Issue No. 27 – A time To Give Thanks!
Issue No. 27
A Time to Give Thanks!
Another Thanksgiving holiday in the books, but the season of giving is now upon us, and it is our most favorite time of the year. Thanksgiving reminds you of many fun memories growing up if you’re anything like me. During this festive season of giving, we hope you and yours get to have and create a memorable time together with the love and warmth of family. For us at Vivian’s Door, it is always a fantastic time, a time to be thankful and share with family and loved ones. We are always full of gratitude for you, our cherished supporters, and all you do for this cause.
The year has been challenging; while there were many ups and downs, some curved balls hit us, but we got back up and continued strong. “The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.” – Dr. Robert Holden. So, as we move through this holiday season, we hope you’ll catch the gratitude spirit and allow it to shift your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.
Veterans – Salute
Even though Veterans Day has come and gone, Vivian’s Door still wants to lend her voice to celebrate all veterans and military spouses who have served our dear country. We salute you – and to all who have bled, sacrificed paid the ultimate price for our democracy and this great nation, America. We hope you took some time to direct your thoughts and prayers for these brave men and women, sheroes, and heroes, many of whom have sacrificed limb and life in the service of America. Many have passed; we pause to remember them and honor their memory, sacrifice, and service. Some who are still among us today continue to serve adorned with the work clothes of a business owner. We salute you!
As partners in the struggle to improve the fortunes of minority business owners and develop our communities, we don’t take our veterans’ role lightly. So, in this edition of our newsletter, we would like to share with you our esteemed supporters’ two veterans turned business owners with whom we have had the opportunity to assist through Vivian’s Door. They’ve told us why they served, and the lasting impact serving continues to have on them to date.
Sofia Cross, Fade Factory Barber Academy P.C. owner in Mobile, AL, served in the U.S. Navy. Sofia says that she learned about teamwork and how to make things happen. She said, “Even now in my business, I always try to build and maintain a strong team spirit.” Looking back, she recalls with fond memories of her first cruise; “being aboard the large aircraft carrier ship felt so great – being a part of something greater than you.” Business owners need training – one thing I learned serving in the Navy – “…when you’re under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion; you sink to the level of your training. Train well!”
Dexter A. Sutton, the owner of Dexter’s Fitness Center and Hope Boxing Academy in Mobile, AL, and a former professional boxer, served in the U.S. Army Reserve. Dexter says, “He joined up to serve his country – a dream he had always had as a kid.” One thing that has stuck with Dexter is “discipline, leadership, and the importance of completing tasks and working as a team.” He was excited to drive and practice on a self-propelled howitzer artillery gun – the energy, the power was just so incredible.” Dexter likes the freedom and flexibility of being his own boss and is driven to provide for his family. “Being a business owner takes courage and perseverance. To stay relevant and create profit, you must constantly research industry trends, strive to understand your business finances, and work to improve your business operations.”
Mental Health Mondays
It was a wonderful time indeed at last month’s Mental Health Mondays session. Vivian’s Door is grateful to you all for showing up. We sincerely appreciate our two engaged facilitators, Afiya K. Hooker and Shannon Treadwell, for giving us the gift of their time and knowledge.
So, this month’s Mental Health Mondays, which is the last session for this year, takes place on December 13th. Get ready as we cap off the year with helpful information that will enable you to better cope with daily life stress and demands.
Funding and Grants
The deadline for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (COVID EIDL) is December 31, 2021, and the SBA Alabama District Office has created special office hours to assist all those who are eligible to complete their applications. Read through and make your case for a much-needed financial boast.
The Alabama District Office stands ready to help:
- Provide answers to any questions about the program
- Provide status updates when applicants reach out to us individually
- Provide applicants a better understanding of the loan application process and decisions
- Provide recommendations on which documents may help overcome certain denials
- Provide minor assistance to folks who have been waiting outside “normal” processing times
Office hours are available during December to help to answer both potential and current applicant’s questions. All 1-hour sessions start at 10 am on the following dates:
- Friday, December 3
- Wednesday, December 8
- Friday, December 10
- Wednesday, December 15
- Friday, December 17
- Wednesday, December 22
30 Day Gratitude Challenge
We at Vivian’s Door want you to share in our joy and allow us to share in yours. The practice of gratitude has a powerful impact on us humans. While expressing gratitude may not come naturally, the very act of showing appreciation consistently helps you (the giver) as well as others (the receiver). When you feel and express gratitude, you experience more happiness, less stress, feel better about yourself, feel more energetic and resilient, and get over the curve balls that life throws.
Scientists say that gratitude changes your worldview and makes you happier; your current situations then catch up. Your words of appreciation shift your state, allowing you to shift your focus from the frustrating single event and over to a better day. Have you ever complimented someone, and in response, they tell you just how you made their day?
We kick off our 30 Days Gratitude Challenge on today, culminating at the start of the new year. So please join us as we uplift your spirits and improve your attitude and perspective, no questions.
Try to keep it going; personally commit yourself to actively finding things or people you want to express gratitude to – we hope this inspires you to share the same gratitude with others through this Gratitude Season.
Today, Vivian’s Door celebrates Mr. Robert Clopton Sr. for his invaluable assistance in so many ways. As President of the Mobile County NAACP Unit #5044 branch AL, a nonprofit group founded in 1909, Robert is a go-to community outreach partner; with his team, they have stood ever-ready to assist us with community projects.
Robert Clopton, Sr., has over four decades of volunteering, along with his team, are local advocates continuing the fight for the rights of marginalized people of color. He brings over 31 years of corporate experience from the United Parcel Service, where he rose to a corporate manager and partner position before retiring.
Having held several positions on his volunteering journey, Roberts’s keen interest in volunteering arises from his mantra, Philippians 2:3 “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather in humility value others as yourself.” He endures to value others and help them live the life he’s blessed to have.
As a body, the NAACP is particular about the partnerships and relations it forms within the community. Robert says that “unknown to many current members of the NAACP in Mobile and the family of Vivian’s Door, the motivation for the NAACP’s support of Vivian’s Door, can be traced back to 1963 when Ms. Vivian Malone sought to complete her education at the University of Alabama. The NAACP, the Malone family, and other civil rights groups worked together to ensure her entrance, safety, and matriculation while at the University. The Malone family and the NAACP are synonymous with civic involvement; thus, the Mission of Vivian’s Door goes hand in hand with the mission and vision of the NAACP.”
Mr. Clopton also affirms his support for Vivian’s Door springs from the similarity with the NAACP’s mission, addressing; “political, educational, and social inequities of all people, also, the NAACP’s mission seeks to ensure the economic equality of rights of all people.” Our mission lines up perfectly with the mission of Vivian’s Door, “to help small businesses build wealth for themselves and residents in their communities which are marginalized, face systemic poverty, and experience low levels of venture capital.” This overlap between NAACP and Vivian’s Door mission, Robert notes, “is critical to the survival of our communities.”
Robert is excited about the impact of the work Vivian’s Door is doing in the community, and he says, “…always stay true to your mission. Even in your infancy, you have been vital to so many within the community; the Malone family’s perseverance, advocacy, and your carrying of the torch exhibit generational resilience, “keep up the good work.
We’re Grateful for You
And so, in the spirit of thanksgiving, we are making a list of things Vivian’s Door is thankful for over the past year. We are grateful for having achieved the following.
Redeveloping the Vivian’s Door website:Our new website better addresses the needs of the community we serve; better fitted to serve minority-owned small businesses, anchor institutions, and our community. Countdown to release date.
Assisting Businesses and Black Farmers: We’ve been able to help more than 200 minority businesses with business plans, growth plans, funding paperwork, marketing, and business operations support since 2018. In 2021, we helped over 100 people of color businesses access CARES-ACT and other COVID-19 grant funds.
Monthly e-newsletters: The newsletter, which targets over 2,300 social media followers and 900 email followers, has successfully provided business information and resources every month.
Providing Content: We’ve successfully consistently provided timely, culturally uplifting, and relevant content to our supporters throughout 2021.
Establishing Book Club:We successfully established and hosted a book club with over 100 members.
Hosting Ask the Author Session: Completing two books, “The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap” and “Our Black Agenda, A Guide to Black Power,” and hosting two masterful “Ask the Author” sessions with authors Mehrsa Baradaran and Lloyd C. Ford, II.
Annual Walk-Through Vivian’s Door Market/Festival:We are gradually planning towards the next annual Walk-Through Vivian’s Door Market/Festival with projections for over 500 attendees, where minority businesses showcase their products and services to the community.
Awards: Vivian’s Door received the prestigious 2020 Alabama NAACP Community Partner of the Year Award.
Elevating Businesses: We helped several people of color business owners get featured in articles, most notably a CNN special COVID-19 series which aired in January 2021.
In the Media: Vivian’s Door was opportune to be featured in an upcoming Forbes Magazine article.
Proposals: We have put together two federal grants, numerous foundation grants, and corporate grants to receive funding and become better positioned to serve more clients, facilitate business development, and help contribute to economic empowerment for hundreds of small business owners in underserved and marginalized communities.
Strategic Planning: We’ve put a committee together to assist Vivian’s Door in establishing a focused strategic plan.
Thank You:We extend our heartfelt thanks to you, our loyal supporters, our community, and everyone who has viewed our content searching for information and resources.
We are also thankful for all the letters of support provided by so many key leaders in Alabama who have faith in our mission and vision.
We are also grateful for our fantastic team and partners’ faith and commitment to our goals and ambitions. Your confidence in our ability to grow, scale, and do the work makes us continue on the journey daily.
And as we wrap up this edition of the Vivian’s Door Newsletter, we leave you with the words of Charles Dickens; “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” In this season of thanksgiving, focus more on your present blessings and less on your past misfortunes.
As always, our work continues, and we urge you, our supporters, to help us do more, reach more, help more minority businesses in these difficult times. We remain focused on our mission to bridge the racial wealth gap in our communities, empowering minority business owners to grow, scale, and reinvest.
We thank you for your past generous donations; they have helped immensely.
Thank you so much for being so supportive of Vivian’s Door. We cannot accomplish the work we do without you. We also ask that you continue to support our cause. We exist because you have continued to help us in our work.
We realize we still have a long way to get the much-needed skills and know-how to empower minority small businesses in our communities, but our head is in the right direction. And we can only succeed at this through your generous donations; “…this is something we must do for others, family and community…” by pulling together, we can improve the lives of minority small business owners and the residents they serve in our community.
Feel free to share this newsletter with anyone you feel will find one or more helpful information here. Together we continue to make a difference for minority business owners.
Vivian’s Door exists to bridge the racial wealth gap in minority/black communities’ one business at a time.
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