KeyBank Announces $300,000 Grant to Africatown Community Land Trust

Funds will support expansion of small business development program focused on Black entrepreneurs
Aug 3, 2022 10:00 AM ET
KeyBank and Africatown Community Land Trust logo

Africatown Community Land Trust (ACLT) has announced a $300,000 donation from KeyBank to expand its small business development program that helps entrepreneurs incubate and grow their companies.

Currently ACLT is revitalizing one of Seattle's historic landmarks, FireStation 6, by converting it into the William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation (WGC), a hub for entrepreneurship and small business development in Seattle's historic Black community. WGC will be the nexus of an innovation ecosystem in Seattle's Central District, intended to engage, empower, and uplift the community by providing the necessary resources to break into new and emerging industries.

The need is great, considering that a survey of 500 entrepreneurs by ACLT revealed that 85% would like assistance building, growing, and scaling their business. For example, only 33% of vendors reported having a marketing plan and only 17% reported access to legal representation or assistance.

To help address these issues, ACLT is partnering with Black Dot to create space for entrepreneurs and business owners to obtain the knowledge, skills, and relationships necessary to launch and sustain their ventures by offering training to a cohort of small businesses annually. KeyBank’s grant will allow the groups to expand their services and provide additional resources, services and specialized technical assistance.

“Our mission is to help our communities thrive, and nowhere is that more important than in underserved communities that often lack access to business expertise and funding,” says Matt Hill, President and Commercial Banking Sales Leader – Seattle Cascades. “We are delighted to partner with Africatown to help these industrious small-scale entrepreneurs grow their businesses and share their talents.”

K. Wyking Garrett, President and CEO of Africatown Community Land Trust adds, “ACLT is working to not only create quality affordable spaces for Seattle residents to live but to also promote strong and viable economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs and job seekers. Our partnership with KeyBank to expand our small business development programs will help to build generational wealth, close the racial wealth divide, and support a future of thriving for the Black community in the Central District and Seattle.”

The KeyBank Foundation has long engaged in philanthropic endeavors that support economic access and equity for underserved communities and populations.

Earlier this year, ACLT and Community Roots Housing (CRH) broke ground at 24th and East Spring Street in Seattle’s historic Central District. KeyBank Community Development Lending and Investment provided $37.4 million of construction financing and $14.2 million of permanent financing, and Key Community Development Corporation provided $25.7 million of low-income housing tax credit equity to the project.

This summer, ACLT is hosting a conversation series titled New Models for Creating Thriving Black Communities and Inclusive Cities where they will discuss how they’re using the partnership with KeyBank and others to create a Black economic ecosystem in the Central  District. Billed as a “4 part digital conversation,” the series engages thought leaders from the across the county in discussion of topics like the history of the land trust movement and its origins in the Black freedom struggle, using affordable housing to preserve the identity of historically Black communities, and the importance of integrating arts and culture in community development work.

The series is both a learning opportunity and part of the #thrivingblackcommunities fundraising campaign to support ACLT’s work. Find out more here. In addition to financial support, ACLT is always looking for strategic partnerships and volunteers to support their efforts. Contact them to learn more.

Africatown Community Land Trust Seattle
Africatown Community Land Trust (ACLT) is a nationally recognized community development organization founded in 2016 to preserve and promote African-American community, businesses, and culture in the Central District and Greater Seattle region. ACLT is working for community ownership of land that will ultimately build community wealth, prevent further displacement of Seattle's Black population, and preserve the Central District’s Black cultural heritage. Visit for details.

About KeyCorp
KeyCorp's roots trace back nearly 200 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $187.0 billion at June 30, 2022. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,000 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit KeyBank is Member FDIC.