Entrepreneurship often thrives in cities and urban areas, as a result of access to ecosystems, networks and capital in those locations. Often overlooked are businesses and not-for-profits working on solving problems in rural, small town and Indigenous communities across America. Rural organizations and not-for-profits that support local businesses, programs and initiatives are also severely underinvested in, even while having the insight and tools they need to survive and thrive. Systemic barriers need to be tackled and addressed when it comes to access to investments and funding in rural organizations to build the capacity of the organizations and give them room to tackle the large issues they’re addressing in the communities.

There are racial biases that currently exist in philanthropy, and it’s hindering the work of many Black leaders to support their communities, especially when it comes to rural communities. Shedding light on the work of these organizations is important to amplify their mission, and to dismantle misconceptions and perceptions that these efforts do not exist. They do, in fact, exist, and they’re necessary to create the positive change and impact that we wish to see in America, especially as COVID exacerbates these inequalities.

Deep in the Black Belt region of Alabama is an organization that’s working hard on fighting those inequalities in the community, the Black Belt Community Foundation, (BBCF), a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to work with citizens to help improve the quality of life in a region that stretches from Mississippi to Georgia. BBCF’s work focuses on three areas: giving, receiving and growing.

Worth recently had a chance to speak with Felecia Lucky, president of the Black Belt Community Foundation, and Harris, who also serves as project co-director for BBCF’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Selma program. We discussed how the foundation is working closely with its own community through efforts and initiatives to support businesses and individuals during this time of COVID-19.

Read the full article about transforming rural America by Rusul Alrubail at Worth.