MILWAUKEE - It'd be hard to imagine the Milwaukee Bucks' NBA Finals run without starter Jrue Holiday. When he was traded to the Bucks, the city got more than just a point guard. The holiday family is helping businesses across Milwaukee.
The Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund provides funding and mentorship to Black-owned nonprofits and businesses. Now that he's playing in Milwaukee, businesses in the city are given priority.
Two of this year's grantees are ready to hit the ground running.
One by one, Alesia Miller caps off each bottle of Soul Brew Kombucha by hand. As her business grows, she knows she, herself, can only work so fast.
"In order for us to really hit the orders like we want to, we have to grow at a faster pace," said Miller.
Jalen Greenlee is also hoping to expand production capacity at his business, Flora Fruit Company. He's currently working out of his parent's basement.
"I was brainstorming, and God just put on my mind, you know, get healthier food into people’s diets," said Greenlee. "First, let’s start by delivering fruit boxes to people’s doors."
Both Greenlee and Miller know change is coming. They were selected as members of the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund's Class of 2021.
"No pun intended, but I can see the fruits of my labor so far," said Greenlee. "It’s only up from here."
As grantees, they will receive both funding and mentorship.
"It’s really about giving us the resources to see our businesses grow," said Miller. "This is education that we can take from this experience and continue on with our company."
Miller said she feels first-hand how the team's success on the court will have a lasting impact.
Jrue Holiday (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
"Right now, the eye is on Milwaukee," said Miller. "You know, this is a great opportunity for us to really stand by our team, and in the midst of that, they’re standing by these Black businesses."
Of the 50 businesses and nonprofits chosen from around the country,13 are based in Milwaukee.