How will the Family & Friends Fund for Southeast be used? Here are the first recipients

The following is a verbatim news release from the Family & Friends Fund for Southeast.

The Family & Friends Fund for Southeast Fort Wayne, a donor-advised fund focused on providing flexible and innovative capital to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) founders in Southeast Fort Wayne hosted at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, is humbled and thrilled to announce the first cohort of capital recipients. The Fund was founded on June 20th by Kristin Giant (Hyper Local Impact) and Ty Simmons (Human Agricultural Cooperative, Utopian Community Grocery Store) and has raised over $400,000 in donations, in-kind support, and pledges in just under three months.

The fund will be deploying $105,000 in cash and in-kind support to 15 organizations. All organizations are led by Black men and women and are all serving Southeast Fort Wayne and contributing to building generational prosperity in this under-invested quadrant. All funding decisions were made by consensus from the founding three donor advisors, Ty Simmons, Ephraim Smiley Diane Rogers, and Condra Ridley.

The organizations receiving support are Utopian Community Grocery Store, Oxford Community Association, Smiley’s Hunger Relief Farm, Omotayo Rites of Passage, African & African American History Museum, Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries, All-in-One Catering, Wolverines Semi-Pro Football, Lions Semi-Pro Football, Oh Def Network, Blacklight Media, Afroplump, Bigger Than Us, Upgrade the World, and Big Momma’s Kitchen.

This innovative fund is founded on relationships, power-sharing, and radical trust. All funding decisions were made in the style of “relationship banking” with established relationships and connections from the Southeast neighborhood, and with an eye for what the neighborhood truly wants and needs -- not what outsiders think they should want or need.

“Capital has never been deployed with so much trust and transparency in our neighborhood, we have been so blown away by the support from the entire city as we build our own future here in Southeast Fort Wayne” says co-founder Ty Simmons.

The $400,000 raised to date was contributed by over 1000 individuals, over 50 small businesses, and through hundreds of events and promotions throughout the city in a coordinated fundraising effort organized by Kristin Giant, founder of Hyper Local Impact.

“I’ve never been more proud to live in Fort Wayne as I have been watching this movement grow over the past three months. And this is only the beginning.”

To make a donation to the Family & Friends Fund or to find out more about the project and the fund recipients please visit

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