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Celebrating Seven Years of Empowering Black Youth in Entrepreneurship at UNTAPPED

On Thursday, November 2nd, we commemorated seven years of our bold mission to empower and uplift Black youth through entrepreneurship at our annual fundraiser, UNTAPPED: Powering the Possibilities For a New Generation of Black Entrepreneurs. It was an inspiring and mission-driven evening filled with delicious food, an open bar, live art painting by Ewrks and KALIEF, raffle prizes, and a Gray Matter Alumni showcase.

The Chicago Bulls were recognized with the esteemed Corporate Leadership award. The city’s economic development arm, World Business Chicago was honored with the Community Commitment award for their partnership within the community. Entrepreneurs were not left out of the recognition either. Dion Dawson, the visionary Founder of Dion’s Chicago Dream, a fresh produce delivery program based in Englewood, was celebrated with the #GMEChanger award. In a proud moment for the Gray Matter family, Yahriel Walton, an alumnus and budding entrepreneur, was presented with the UNTAPPED award.

“With Gray Matter, the program just doesn’t help Black and Brown youth in their business and entrepreneurship, but also helps them excel in personal endeavors such as community organizations and in their careers” Jordan Lewis, Gray Matter Experience Alum

The event was well-attended by over 100 industry executives, community leaders, visionary entrepreneurs, and professionals who ardently support youth entrepreneurship and leadership development programs. The evening was filled with live art by KALIEF and EWRKS, music by DJ SLOT-A, and a live raffle, all contributing to transforming the lives of Chicago's youth. Following the main event, guests attended the after-party held at the Selva Lounge within The Emily Hotel. They enjoyed specialty cocktails sponsored by Johnnie Walker, with music provided by DJ Slot-A and Aced Spade.

The Gray Matter Experience’s programming, powered through this event, has had a deep and enduring impact on the youth of Chicago. By transforming young lives, we are creating a chain of positive change throughout the community.

We successfully raised $95,763 towards our mission to inspire, educate, and empower the next generation of Black changemakers. These funds represent more than financial support - they symbolize hope, opportunity, and the promise of a brighter future. All proceeds from the event will directly support entrepreneurship programs and educational opportunities, paving the way for young adults in Chicago to excel as the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs.

As we look to the future, we are eager to continue our work. With your unwavering support, we are confident that we can continue to empower young Black entrepreneurs and drive lasting change in our community.

At UNTAPPED, we've successfully raised $95,000 towards our ambitious fundraising goal of $125,000. Now, we're turning to you for support to bridge the remaining gap. Your generous donation can make a significant impact, helping us empower more Black youth in entrepreneurship. Join us in reaching our goal and making a lasting difference. Give today and help us surpass our fundraising target.