Elevate Together™ Initiative Raises Nearly $2.3 Million in First Year to Foster Growth and Profitability for Black- and Hispanic-Owned Small Businesses

Boca Raton, Fla., February 15, 2022 – Elevate Together™ powered by Round It Up America®, a nonprofit initiative founded by The ODP Corporation (NASDAQ:ODP), today announced that nearly $2.3 million was raised during the program’s inaugural year in support of its mission to help accelerate the creation, growth and prosperity of Black- and Hispanic-owned small businesses.

Through partnerships with the National Urban League and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Elevate Together™ was designed to deliver education, access and aid to small businesses with five employees or less. With an initial investment of $250,000, The ODP Corporation helped launch the program in Atlanta, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, and West Palm Beach. Throughout the year, local Urban League affiliates and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce chapters in these markets received technical assistance grants to provide eligible small business owners with access to free workshops and bootcamps, professional networks, mentorship services and more.

In 2021, 89 Black- and Hispanic-owned small businesses were awarded cash grants, valued at $5,000 or $10,000, to help them continue to innovate, grow and prosper. Selected businesses were chosen based on established criteria created by local selection committees and were evaluated based upon their proposed business plans. Certified mentors from The Venture Mentoring Team were also paired with many of these small businesses to provide advisory support and help guide them on their entrepreneurial journeys.

“Becoming one of the small business grant recipients from the Elevate Together™ initiative enabled us to hire additional staff, secure a new delivery van, and make short-term investments to hopefully expand our product line and open a second location,” said Nadeige Sterlin, co-owner of La Paix Bakery in Miramar, Florida. “I want to continue to pay it forward by sharing our story to help inspire other Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs to keep reaching for their dreams. If we all work together, we can collectively strengthen our community long term, while saving and creating more local jobs in the short term.”

“The Elevate Together™ cash grant helped elevate COVEDOZA in numerous ways,” said Elisa Molina, president, creative director and chief executive officer of COVEDOZA, based in Atlanta, Georgia. “It enabled us to invest in high-quality graphic design services to create our first-ever digital and shoppable 2021 holiday gift guide. We were able to revamp our entire homepage and invest in new business equipment that will help us expand our product offerings in 2022. Lastly, the mentorship has also been key in addressing key areas of growth for the business.”

“Elevate Together™ was created to help address systemic discrimination and historical racial disparities in business growth and profitability in Black and Hispanic communities,” said Gerry Smith, chief executive officer for The ODP Corporation. “We’re inspired by the success stories from small business owners whose lives we’ve touched through this program so far, and we hope to continue building a coalition of like-minded companies to help advance business creation and growth opportunities for Black and Hispanic businesses for years to come.”

With support from community partners and corporate partners like NCR Foundation, plus Office Depot and OfficeMax customers and associates, the program will expand its reach in 2022 to provide impactful, measurable and scalable support services and educational opportunities to help small businesses grow in Dallas, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston, Minneapolis, Phoenix and beyond.

To learn more about Elevate Together™ powered by Round It Up America®, including how to participate as a small business or donate to the initiative to help drive change, please visit www.elevatetogether.org.


About Elevate Together™

Elevate Together™ powered by Round It Up America® is a nonprofit initiative designed to address systemic discrimination and historical racial disparities in business growth and profitability in Black and Hispanic communities. Through a partnership with the National Urban League and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the initiative delivers education, access and aid to Black and Hispanic small businesses. Founded by The ODP Corporation, Elevate Together™ is supported by a coalition of like-minded companies with a mission to strengthen our local communities, foster job creation, and close the racial wealth gap. Learn more at www.elevatetogether.org.