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The BasBlue Foundation: A Multimillion Dollar Investment in Detroit Women

BasBlue, a nonprofit space dedicated to creating pathways and opportunities for women, opened its doors in October 2021. Today, it is a community of nearly 700 women, 60% of whom live in the City of Detroit. Now, BasBlue is launching its next chapter: The BasBlue Foundation.

The Foundation’s initial goal is to raise $2 million before the end of 2023 to support fellowships and opportunities that empower women and girls by providing tools and resources to support their education, careers and increase their access to capital. Thanks to the support of the Total Health Care Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation and The Remington Group, the BasBlue Foundation has secured $600,000 towards its goal.

“The Total Health Care Foundation is proud to support The BasBlue Foundation,” said Shannon Wilson, executive director of the Total Health Care Foundation. “The Total Health Care Foundation and Priority Health firmly believe that removing barriers to wellness makes a positive impact on the community. The BasBlue Foundation is addressing that same belief by providing support to women from the ground up and helping identify a path to success. We are looking forward to the future of this investment and seeing the impact it will make.”

As its first initiative, the foundation is launching the BasBlue Zero-to-One Fellowship. The program is a 12-month fellowship program that will provide each fellow with early-stage capital, business coaching, financial and legal planning, sustained mentorship, subject-matter experts, direct connections to industry relevant BasBlue members, and a network of like-minded peers – all to help our fellows identify a clear path for growth and success. Applications for the fellowship are being accepted now at BasBlueUS.com.

“Human rights activist Malala Yousafzai was quoted as saying, ‘We can’t all succeed when half of us are held back,’” said Nancy Tellem, who, along with Natacha Hildebrand, co-founded BasBlue. “That sentiment is at the heart of The BasBlue Foundation. We have a true commitment to using our resources to eliminate barriers that block far too many women from achieving their goals and realizing their dreams.”

The Foundation is built on three pillars: Access, Incubate and Growth. Each pillar has a specific goal and programs that align with the goal:

  • Access:Opportunity starts with Access. Our Access pillar is defined by providing access and thereby opportunity delivered through curated space (operating and maintaining the BasBlue house), member-to-member connection (curating and empowering the BasBlue Member Network), in-house programming (developing weekly programs and events + rotating art program), membership scholarships (curating the Trailblazer-in-Residence program), and public events (executing city-wide Community Days).
  • Incubate:Our Incubate pillar directly supports our community and city in helping aspiring business owners via the Zero-to-One Fellowship (development, execution and capital for fellows), burgeoning entrepreneurs via Founders + Fund(Her)s Pitch Day (execution and management), and Member Off-Sites (providing the BasBlue community with sponsored volunteer days).
  • Growth:As we gain access and incubate careers, growth is ongoing – and through this pillar, we support the continuous growth and progress of the community through educational seminars (planning, funding and execution); to Mentor + Member Matching (facilitation and curation); to our Leadership Development Series (skills for team building and management); and Mental Health awareness.

“While creating the BasBlue space was the beginning, we always knew we wanted to develop long-term opportunities to drive capital and connections back into Detroit. That is why we designed our foundation strategy with a women’s career arc at the heart,” said BasBlue

co-founder Natacha Hildebrand. “From the early days, which require access to knowledge, capital, and a strong network to build confidence, all the way through becoming an executive and gaining leadership skills, navigating family planning, and investing for generational wealth; collectively delivering concentric circles of development and empowerment resulting in long-standing impact.”

BasBlue will work with Invest Detroit as part of their fellowship selection committee and other Detroit neighborhood-based nonprofits and organizations to identify potential fellows for the Zero-to-One-Fellowship and help drive citywide awareness of the BasBlue Foundation and programs.

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