New foundation aims to help minorities manage their finances

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Every plate of soul food that comes out of the kitchen at Candied Yam helps create a legacy for Jessica Ann Tyson.

Her restaurant on 44th Street employs 15 people and she is now is about to open a second location on the South Division to Grand Rapids.

Tyson’s success came with a lot of hard work.

Jessica Ann Tyson, owner of The Candied Yam. (May 31, 2022)

Most minority entrepreneurs face a steep learning curve when it comes to knowing where to turn for help.

“Then when you’re filming there, you’re busy running your business. What is your marketing plan. Marketing what? Tyson said, describing his early experiences.

Then there is funding.

“You haven’t had any savings or opportunities to save from this generational wealth,” Tyson said.

Ciarra Adkins wants to change that.

“Our mission is to center racial equity and economic justice in the BIPOC community…communities of color for those unfamiliar with the term,” said Adkins, Founder and President of the Aqume (pronounced Acme) Foundation.

Described as the first foundation founded and operated by black people in western Michigan, of Aqume The goal is to secure economic justice by helping people of color navigate through red tape and other obstacles.

It’s also about making decisions once they’ve cleared those hurdles that benefit their communities.

“The nation is going through one of the biggest wealth transfers in its history. So really positioning the BIPOC community to capitalize and learn about estates and financial literacy, trusts, etc,” Adkins said.

The foundation is designed to help minority-owned individuals, families and businesses.

“One of the most important things that we are passionate about is offering fiduciary services, where we provide executive leadership and training to boards and nonprofits, as well as helping them get up so they can do good work in our community,” Adkins said. “We really want to have a stand-alone presence. But we want to work in collaboration with other philharmonic projects in the community. Because it’s so important.

For Tyson, it’s an effort she believes could make a big difference now and in the future.

“It met the needs of the minority community,” she said.

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