Local First Arizona Foundation Is Awarded $330,000 Grant From The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.

Funding to support the organization’s Entrepreneurial Education and Job Development Campus in South Phoenix

Local First Arizona Foundation (LFAF) – a nonprofit committed to community and economic development and the largest locally-owned business coalition in the country – has been awarded a $330,211 grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. The multi-year grant will support food entrepreneurs, particularly those who capitalize on LFAF’s newest program coming soon to the Brooks Academy Campus in South Phoenix. Through his program, the organization will mentor and train local small business owners, specifically entrepreneurs of color, as they leverage the vibrant flavors and cuisine of their culture to grow thriving businesses that feed their community.

Over the next two years, Local First will develop the Entrepreneurial Education and Job Development Campus in South Phoenix (Campus) and mentor 75 existing food businesses in the area. The goal is to provide training programs in English and Spanish that will help these entrepreneurs learn to more efficiently manage their businesses and maximize profitability to help ensure long-term success.

“Local First and the new Entrepreneurial Education and Job Development Campus is a major step forward in advancing entrepreneurial inclusivity in Arizona,” said President and Executive Creative Director of PXG Apparel Renee Parsons. “The benefits of growing local small businesses extend beyond a single proprietor and help create strong, sustainable communities.”

Located in what is currently considered a food desert, the campus will utilize unused space at a local elementary school and include classrooms, a commercial kitchen and expansive food gardens. A robust farmers market featuring local vendors will serve low-income families each week with increased access to culturally appropriate, healthy and affordable food. The program aims to help alleviate food insecurity and positively impact overall nutrition for more than 3,000 families in the surrounding community.

“When entrepreneurs have an opportunity to create and connect in their community with one another, it positively affects an entire area and gives it–and everyone in it–a path forward. A path where healthy food becomes more accessible, and businesses have a chance to grow and thrive,” said Local First CEO Kimber Lanning. “This and more community kitchens offer a way for new business owners to take solid steps forward building their businesses, supporting their families and employees and breaking down the barriers that previously stood in their way.”

Barriers to success for BIPOC individuals have long-since existed and include lack of access to capital, coupled with racialized zoning policies, which leave Black and Latino communities in the South Phoenix area extremely marginalized. This program aims to directly invest in these communities to build generational wealth through the advancement of successful small business development. In addition to growing culturally diverse food businesses in the area, the program will support 48 immigrant/refugee entrepreneurs and improve job skills of 250 local residents.

“Everyone willing to put in the work deserves to get an equal shot at building their own business and creating a better life for themselves and their families,” said Founder and CEO of PXG Bob Parsons. “Local First Arizona is helping give entrepreneurs, especially those in underserved communities, better access to the tools they need to succeed.”

Founded in 2003, LFA supports underserved entrepreneurs and locally owned businesses to help build a diverse, inclusive and prosperous Arizona economy. One-of-a-kind services and resources – such as hands-on learning opportunities, entrepreneurial development and community advocacy – help enable local business owners to be more resilient and improve overall success rates. To learn more, visit localfirstaz.com.