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Melanin Market Partners with Community First Cares Foundation to Offer $20,000 in Microgrants to Help Minority-Owned Businesses

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., (April 8, 2024) – The Melanin Market announced today a new partnership with the Community First Cares Foundation that will fund 20 $1,000 microgrants to minority-owned businesses in 2024. Community First Cares is the philanthropic arm of Community First Credit Union and is funded by the credit union, its members, its employees and vendors/partners. The Melanin Market microgrant program supports these businesses by easing the financial burden of business-related expenses as they grow and flourish. 

“These grants make a huge impact on small businesses when they are looking for that extra support to take their business to the next level,” said Dawn Curling, Executive Director of The Melanin Market. “We have previously offered $500 microgrants, but thanks to our new partnership with the Community First Cares Foundation, we are able to double our financial impact on these businesses.”

The new microgrant program officially launches in April and the first recipients will be awarded during the Juneteenth Melanin Market being held on Saturday, June 15 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Through this competitive program, Melanin Market businesses can seek funding to bring new ideas to life, introduce new products and cover other business-related expenses.

According to the 2020 Annual Business Survey, only 3% of businesses with employees in Duval County are Black-owned, totaling nearly 1,000 businesses. These businesses are typically underrepresented in economic stimulation in the region, enabling microgrants to make a big, positive impact.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Melanin Market to support our local minority-owned businesses,” said Roger Rassman, chair of the board of the Community First Cares Foundation. “This is more than just financial support – we are investing in the dreams and aspirations of our community so they can live their best lives. Our team is genuinely excited to see these microgrants empower entrepreneurs, spark innovation, and create lasting positive change.”

Petika Tave, author and owner of Baya Books & More is a previous recipient of a Melanin Market microgrant. She currently has three published books and utilized the funds to hire an illustrator to partner with her daughter on the production of her very first book. She added, “[The Melanin Market microgrant] has been so fundamental. Having the funds allowed us to carefully select someone who could accurately and beautifully bring our words to life.” 

In addition to providing microgrants, The Melanin Market hosts several markets annually that feature minority-owned businesses, artists, educational experiences and a variety of entertainment to empower these businesses and further their independence and development.

For more information and to apply for a grant, please visit 


About Jax Melanin Market

The Melanin Market empowers small and minority-owned businesses by providing a vibrant platform that merges culture, commerce and creativity. We offer business opportunities, act as a marketplace and foster a supportive learning environment. Through our efforts, we aim to boost economic independence and strengthen communities. For more information, visit

About the Community First Cares Foundation

The Community First Cares Foundation, founded by Community First Credit Union, is a non-profit charitable foundation that grants funds to improve the quality of life in North Florida. The foundation supports activities to improve financial literacy, enhance the quality of our educational system, upgrade the health and welfare of our community and help underserved citizens.

The Community First Cares Foundation makes contributions to nonprofit organizations that serve the communities on the First Coast. For more information, visit or call 904-371-8090.

Grant Recipient: Monique Burr Foundation

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Poverty is a silent epidemic in our schools, and many issues with attendance and academics are directly related to students not having clean clothes, shoes that fit, or the supplies they need to be successful in school. Students want to feel good about themselves when they come to school, and we want to help them have everything they need to learn. We could not have opened our first on-site classroom-sized Giving Closet without this funding and volunteer support.

Jennifer Smith, DCPS teacher and Founder of The Giving Closet Project.

Community First Cares

637 N Lee St. (P.O. Box 2600)
Jacksonville, FL 32232

Phone: (904) 371-8090

Email: [email protected]

Have a Special Project?

The Community First Cares Foundation supports projects that place a special emphasis on activities that improve financial literacy, enhance the quality of our educational system, upgrade the health and welfare of our community and help the underserved citizens improve their quality of life.  We offer funding to help our community partners implement these initiative right here on the First Coast.