As part of our celebration of Black History Month, we want to elevate the stories of Black entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders whose work is a testament to the resilience, passion, and impact of the Black community in Miami.

We would like to introduce you to Stephen Gilmore, who leads Transitions Inc, a nonprofit located in the heart of Overtown that seeks to lift individuals out of the cycle of crime and poverty. This year, The Miami Foundation awarded Transitions Inc. with an Open For Business technology grant to build out a computer lab that the organization now uses to help formerly imprisoned citizens gain job skills and build a plan for their futures. In two years, we have had the honor of awarding nearly $900,000 to 65 nonprofits and $1.5 million to 166 businesses.

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with Stephen to learn more about Transitions Inc and the impact of their Open For Business grant.

Brenda Morrison, Open for Business Associate: In what ways has your business/nonprofit contributed to the cultural and economic vibrancy of the local Black community in Miami?

Stephen Gilmore, Executive Director: Transition’s mission is to serve Miami’s most vulnerable population – justice-involved, homeless, single-parents, and low-income, to name a few. Our primary goal is to help our participants become self-sufficient, independent and ultimately thrive in their professional and personal lives. We offer weekly free Financial Literacy and Digital Education courses to assist our community (mostly Black and Brown) in achieving economic success. We understand that, in many ways, our community lacks the support, access, and opportunity to gain entry into many fields – our goal is to eliminate ALL barriers to success!

Brenda Morrison, Open for Business Associate: As a grantee of Miami Open For Business, how has the support impacted your business’ growth and ability to serve the community?

Stephen Gilmore, Executive Director: The Miami Open for Business Microgrant has allowed our organization to completely revamp our Digital Education Center. It was a HUGE game-changer that allowed us to provide new and improved courses to participants. This wonderful donation brought us up to date, and our participants now have access to the same technology as their counterparts. We have equal footing, and the employment playing field is now a bit more level.

Brenda Morrison, Open for Business Associate: As we celebrate Black History Month, what message or advice do you have for aspiring Black entrepreneurs in Miami?

Stephen Gilmore, Executive Director: I’m often reminded of the great words of the late Dr. Maya Angelou, as well as the words of my dad, the late Bishop Samuel Lee Gilmore, Sr. Dr. Angelou stated, “When you know better… Do better!” and my dad’s last words to me were, “Do the work!” Dad, I’m doing the work of making our community better! I thank them both!

Stories like Stephen’s are why the Miami Foundation is committed to nonprofit success and asset ownership through Open for Business so that non-profit leaders who made Miami a vibrant cultural destination can continue to thrive in the city they helped create

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