The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve more than $500,000 in grant funding for five local nonprofits as part of the city’s Building Opportunities for Lasting Development initiative.
Mayor Randall Woodfin launched the BOLD program in 2018 as a mechanism for distributing city funds to local nonprofit and economic development organizations. While such funding previously had been meted out as line items in the city’s annual budget, the BOLD program instead encourages businesses to apply for grants through the city’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity; once approved by that office, the grants still are subject to approval by the City Council.
The five organizations selected for funding through the program in 2022 are:
- The Rebirth Community Corporation will receive up to $67,000 to implement its “Reboot: Rebuilding Better” mental health and emotional wellness program, which will provide mental health services, wellness strategies and emotional support to disadvantaged minority and small business owners in the city as they work to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Women’s Foundation of Alabama will receive up to $79,720 to continue its efforts to facilitate job accessibility and fight economic insecurity for women by collaborating with community colleges and social service nonprofits.
- Urban Impact will receive up to $125,500 to provide small business owners with resources to grow and sustain their businesses and to “identify and address barriers for women-owned, minority-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises” in the city.
- Tech Alabama’s Education Farm will receive up to $154,975 to conduct a 14-week introductory coding boot camp for 50 Birmingham residents. The camp also will include support services such as child care, loaned equipment, and regular meetings with a “success coach.”
- Finally, the Community Care Development Network will receive up to $80,000 for its Inspire Education Program, a partnership with Lawson State Community College, Jefferson State Community College, GED Works, Best Generation Recruitment and WorkFaith Birmingham. The program will assist city residents with school-to-adult, prison-to-society and unemployment-to-career transitions through academic education, job readiness and financial literacy training.
The council also voted Tuesday to approve an agenda for the Alabama State Legislature’s 2022 session, which started Tuesday. That agenda prioritizes expanding the city’s number of entertainment districts — outdoor areas where public drinking is allowed — from five to 15.
It also pushes for extension of the Tax Incremental Financing district terms; a statewide gaming constitutional amendment; implementation of an automatic, photographic traffic enforcement system; increased fines for littering; alcohol sales by mobile vendors; linking of vehicle parking fines to annual car tag renewal; pre-K program expansion; and increased tourism and entertainment funding for the city.
Tourism and entertainment in the Magic City also received a boon Tuesday as the council voted to approve $500,000 in in-kind services to the new United States Football League, a Fox Sports-owned league of eight teams that will play its entire 2022 season in Birmingham.
Eight to 11 games will be played at the city’s 100-year old Legion Field, while the rest will be played at the BJCC’s newly constructed Protective Stadium.