What's on Philadelphia

Rebuilding the Block – Meet the Two Black Women behind the New Nonprofit Giving Back to the Black Community

Rebuild the Block wants everyone to take part in rebuilding, growing and maintaining Black communities across America.

Founded by Alexis Akarolo and Zelnnetta Clark, Rebuild the Block strives to help up to 15 businesses a month that are directly affected by COVID-19 and looting destruction as a result of racial injustice. Applicants are processed through a multi-step structure and tier system, and the non-profit successfully helped its first group of businesses of June 2020. The monthly amount varies for each business owner depending on the amount raised and the number of eligible applicants, and for those who apply, there will funds for Black-Owned businesses in the Philly area.

The Co-Founder, Alexis Akarolo, has seen first hand how the pandemic has affected small business owners because she’s the Creative Director of a local fashion brand in Philly. Rebuild the Block is a way that she’s making tangible change to redistribute wealth and resources. 

“This organization was created to build our people up. We’d love to give back in any way that we can to nourish the community in wealth, knowledge, and health. This is a community effort that is bigger than us.”

said Alexis Akarolo

Co-founder Alexis Akarolo
Co-founder Zelnnetta Clark

You can find Rebuild the Block on Instagram and Twitter, and please visit their website here. Keep reading to learn how to apply and for the interview with co-founder Alexis and Ze!


MISSION

Our mission is to rebuild the block through the organic growth of resources by redistributing wealth and knowledge to the black community.

WHO QUALIFIES

This fund is for black owned businesses all over the country. We are the community giving back to those businesses we love. Apply by clicking here.

GOALS

  • Redistributing the wealth, knowledge and resources from the community back into one another
  • Be a one stop shop to help the black community.
  • Having solutions to issues we face disproportionately due to the color of our skin.
  • Providing resources for future generations.

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED

People can get involved and contribute by sharing, donating and sending Rebuild the Block any resources such as organizations that are helping the community so they can reach out to them and add them on their website. Rebuild the block is also also openly seeking partnerships, as well. Contact them at Info@rebuildtheblock.org for even more information.


A DEEPER CONVERSATION

For Alexis & Ze, could you tell us how Rebuild the Block came to be?

We can both attest to always wanting to be the change we would want to see in the world especially in our community. With today’s political climate and with the pandemic affecting us in multiple ways, Alexis kick started the fund and asked Ze to be her partner in running the small business relief fund. We thought that during this time filled with so much negativity, this would be a positive way to uplift hard working business owner’s spirits. Not only them, but everyone in our community to see that they could be involved in something bigger than themselves.

The amount of support we received was divine confirmation that we needed to take action now to become an official non-profit and to expand our mission beyond the small business relief fund.  

What does rebuilding the block mean to you both? 

It’s an organization that is for us by us. We are redistributing education and resources that will help benefit us. We believe that when you invest into your community, your community will organically invest into itself. We’ve created a space that is going to further develop our foundations that we’ve been taught and/or challenging other information we’ve been fed.

Alexis, what is the Philly fashion brand of which you are the Creative Director?

I work with Lovello Elizabeth, a brand based in Philadelphia focused on comfort, quality, and functionality. I’m currently the creative director, I work on anything from development of the design of the collections to the direction of the campaigns. Working with a small black owned business definitely showed me how affected we can all be from unexpected events. This influenced my movement toward creating the relief fund. 

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