The People for Change started in 2006 as a group of community leaders and business owners in Prince George's County and the state of Maryland who were concerned about quality of life issues. We began hosting town halls meetings on key issues, providing educational forums, and encouraging constituents to be more engaged and involved.
In 2009 we brought minority businesses together to look at access to local, state, and federal contracts. We were especially concerned that a $2 billion dollar project at the National Harbor netted less than 3% in contracts to local minority businesses and there was no requirement that the minority businesses were local. Our tax dollars were subsidizing projects yet, there was no investment in minority businesses.
In March 2011 an emergency meeting was called to address the new County Executive (Rushern Baker) proposing to cut funding to the nonprofit sector. After three meetings it did not take long for us to realize that we needed more than just a voice. Our nonprofits were not growing, they lacked the technical support, and needed to build their capacity to go after funding. They also needed opportunities to network, collaborate and share resources--many of the nonprofits in the room were meeting each other for the very 1st time.
In May 2011, it was decided we needed a collective voice to represent our nonprofits in the County. In addition our minority businesses were also in need of a voice and an organization that could help provide technical support and capacity building to help grow their businesses. With the announcement of the County Executive’s $50 million dollar economic development incentive fund, this was an opportunity to get access to capital and help expand and grow small and minority businesses. In addition, they lacked access and participation in contracts and development projects in the county.
The time had come for a unified voice for our nonprofits and minority businesses. It was decided after three meetings, to form a coalition, which would represent the nonprofit sector and the minority business population in Prince George’s County. The mission would be to assess their needs, provide the support and help them expand and grow.
Thus, in June 2011 we officially formed the People for Change Coalition. We received our IRS determination letter November 2011 and held our 1st membership meeting with nonprofits January 20, 2012 with over 50 people in attendance. Our first meeting for our minority businesses was held on March 22, 2012 hosted by Keller Williams in Largo with over 70 people in attendance.
The 1st year was a huge success with over 100 organizations joining.
The 2nd year we grew to 250 members
The 3rd year we grew to over 300 members