would have to be involved in order for this project to succeed. "
"By bringing together these stakeholders, we were able to elevate a conversation that catalyzed additional efforts at organizations across the city. Furthermore, by having the major stakeholders to the table, we were able to engage in real conversations about vendor diversity and access to opportunities for communities of color. "
We are thrilled to announce that the High Point Equity Project has evolved into its most sustainable form and is now known as Thrive | High Point, a program of Business High Point: Chamber of Commerce. We encourage you to connect with them by clicking here, and we are so grateful that you have seen the work through with us.
Mega Mission Ministries, Inc
Mt. Zion Baptist Church is a pivotal force in the High Point community. Dr. Rev. Frank Thomas had a vision for the High Point community beyond the already amazing work being done with the Community Writing Center. Through genuine relationships and a diligent and homegrown network, Change Often was able to commit to helping Dr. Rev. Frank Thomas bring his vision to fruition.
Kayla Quick, lead consultant on this project consultant explains:
"The board retreat for M3 was my first time doing a board retreat, but not my first experience with knowing it was needed. The board retreat enabled a group of leaders to lay the foundation for M3 - mission, vision, values, and goals - while gaining information to develop other items, such as org. structure, bylaws, etc. Being in a room with all of these visionaries showed me that the needs in High Point are seen and will be addressed."
"I take pride in being able to guide a client through nonprofit development and giving them the tools they need to create and manage a sustainable nonprofit in my hometown."
"This project is a catalyst for the work that will be done by the organization. M3 programming will focus on the Community Writing Center, poetry initiatives, adult programming, high school services, elderly workshops, and community engagement. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that direct services can’t mitigate systemic injustices or oppression, however, with M3, the organization is providing resources that enable the clientele to change the system. I feel confident knowing that the work C.O. was able to handle for M3 gives them more capacity to do the heavy lifting and grassroots work that will eventually change the system."
"The nonprofit development for M3 has milestones - certified articles of incorporation, filed 1023, 501(c)(3) status, board retreat, etc. As these milestones are hit, I know that M3 is moving in the right direction. A major success point was M3 hiring a Program Director. Not a lot of new nonprofits have the opportunity to hire staff immediately, but M3 was able to do so within two months of formation."
Professional Athletics in the Triad
Change Often provides ongoing services as the Community Engagement Consultant to an initiative working around the clock to bring a brand new professional athletic team to the heart of High Point.
This progress is ongoing. So far, Change Often has supported the work through research & data analysis, fundraising strategy development, stakeholder engagement , and relevant subject matter expertise to tailor this team's programming for social impact.
Through our coordination of Stakeholder Engagement, our firm’s activities included:
- Facilitation of the planning team and other stakeholders
- Strategic development of relationships with community leaders
- Engagement with critical partners in order to secure their investment in the initiative
"It's truly exciting for me to design and conduct community research. To work with a client that aligns itself so perfectly with our approach to social innovation is a privilege I believe we've earned as a firm."
- Technical assistance for purposes of project delivery and content development
In providing Research & Data Analysis, our activities included:
- Appraising, interpreting, and evaluating the collective impact of this project.
- Assigning teams to survey and assess individuals throughout the community to ascertain the community’s position regarding the potential social impact of this project
- Gathering data on potential community partners and mapping assets that can potentially support implementation of the project.
- Developing and implementing systems for collecting, analyzing, and utilizing disaggregated demographic data to inform planning and decision-making for the purposes of completing this project.
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