April 2021 Newsletter
It's National Volunteer Month! RIBBA’s impact is dependent on the dedicated volunteers in our community that support our important work. We're excited to highlight a few of our volunteers who've helped us grow immensely this year.
 Aaron A'Vant
Aaron is a member of the Community Advisory Board of Young Adults, directs the committee's Financial Literacy efforts, and has led a Financial Literacy Workshop for young adults(linked below). He's dedicated to helping families and business professionals become World Class Savers* as a Financial Representative at The Bulfinch Group.
Stephanie Mireku
Stephanie's passion for writing of all kinds, and background in English and Business Administration fueled her interest in combining these areas through the Content Writer volunteer role. Stephanie first became involved with RIBBA through the LEAP Mentoring program as a mentee in the 2021 cohort. She is enthusiastic about relationship building, mission centric creativity, social impact, and philanthropy, and puts this into action through various outlets including her work as an Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at Providence College.
Joshua Avila
Joshua is the Chair of the Advocacy & Policy Committee and a member of the Community Advisory Board of Young Adults. His goal is to advance to a career in public service through acting as a voice for all individuals. He intend to be a mission critical change- agent to help foster an inclusive and welcoming society and nation. Working with RIBBA allows him to do that on both a local and state level.
Current Volunteer Opportunities

RIBBA is always looking for skills-based volunteers to help drive our mission forward. Please click below to share your your volunteer interest with the team.
The State of Rhode Island's Black Economy & Business Panel
A virtual panel event on the Black-American recovery and the importance of Black business development

The State of Rhode Island’s Black Economy & Business panel event will take place on Tuesday, April 27th from 6-7:30 pm. The panel will discuss the Black-American recovery and the importance of Black business development efforts. The panel will offer insight from the following economic, business, and investment experts:

  • Melissa Husband: RI Deputy Secretary of State/Director of Administration - RI Department of State 
  • Anthony Rust: Impact Fund Manager, BEI Business Equity Fund; Chair of the Investment Committee, Warren Wilson College
  • R. Anthony Rolle: Dean, Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies - University of Rhode Island 
  • Angela Ankoma: Vice President Executive Director of Equity Leadership - Rhode Island Foundation 
  • Moderator: Robin Gibbs: Regional Director, Office of International Advancement - Brown University; Board of Director Member at RIBBA 

Business Highlight: “All About the Hustle” - All About the Look Eyelash Studio
RIBBA’s mission is made possible by a stellar community of businesses, staff, volunteers, and supporters. We’d like to place a spotlight on one of the members of this incredible network: All About the Look Eyelash Studio.

The story of All About the Look Eyelash Studio is one of four letter Gs: grit, grace, grind, and growth. Hollee Freeman-Nunes, owner of the studio, is a woman with an honorable mission, an admirable resiliency, and an unwavering commitment. Hollee’s journey to entrepreneurship is equal parts unique and inspiring. Despite always having an interest in cosmetology, she began her career in K-12 education, and specifically inclusion; having a background in Special Education, Multicultural Education, and English as a Second Language (ESL), and served as a teacher for over 20 years. While teaching at Hanley Career & Technical Center toward the end of her teaching career, Hollee worked directly with students in the Cosmetology program, where her interest in this field continued to grow as she saw her passion in action with the students. Despite some resistance from others along the way and questions about the viability of cosmetology as a career path, Hollee pushed forward, with some personal encouragement to open an eyelash studio despite not having a formal business background.

All About the Look Eyelash Studio is all about empowerment and confidence. Hollee, together with her daughter, Geiana, and family friend, Carolina, have not only weathered the storm of Covid-19 as a relatively new business, but also have found ways to innovate and create community within the industry. Services offered by All About the Look include: eyelash extensions, lifts, and tints, brow shaping, microblading, and tinting, facial treatment, collagen induction treatment, chemical peel, microdermabrasion, body waxing, full face makeup, and temporary tattoos. Some of the aspects that set them apart from other similar businesses include the educational component (lash class), and attention to detail whether it is innovating their existing craft, prioritizing cleanliness, and sharing educational opportunities. At this point in their trajectory, All About the Look Eyelash Studio is focused on strengthening their foundation and resources in order to move into the next phase of growth which could include expanding staff, services, and scope.
Small Business Relief Grant Announced
 The Rhode Island Small Business Relief Grant Program provides grants of $5,000 for Rhode Island small businesses that have suffered financially due to COVID-19. Grant funds may be used to pay for:

  • Wages and/or salaries of employees to avoid furloughs or layoffs;
  • Operational costs incurred to enable the business to remain open through the state of emergency; or
  • Facilitating the reopening of the business if the business was unable to remain open for a portion of the state of emergency.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Thursday, April 15, 2021 through Friday, April 30, 2021 at 5 PM.
Scholarships Being Accepted
We are accepting applications for our 2021 Scholarship.

Scholarship award amounts vary from $500-$1000 for each individual student. To date, RIBBA has given out over $45,000 in scholarships to Black students entering college or university.

The deadline for applications is 4:00 pm on May 27, 2021.

Financial Literacy 101 for Young Adults
In addition to being National Volunteer Month, it's also Financial Literacy Month! We are excited to share our Financial Literacy 101 Workshop that took place in February and was presented by one of our featured volunteers, Aaron A'Vant.
Is Your Business Looking to Grow?
Are you in need of any of the following essential business resources?

  • Accounting/Bookkeeping
  • Legal Services
  • Marketing Services
  • IT Services
  • Business Development

If so, contact us and find out how you can receive these services through our Technical Assistance Program.
RIBBA is Hiring!
We're currently looking to fill the following positions:

To apply, send your resume and cover letter to hr@ri-bba.org.
LEAP Goal Setting Workshop
The LEAP Goal Setting Workshop taking place on Tuesday, May 11th from 5-6 pm, will focus specifically on a proactive and frame worked approach to achieving set goals that align with our values and aspirations.

Upcoming Committee Meetings
We believe in centering community members, businesses, and potential program participants in every thing we do. The following committees meet monthly and are looking for members. Drop us a line if you'd like to attend a meeting or learn more.

Advocacy & Policy Committee: Next Meeting April 19th

RIBBA's General Membership Body Meeting
This month's general membership meeting is taking place virtually on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 (6:00 PM - 7:30 PM)

In celebration of our 10th year, we'll be highlighting RIBBA's impact by hearing from RIBBA community members, business program participants, and volunteers.
Welcome New Members
Become a member
Discover the power of an ally, advocate, & change agent standing behind you, your business, career & our community. 
You can have an impact today
Your contribution will provide direct support for
RIBBA’s programs and services that directly impact Rhode Island's Black Business community.