By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Nov 18, 2021 at 1:01 PM

In 2019, Paul Wellington and Rick Banks founded MKE Black, an organization committed to celebrating, promoting and advancing Black businesses, events and culture in greater Milwaukee.

Today, MKE Black is operated by a group of 10 diverse Milwaukee entrepreneurs and visionaries and it continues to grow.

“MKE Black makes it possible for businesses to accelerate their ability to connect to resources, and simultaneously empowers each of us day to day to make a conscious decision to support Black folks. And we do it with a cross cultural lens, where we work across race, gender and other perceived boundaries to make a community difference,” says Ayrton Bryan, Director of Strategic Partnerships & Initiatives for MKE Black.

Among other initiatives, the group created an online business directory of Black-owned businesses and services. The directory connects people directly to Black and Brown lawyers, mechanics, photographers, mental health professionals, restaurant owners and more.

They also recently released the 2021 MKE Black Holiday Gift Guide featuring an organized list of vendors offering clothing, coffee, wellness, home goods, experiences and more.

“What we do is simple but so powerful: we keep the conversation going. We talk to large organizations with funds to allocate, we talk to single shop owners, we talk to the individual that wants to help, but isn't quite sure how to,” says Bryan.

According to Bryan, MKE Black also works to change mindsets of Milwaukeeans to create more positive and lucrative Black success stories.

“In short, we are here to help move from a scarcity to an abundance mentality,” says Bryan.

To find out more and support MKE Black, go here

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.