2021 Annual Letter: Year 1 of a Kind
"Justice and equality for Blacks is incredibly long-overdue, and even though not all of us can partake in the frontline battles and protests, each of us has a unique and valuable set of gifts that we can and should use to the best of our ability to fight for this change by correcting issues that disenfranchise & limit the opportunities for members belonging to the Black community.
My name is Briana B. Franklin, and I'm participating in this effort through my initiative, The Prosp(a)rity Project."
The cards of life can be quite funny in how they land when shuffled. When I penned the words above, initially published as part of a blog piece on my website, Just B. Frank, it was done to chronicle the turning point in a journey I described at the time as my "pursuit of prosperity".
When The Prosp(a)rity Project (initially spelled the traditional way, as per the description above) came about, it was established in a far more makeshift capacity—none other than a clever title for a survey project so that those I solicited to participate would be more inclined do so and not dismiss so readily. At the time, I was on a totally different kind of mission: helping a then-longtime idol of mine diversify her businesses to serve & employ more Black women.
But, as responses started to roll in, the project quickly took on a different shape and life of its own, evolving into the standalone organization I'm so proud to have continued building ever since.
Since going into business officially on June 7th, 2020, we've accomplished more than I could have ever estimated not just as far as output, but also in what we've achieved as an entity. There've been exuberating highs as well as devastating lows, but through it all, we've stayed the course and gotten ever closer to achieving our ultimate goal of socioeconomically empowering and advancing Black women.
After such a whirlwind experience of starting from scratch to bring this idea to life, I want to take a moment to share a few of my "top 3s" to chronicle these past 12 months as well as what I anticipate for the next 12!
Top 3 most memorable moments:
Getting the news that The Prosp(a)rity Project made it into the first cohort of Goldman Sachs' One Million Black Women Initiative
Having our work profiled in Forbes (after only 6 months of operations)
Being supported/endorsed by Rachel Dratch and Imani Hakim for our first Giving Tuesday
Top 3 biggest challenges as a first-time nonprofit founder:
Realizing that 501(c)(3) status is not granted overnight! (And can take months to obtain)
Coping with the sometimes sudden & unexpected departure of pivotal team members
Bringing together the right team of advisors/governing council
What I'm looking forward to the most in year 2:
Increasing our capacity to help our Prosperettes
Finally getting to operate in a world that isn't relegated solely to virtual contact
Seeing what awesome new additions join us and enhance our already incredible team
By this point, I'm no stranger to the fact that hardly anything in entrepreneurship ever goes exactly as planned, so what this next year will ultimately look like remains very much to be determined. But, based on all the magic we've been able to make happen after diving into this journey without any formal plan or even much of a grasp on the kind of work we were about to take on, I can only foresee that year two of The Prosp(a)rity Project will be marked by tremendous success!
Thank you sincerely to each of you who has supported or endorsed us in any way, and we can't wait to accomplish more excellence together.
Yours in pursuit,
Briana "Bri" Franklin,
Co-founder, President & CEO