2024 Game Changers Womans History Month_Showcase-Dean_2568x1444_v3

Detroit -- Charity Dean, President and CEO of Michigan Black Business Alliance (MBBA), is committed to providing local minority-owned businesses with the necessary resources to thrive.

Along with her colleagues, Dean launched the organization three years ago in response to the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local small-business community.

“During COVID when I was leading the city’s small business response, it became increasingly clear to me that we did not see a local advocate for the Black businesses in the city,” Dean said. “A few others and I came together to say, ‘how do we create an organization to help fill that gap?’ And so that’s what we did.”

MBBA has flourished and is committed to the continued growth of Black-owned small businesses in the community and beyond.

“Now we are 3 years old with 1,500 members and we have connected our members to over $10 million in funding,” Dean said. “We are advocating for them at every level of government.”

Dean’s commitment to MBBA is just one of several ways she contributes to the community. Prior to her current role, Dean worked as the Director of Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity for the City of Detroit as well as being designated by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to act as Michigan Women’s Commissioner for the city of Detroit.

Dean, who is also active on the boards for various nonprofit organizations and serves as trustee for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, is the final honoree of the 2024 Women’s History Month Game Changers series, celebrating women making a significant impact in the community.

“For years, Charity Dean has positioned her work at the center of advocating and supporting opportunities to ensure Black-owned businesses thrive in our community,” Ilitch Sports + Entertainment Director of Community Impact Kevin Brown said. “Charity and her team at the Michigan Black Business Alliance continue this important work each day, and we're proud to celebrate Charity as a Game Changers honoree.”

Since MBBA was established in 2021, the organization has grown immensely and works to close the racial-wealth gap while providing essential resources to the business community.

April 14 marks MBBA’s three-year anniversary, and Dean said she’s looking forward to celebrating the organization’s upcoming expansion. The alliance will transition from solely serving the city of Detroit to servicing businesses across Michigan.

“We are approachable, authentic, we have built relationships and we have helped folks,” Dean said. “Word of mouth has been one of the biggest ways that we have grown over the past three years. Even beyond that, there is a sense of excitement that comes with this growth.

“But there’s also a sense of responsibility and we want to make sure that we are building trust in the communities where we go and then make sure that we are able to take some of that impact from Detroit and take that statewide.”

Dean said she’s proud of the positive impact that MBBA has had on the community.

“I feel honored,” Dean said. “Our organization is not necessarily gender specific, but 70 percent of our members are women. To be acknowledged for the work that we just see as necessary, it makes me feel seen. I really appreciate that.”

To learn more about MBBA, visit blackbizalliance.org.