New awards ceremony honors Black-owned businesses' charitable impact in Washtenaw County

The inaugural 2024 Black Business Community Impact Awards ceremony was held Feb. 9, honoring three Black-owned Washtenaw County businesses that have made lasting change through charitable efforts. 

The awards were sponsored by Parkridge Community Center, which hosted the ceremony; Washtenaw Community College's (WCC) College and Career Readiness program; and WCC's Entrepreneurship Center. The three winners were Wrapped in Love Doula & Lactation Services, Elite Quality Plus, and A Taste Of Soul by Biggie's - Soul Food Restaurant.

Community members were invited in January to nominate businesses for the award. Nonprofits weren't eligible. Businesses could be nominated in four categories: restaurants and food; retail; services; and other. Judges ultimately decided to give two awards in the "services" category and none in the "other" or "retail" categories.

Dr. Stephanie Krah, WCC's executive director of college access and success, says that Parkridge Community Center has typically hosted Black History Month programming centered on historical figures.

"This year, we wanted to acknowledge not just figures from the past but ideally ones who are making history right now," Krah says.

The three winners were among 34 nominated businesses, all honored during a ceremony Feb. 9 at the Parkridge Community Center. The event included dinner, entertainment by the WCC & Friends Jazz Ensemble, a silent auction, and a keynote speech by guest speaker M. Jeanice Townsend, a local realtor and school board treasurer who talked about her own entrepreneurship journey.

Krah says the sold-out event was a success and WCC hopes to do it again next year. 

Find more information about the WCC Entrepreneurship Center here, and more information about Parkridge Community Center programming here.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of WCC.
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