Joining the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce
As UPholdings continues plans for California growth, centered around Fresno, we want to provide updates and share about local organizations that we partner and ally ourselves with.
Recently, UPholdings became a corporate member of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has a 21-year history as a locally-based membership organization with a global reach advancing the interests of the greater African-American community through the creation of opportunities, advocacy, and business & economic development. The Chamber’s foundation also provides educational programming for entrepreneurs of all ages that leads to financial responsibility, sustainability, and job growth.
The Fresno Metro Black Chamber and Foundation don’t just serve, they provide transformational leadership. Since 2017, Tara Lynn Gray has served as CEO for the organization. Her bold leadership has brought a new scale and impact on the community. Tara shared that “Real partnership comes with financial commitment and stewardship. We appreciate it when a community partner puts their money where their mouth is.”
The Chamber staff and board have shown up in important ways for the community. Specifically, this includes emergency response for business funding and support during the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected the Black community. But Fresno has a long history of racial disparities. To combat that, the Chamber team has shown strong advocacy and support for their members, having a strong leadership role in Transfor Fresno, and being a leading force in the DRIVE Initiative.
The Fresno DRIVE Initiative (Developing the Region’s Inclusive and Vibrant Economy) is a 10-year investment plan to develop an inclusive, vibrant, and sustainable economy for residents in the greater Fresno region. The DRIVE Initiative has funding earmarked in the California state budget and recently announced a James Irvine Foundation grant of $15 million to address racial equity, poverty in communities of color in Fresno.
On this news, Tara Lynn Gray told the Fresno Bee: “We are at a critical juncture in American history and there has never been a better time for an initiative like DRIVE. If we get this right, life for small business owners, particularly women and people of color, will be forever changed for the better.”