Hennessy Unfinished Business Grant

For the past four weeks, Henry Williams Love has been running a micro pilot program for 10 Black Businesses in the midwest thanks to grant funding received by the Hennessy Unfinished Business Grant Program. Hennessy provided $1,500 and Henry Williams Love Foundation contributed $1,000 to ensure every business in this pilot would have access to $250 cash. One Hundred Black Men, Inc. acted as the fiscal agent as part of the advisory council for the grant. All of the in-kind supportive services being provided to these businesses are valued at $3,000. So the total cost of this micro pilot is actually $32,500.

Participating business completed a pre-consultation survey and were asked to identify one thing outside of funding/revenue that could help their business. Each business received a one-hour consulting call to identify an area of improvement and $250 to address that area. Each business then received a follow-up correspondence listing up to four recommendations to improve their business infrastructure. For example, Markell Thompson has always loved cooking, but COVID-19 presented an opportunity for him to launch Chef Kells Kitchen, LLC, a home delivery meal service business.

Chef Kells Kitchen has some buzz on Facebook, but Markell felt like he was not marketing or advertising enough, nor did he have the time to between cooking and making deliveries. Many small businesses, especially newly launched businesses struggle in this area when there is only one person running the business.

Through his consulting session, Markell received:

  1. Coaching and resources on automating his ordering directly through a free Facebook app that will save him time on the phone and text messages.
  2. A free auto-scheduler for social media posts including the posting of menus.
  3. ServSafe Managers certificate testing.
  4. One hour with a storytelling coach to help him better target his market and create further appetite for his food.

The micro pilot is a short-term triage ready approach to small businesses to give them a bit of support as they continue to develop their business plan and strategy. All ten businesses participating in this pilot will receive coaching and mentorship for 3 months. HWLF implemented this micro pilot as an opportunity to inform our larger Black Business Incubation program and ensure several points of entry for Black businesses at different stages. Micro pilot participants will receive supportive services to address one business issue for three months. Full Service Suite participants will receive supportive services for up to 12 months.

One of the guiding principles of Black Business Incubation is creating a safe space to ideate, learn, network, and co-work in a welcoming, non-judgmental and trauma-informed environment. HWLF understands the impact systematic racism, racial injustice, and deep financial disinvestment have on Black Businesses. The “doing more with even less than less” adage is a common theme among Black Businesses whether for-profit or non-profit. Participation in this micro pilot is not the complete answer, but certainly is a viable solution that can be sustained with resources. HWLF is actively fundraising and seeking funding partnerships to support the activities under the Black Business Incubation program. Individual donations to support can be made directly here: Support Henry Williams Love Foundation.

Interested in participating in the Black Business Incubation Program?

Complete this interest form: HTTP://BIT.LY/BLACKBUSINESSINTEREST.

Please contact us for any questions about the Black Business Incubation program.


Due to COVID-19, Connected Through Hoops went virtual and created a series of videos featuring fathers and sons having life conversations and practicing basketball skills drills. The call-to-action is for fathers or father-adjacent men to gather the boys in your lives and watch the videos together, have conversations, and practice the skill drills. We are hopeful that more connections can be made through hoops, even in a pandemic.

This third video features Antoine Teague and his son Antoine II. Support for the Connected Through Hoops program is provided by The Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

Connected Through Hoops-Time Management

Due to COVID-19, Connected Through Hoops went virtual and created a series of videos featuring fathers and sons having life conversations and practicing basketball skills drills. The call-to-action is for fathers or father-adjacent men to gather the boys in your lives and watch the videos together, have conversations, and practice the skill drills. We are hopeful that more connections can be made through hoops, even in a pandemic.

This second video features Azree Commander and his son Colin. Support for the Connected Through Hoops program is provided by The Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

Connected Through Hoops-The Power of Effort

Due to COVID-19, Connected Through Hoops went virtual and created a series of videos featuring fathers and sons having life conversations and practicing basketball skills drills. The call-to-action is for fathers or father-adjacent men to gather the boys in your lives and watch the videos together, have conversations, and practice the skill drills. We are hopeful that more connections can be made through hoops, even in a pandemic.

The first video features, HWLF Board Member and Creator of the Connected Through Hoops program, James Tate, Jr. and his son James III, as well as David and his son Aidan. Support for the Connected Through Hoops program is provided by The Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

Intern Updates

The Summer seems to be flying by! Our Odyssey Scholarship Program interns will be working with HWLF until the end of August 2020 and it seemed like a good time to have Melissa, Jared, and Skylah do some reflection. The three of them together are our first set of interns ever and we have designed a shared learning experience that hopefully will help them as they complete their undergraduate degrees and beyond. Each intern recorded a vlog about what they have been doing and learning since the internship began on June 22. It’s been such a great experience so far!

The Growcery Bus Project

Introducing the Growcery Bus Project!


The Growcery Store Bus Project is designed to increase exposure to and access the benefits of farm-to-table foods while providing education to communities that are typically excluded from consideration. This project is a partnership between the Henry Williams Love Foundation (HWLF) and Green Table Talks. The namesake of HWLF, Henry Williams, was an advocate for fresh organic produce and grew fruit, vegetables, and herbs on his land in St. Anne, IL, and shared his crops with his neighbors. Green Table Talk and its subsidiary project The Roots and Vine Produce Cafe strives to “Connect Farmers To People & Reconnect People With Real Food.” Merging experience and efforts between these two organizations will result in communities having greater access to and education about fresh produce, herbs, spices, and oils to enrich diets and strengthen immune systems, all provided on a fun mobile bus.HTB10SwkXInrK1RjSspkq6yuvXXa6

The products on the bus will be sourced from Black, Women, and Disadvantage Farmers, as well as small Black owned and operated businesses. This will be a different shopping experience that merges quality products and affordable prices with intuitive education. Food Security is a global problem that HWLF and Green Table Talks hopes will fill a needed gap in access to and education of fresh, healthy food products for many communities.


Meet Intern: Melissa

Bio Post Pic

My name is Melissa Sanchez and I’m a second year at the University of Chicago. I am currently double majoring in Political Science and Economics. I aspire to have a career in the business field working in a consulting or marketing firm. My hobbies are: playing soccer, practicing my creative writing, and hiking.

What interests me the most about the Henry Williams Love Foundation is having the opportunity to be working with the staff and learning how they successfully help those in need through their organization. I am intrigued by their mission to serve others by providing emergency support services, supporting women in creating their own business, and increasing access to arts in the communities.

I strongly believe that regardless of what route you take in your life, you should serve and advocate for your community in some way. No one should have to struggle alone. I know it can be hard to succeed in a world when you’re faced with adversity and don’t have the guidance of where to go for help. I vowed myself that to whichever path I take for my career, I will make a positive impact and help individuals who are struggling.

Unfortunately, our current world is suffering a pandemic where millions of lives have been impacted negatively. For the past few months, I have been attentive to the news hoping to see the rates of deaths due to COVID-19 diminish and for the headline “A vaccine has been created” to appear. I know that as a young adult, I am considered low risk, but I still fear catching it because of the possibility of infecting others.

When I learned about the horrible murder of George Floyd, I cried in anger and couldn’t believe this horrible injustice occurred. Shortly after, I watched different videos on social media that revealed the discriminatory harassment that black people have been enduring. My frustrations grew even more. I took my frustrations to the protests and used my voice to fight for justice. I was happy to see the growth of the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement making positive impacts. Seeing the power of people in the communities around the world fighting for equity gave me hope that justice can be served.

One goal I have for my internship is to learn how I can contribute to the Henry Williams Love Foundation through my work. I hope to assist in the efforts of helping a family or individual in need. I plan to achieve this by engaging effectively with the staff and the work I’m assigned, while developing new skills to ensure that I am providing quality work and service during my internship.


Meet Intern: Jared


Brodie, Jared Cover PhotoHello, my name is Jared Brodie and I am an upcoming second year student at the University of Chicago. I plan in double majoring in public policy and German with the hope of being either a lawyer or German professor. My philosophy towards community service is that it should be very personal. Lasting changes occur within communities when relationships are built amongst people within the communities and those that are trying to help it: strong communities are a byproduct of strong communal relationships.

I believe that the Henry Williams Love Foundation embodies this philosophy which is why I am excited to work with them this summer. From what I have observed, the Henry Williams Love Foundation is primarily concerned with building lasting relationships within Chicago communities so that change can result.

The current global pandemic has negatively affected a multitude of people. I sympathize with anyone who has lost a loved one because of the virus. On an optimistic note, I hope Covid-19 causes the country, and the world, to unite based off of our common humanity. So often we, as humans, have a tendency to focus on our differences and to neglect our similarities. I think the world would be a better place if humans prioritized our shared humanity over the various differences that we may have.

Concerning the recent uprising around equity within the United States, I am very pleased with what I am seeing. It’s extremely heartwarming to see individuals of various backgrounds come together for the common goal of equity amongst all humans. I only hope that when the fight for equity is won, that individuals fight for the correction of other injustices within our country with the same vigor that they have showed during the fight for equity.

On a personal level, I really enjoy watching sports. I spend the majority of my free time watching them and talking to my family about them. Currently I play on the University of Chicago’s ultimate frisbee team.

One goal that I have for my internship with the Henry Williams Love Foundation is to learn how to write grants. Writing is one of the most useful tools in society; therefore, I know that I will benefit heavily from learning this skill. I plan to achieve this by learning the process of grant writing from the staff at the Henry Williams Love Foundation and by utilizing the writing resources that the Foundation provides me.

Meet Intern: Skylah

Skylah-Image 3

Hi! My name is Skylah Fregoso, and I am a sophomore at the University of Chicago. I am currently working from home in California, and while I would love to be working directly in Chicago, I am definitely appreciating this extra time that I get to spend with my family. I spend most of my time with my two younger sisters, but when I am not playing with them, I enjoy watching shows on Netflix and Hulu–I am currently binging Sons of Anarchy–or going outside to take photos, as I love photography.

My all-time favorite way to spend my time, however, is going to concerts. I have seen a wide variety of artists in concert, ranging from Post Malone to Harry Styles to JoJo Siwa to Khalid. Since moving to Chicago, it has not only opened the doors to new (pre-coronavirus) concerts, but more importantly, to new academic opportunities. At UChicago, I plan on majoring in Economics with a specialization in Business, and I also plan on minoring in Education and Society. Although I am unsure about what exact career path I will follow, one thing is for sure: I want to use my education and privilege to help others and leave the world a better place.

This internship will be my first, and it could not have been a more perfect match!  Through the community service I did in high school, I developed a strong passion for not only helping others, but also for learning from and collaborating with those I work with, as every interaction is one of value. I believe that the best kind of work comes when you truly submerge yourself in the experience and embrace everything and everyone that comes your way.

Since being introduced to HWLF and their mission, I have been more than excited to officially become part of the team. The foundation’s passion to help increase equity among groups who are often otherwise overlooked truly resonated with me. As a Latinx woman, I have seen, as well as experienced, firsthand the injustices that many people of color face. Because people of color, especially Black people of color, are so often failed by the system, it becomes critical for organizations such as HWLF to fill the gaps where the system is lacking, as well as to disrupt it in order to increase equity.

This inequity has been present throughout this country’s history, but recent events have brought it to the forefront of public attention, from COVID-19 disproportionately affecting minority communities, heavily hitting them with high infection and death rates, to the recent uprisings in response to police brutality suffered by Black people. These crises have put a spotlight on the oppression experienced by Black people and have made one thing clear as ever: these injustices need to be addressed and undone immediately. This has gone on for far too long, and something must be done about it.

While working with HWLF, I hope to aid in the fight to dismantle this systemic inequity faced by minority communities. I plan on doing this by expanding the reach of the foundation so that we can impact as many people as possible, as well as by making sure that we have the financial support necessary to fuel our mission. More than anything, I want to be able to help make a difference in people’s lives and to give them the support and empowerment that they deserve.