As a continuation of the team's social justice efforts, the Chicago Bulls and BMO Harris Bank have partnered to launch a program supporting Chicago Black owned businesses. The program, which will highlight one business per month during the 2020-21 regular season, will shine a spotlight on local Black owned businesses and their owners who are making a positive difference in the community.
"Using our Bulls platform to shine a spotlight on deserving local partners, organizations and businesses is one of the guiding principles of our community efforts," said Adrienne Scherenzel-Curry, Senior Director of Community Relations, Chicago Bulls. "During such an unprecedented year, we are proud to launch this program as a continuation of our social justice efforts and ultimately aim to drive awareness of these unique local Black owned businesses and their owners who are committed to making a positive difference in the community."
"The Bulls share our commitment to social justice and working towards an inclusive economic recovery, so this partnership was a very natural fit for us," said Eric Smith, Vice Chair, BMO Harris Bank. "It builds on the early momentum of our recent launch of BMO EMpower, in which we are committing $5 billion over five years aimed at addressing key barriers faced by minority businesses, communities and families."
The Bulls and BMO share a commitment to social justice efforts and community outreach, and this program is an opportunity to utilize both organizations’ platforms to drive awareness of local Black owned businesses. The Bulls selected the following deserving businesses to be highlighted throughout this program.
- December Spotlight: Paige & Paxton STEM Systems – Rachel and Kelley Williams
- Paige & Paxton is an elementary STEM system, aimed to fill a gap in STEM education, where students experience the world of STEM in exciting and dynamic ways through two puzzle piece characters, Paige & Paxton. Their products are available for purchase online.
- January Spotlight: Mettle Fitness – Jason Burns
- Burns founded Mettle Fitness, the only Black owned CrossFit gym in Chicago, in the Bronzeville neighborhood to provide South Side residents access to fitness options, including CrossFit, that were previously not readily available to them.
- February Spotlight: Justice of the Pies – Maya-Camille Broussard
- Justice of the Pies is a Chicago bakery that specializes in sweet and savory pies, quiches, and tarts. Chef Maya-Camille Broussard leads the social-mission-based brand as a steward for fairness and equality.
- March Spotlight: Greer Chicago – Chandra Greer
- Greer’s appreciation for creativity, design and the power of communication led her to open a stationery store in Lincoln Park where she curates unique paper items such as notebooks, greeting cards, stationery and office supplies that bring beauty and joy to her customers.
- April Spotlight: The Long Room – Jason Burrell
- Burrell opened The Long Room in 2000 to provide authentic hospitality and a local bar for the Ravenswood community and all who have an appreciation for craft beer and thoughtful cocktail.
- May Spotlight: Sir & Madame - Autumn and Brian Merritt
- Autumn and Brian Merritt, a husband and wife duo who first met in elementary school, have used inspiration from their relationship to create Sir & Madame, a “his and hers” clothing and accessories brand, dedicated to styling the urban sophisticate.
As a signature of the program, both organizations will purchase items from each highlighted business to be donated back to the local community or gifted to Season Ticket Holders and corporate partners. Throughout the program, each local business will be highlighted on Bulls.com/Business and the team will launch monthly video features across social and digital platforms telling the unique story and inspiration behind each business in the words of the owner. Additionally, BMO will donate a portion of their in-game promotional assets, including interior and exterior LED signage, for one Bulls game per month to the featured Black owned business for added in-arena and broadcast exposure.
Learn more and follow along here each month as the Bulls and BMO debut a feature video and share more about each business.