$100,000 in funding will help launch new Northside training and entrepreneurial programs

Editor's note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's On the Ground Northside series.

At National Night Out at the Northside Association for Community Development on Tuesday, State Senator Margaret O’Brien presented Mattie Jordan-Woods, NACD Executive Director, with a check of $100,000 for Northside entrepreneurial development and training.

The funds come at a time when the neighborhood is poised to solidify their plan of creating a Northside Cultural Business District, part of the city’s Imagine 2025 master plan. The district is intended to increase the number of resident-owned business, especially those by African American and low-income residents, preserve existing housing and create new housing. It will also increase access to arts and culture, and strengthen workforce development and youth programming. The neighborhood plan was recommended by the City Planning Commission for adoption in August and will be voted on by the City Commission at its meeting Sept. 4.

A close up of the check that is giant in more ways than one. Photo by Dontae Travier

O’Brien, who says she has worked with Jordan-Woods and the NACD in other capacities was pleased to have the opportunity to help the neighborhood advance projects that support innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We were able to secure the money for entrepreneurship, training and economic development for costs that might cover opportunities that don’t normally get covered,” O’Brien says. “This will help for more long-term coverage of NACD’s plans.”

The funds come from the state’s Talent and Economic Department, which promotes business growth, tourism, and innovation across the state while helping ensure the existence of affordable housing.

“I’ve known Mattie since the '90s and we’ve worked on a lot of causes important to the community, such as infant mortality,” says O’Brien. “She has such a great vision and it’s such a do-able vision. What she’s been able to do by working with strong partners is very inspiring.

“And it takes all of us partners. It’s not just one partner. It’s everyone.”

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Read more articles by Theresa Coty O'Neil.

Theresa Coty O’Neil is the Managing Editor of Southwest Michigan Second Wave. As a longtime freelance writer, editor, and writing teacher, she has a passion for sharing the positive stories in Southwest Michigan and for mentoring young writers. She also serves as the Project Editor of the Faith in Action series and Project Lead for Battle Creek Voices of Youth.