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Advancing racial equality and economic opportunity for minority entrepreneurs

Bank of America’s partnership with Sweet Auburn Works is helping revitalize retail in the Sweet Auburn historic district

The Sweet Auburn Historic District was once known as the commercial, cultural, and spiritual center for Black communities in Atlanta prior to the Civil Rights Movement. It housed the city’s first Black-owned office building and first successful Black-owned daily newspaper and is best known as the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But decades of disinvestment have overshadowed this vibrant history, culture, and spirit. Sweet Auburn Works (SAW), a nonprofit dedicated to the revitalization of the Sweet Auburn Historic District, is committed to preserving, promoting, and revitalizing its commercial and cultural legacy. 

Funding from Bank of America is supporting the SPARK Innovation Lab, the SAW Retail Accelerator program and providing assistance and grants to support local entrepreneurs of color, creating a more vibrant ecosystem throughout the district.

Specifically, SPARK will provide:

  • Critical business improvements, including architectural and design buildouts
  • Access to consulting and design professionals to implement forward-thinking retail concepts
  • SAW staff to assist with selecting real estate, leveraging city resources, and providing programmatic support
  • Networking, mentorships, technical assistance, and education to ensure their businesses remain sustainable throughout their entrepreneurship journey

“With over 100 years of history in Atlanta, our community-centered approach remains the same,” said Al McRae, president, Bank of America Atlanta. “Our partnership and support of revitalization in Sweet Auburn began in the 1990s with single-family homes, and we continue to address critical issues to ensure that opportunities for our community are within reach.”

Through this partnership with Sweet Auburn Works, Bank of America is investing in local entrepreneurs of color and equitable economic revitalization in Atlanta.


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