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  • The Narrative Project

ConnCORP Announces the Disbursement of $140,000 to Local Consultants Supporting Economic Justice


December 14, 2021

CONTACT Aaron Johnson 475.305.9324


ConnCORP Announces the Disbursement of $140,000 to Local Consultants Partnering with Economic Justice Fund Businesses


Black-owned businesses received resilience and growth-based grants up to $10,000


New Haven, CT - The Connecticut Community Outreach and Revitalization Program (ConnCORP) today announced the disbursement of more than $140,000 to local consultants that have assisted in the support of Black-owned businesses through its Economic Justice Fund (EJF).

Consulting services - all offered by Black-owned professional services firms - were tailored to each EJF recipient based on a ConnCORP resiliency and growth assessment. Ranging from marketing to accounting to strategic planning, these technical assistance services were made possible with funding support from CTNext and the New Haven Innovation Collaborative. The EJF was initially launched in the summer of 2020 with a commitment to give $600,000 to families in the Newhallville and Dixwell neighborhoods for basic needs. The expanded coverage targeted several established Black-owned businesses that have been in operation for at least 24 months in the Greater New Haven area. “It’s been amazing working with these businesses and hearing their hearts around why they do what they do and what their hope is for themselves and their communities,” said Kia Burden, President of Launch Consulting, LLC. “I’m happy to support them by offering my partnership, experience, and expertise. Working with small businesses through coaching and strategic thought partnership has been an amazing opportunity. The focus of support has deep relationship building in addition to the core business supports. This investment by EJF saw the good work already going on with these businesses and created an opportunity for that good work to continue.” “We have been delighted by the work these dynamic consultants have done during our first round of the Economic Justice Fund,” said Anna Blanding, Chief Investment Officer for ConnCORP. “These Black-owned businesses have greatly benefited from their collective expertise and experience in the fields of marketing and promotion. We’re excited to see what the future will hold for these businesses and a major part of that comes from the foundation that has been built through the work of our dedicated and passionate consultants.” During the first round of funding, eight businesses were each awarded a grant of $10,000. These businesses have been matched with consultants to aid in both strategic marketing and planning as part of the EJF. “We’re proud to be able to support this pilot program,” said Michael Harris, Director of New Haven Innovation Collaborative. “Both for the immediate impact we can see in each business and for the long-term relationships that these partnerships can build between Black-owned businesses. Nationwide, these companies face persistent barriers to accessing government assistance and growth capital, especially during COVID-19. We share ConnCORP’s vision of a growing and resilient network of Black-owned businesses in New Haven, driven by local entrepreneurship and peer-to-peer support.” “The Economic Justice Fund was our answer to pivotal needs within our community, specifically addressing the financial, economical, and marketing burdens Black-owned businesses were facing,” said Erik Clemons, CEO of ConnCORP. “Through the efforts of the EJF and the consultants that have impacted these businesses we’ve been able to empower Black entrepreneurs to continue growing, learning, and inspiring to produce tangible, transformative work over the last year.” The application process for the second round of need-based grants is expected to open early 2022 and future EJF businesses will also gain access to consultants as well.

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About ConnCORP ConnCORP seeks to drive economic development in the Dixwell and Newhallville sections of New Haven by investing in local commercial and residential real estate. The objective is to deliver well-planned multi-use real estate investment, which can help stabilize the local economy, provide affordable goods and services, and create local jobs. Learn more at

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