’30 Days $30 Challenge’ spotlights African-American businesses


Jamiel Robinson hopes to be instrumental in encouraging and retaining African-American business owners in Grand Rapids. Photo by Johnny Quirin

Consumers are being asked to make a difference in the health of African-American businesses, as well as the overall economic empowerment of the African-American community by spending $30 at those businesses during October.

Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses, or GRABB, is asking the community to make the commitment to show their support of those businesses.

Lessening "leakage"

“The primary goal of our challenge is to create awareness and visibility for black businesses in our community, as well as create conscious consumers who will think carefully about where they spend their dollars,” said Jamiel Robinson, founder, GRABB.

By purchasing $30 or more in products and services from African-American-owned businesses, GRABB hopes to begin to impact the leakage of dollars from the African-American community.

The average dollar stays in the African-American community for no more than six hours, according to GRABB.

“African-American neighborhoods are neither creating nor building wealth because of the extreme leakage of dollars,” GRABB said. “Ninety-eight percent of dollars leave predominately African-American neighborhoods.”

That leaves two percent that “can be used to start and support businesses, acquire assets, which builds personal wealth, provide supplemental education opportunities for neighborhood children and invest in the upkeep and maintenance of their neighborhood,” the organization noted.

The “30 Days $30 Challenge” was conceived of after the publication of Maggie Anderson’s book “Our Black Year,” where Anderson documents her family’s attempt to patronize African-American-owned businesses over the course of one year and the tremendous struggles they had in accomplishing that goal.

Year two

This is the second year of the challenge.

“Last year, we had 207 residents take the ‘30 Days $30 Challenge’ pledge,” Robinson said. “This year, we are challenging 900 residents to commit to shifting $30 of their monthly spending to black-owned businesses.”

The pledge

People can make the “30 Days $30 Challenge” pledge online and view the GRABB directory online for a list of African-American businesses.

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