Supporting Norfolk Entrepreneurs One Micro-Grant at a Time

May 24, 2021

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A unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and organizations in Norfolk springs up with the arrival of micro-grants awarded by People First Empowered by USI.

People First Empowered by USI is offering micro-grant opportunities to companies in the Norfolk and surrounding area to support their mission of All Families Stable and Thriving in the Tidewater Gardens, Norfolk community. These micro-grant opportunities are available to companies that demonstrate an innovative approach to addressing the needs of Tidewater Gardens residents through the key services pillars of education, economic mobility, health and wellness.

Supporting Black Youth Financial Literacy

One organization that has already been awarded a micro-grant from People First Empowered by USI is Youth Investors Group. This organization focuses on building wealth and improving financial literacy for black youth. The organization will provide financial education training to middle and high school students. Focal points of the program include earning power, purpose, value of money, investments, stock market and designing and creating projects inspired by the history of African contributors to the African American culture.

Amplifying the voices of Tidewater Gardens Residents

Don’t Duck History, sponsored by United Charitable, is another organization awarded a micro-grant. They will provide Tidewater Gardens residents an opportunity to document their voices and experiences related to race and local, state and/or national history. Residents will be presented topics to choose from and resources to learn from in developing their stories. Selected writings and/or interviews will be included in a book/series of books.

The books will be presented to the participants and made available to the Norfolk Public Library and be incorporated into the redevelopment of Tidewater Gardens.

Focusing on Families Through Community Funding

Both programs, led by black women, were awarded funding through micro-grants from People First Empowered by USI. The City of Norfolk invests $3.5 million each year to support People First, and thus the micro-grants that are awarded.

People First Empowered by Urban Strategies, Inc. (USI) is a human capital development program designed to improve conditions of well-being for families directly impacted by the comprehensive redevelopment of Tidewater Gardens in Norfolk. The People First Initiative was created in response to residents’ desire for individualized supportive services to enhance their life outcomes. The City of Norfolk procured USI to implement and lead this initiative and invests $3.5 million each year into it.

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