From Bhamwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Prosper is a non-profit organization founded in 2019 and incorporated in 2021, which aims to promote equitable opportunities for Birmingham residents and small businesses, specifically by addressing "gaps" in the prior network of civic and economic organizations in the context of the city's post-COVID-19 pandemic economy.

Prosper's founding board worked with the Washington D.C.-based think tank, the Brookings Institution, to undertake an analysis of the city's overall economic climate, its COVID response, and its opportunities to address long-standing inequities and better position itself to thrive over the next decade and beyond. Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program Researchers Joseph Parilla, Ryan Donahue, and Sifan Liu researched the city's status relative to numerous economic indicators, documented the effects of pandemic-related economic policies, and communicated with "dozens of business, civic, government and community leaders" in preparing its report, which was published on June 14, 2021.

Based on the report's recommendations, Prosper focuses its initiatives on four key areas: health technology, business advisory services, Black-owned business acceleration, and the Birmingham Promise program for public school students. The organization uses funds raised as a catalyst to try to align the efforts of other groups toward achieving positive change.

J. W. Carpenter, former president of the Birmingham Education Foundation, is the executive director. It shares offices in the One721 Building at 1721–1723 3rd Avenue North with the Alabama Futures Fund.

In January 2022 Prosper organized a "Community Connectors" Advisory Board to bolster engagement.

Prosper was named as a critical economic development partner for the City of Birmingham in Mayor Randall Woodfin's 2023 State of the City address. In February 2023 Prosper was awarded a 2-year, $3,159,000 "Good Jobs Challenge Grant" from the American Rescue Plan Act administered by the City of Birmingham. With those funds the group is to establish a Health Sector Leadership Council, a Healthcare Employer Roundtable, and a Workforce Success Roundtable to work with employers to develop new "training pathways" to fill roles in community health and digital health. Strive Birmingham and the Women's Foundation of Alabama also received grant funding to participate in the Workforce Success Roundtable; and to recruit, train and support workers on those pathways.

Founding Board

Inaugural Advisory Board



  • Parilla, Joseph; Ryan Donahue & Sifan Liu (June 2021) "Birmingham’s tipping point: Achieving inclusive prosperity in the post-pandemic economy" Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program - accessed March 1, 2023
  • Pernell, Avalon (June 14, 2021) "Birmingham leaders launch economic initiative to increase equity in city." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Foster, Libby (June 16, 2021) "New initiative works for all Birmingham residents to Prosper." Bham Now
  • Patchen, Tyler (January 3, 2022) "Prosper launching a community advisory board." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Patchen, Tyler (January 12, 2022) "Acclinate, Prosper partner on new platform aimed at reducing health disparities." Birmingham Business Journal
  • "21 Birmingham Companies Chosen for Supplier Scale Program." (January 26, 2022) Birmingham Business Alliance press release
  • Shropshire, JeVante (February 3, 2022) "Prosper announces a plan to launch NEW Black Ecosystem Report." Bham Now
  • Parker, Illyshia (March 1, 2022) "Black-owned businesses getting boost with local grant initiative." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Morrison, Callie (February 23, 2023) "Prosper Birmingham introduces Operation: Backing Black Businesses." Bham Now
  • Clark, Cara (April 4, 2023) "Birmingham City Council providing Good Jobs Challenge Grants." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Harris, Shelby (March 6, 2024) "Five local nonprofits receive funding through regional competition." Birmingham Business Journal

External links