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DURHAM – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, announced today that the organization has received a charitable contribution in the amount of $100,000 from The Wege Foundation to support the efforts of the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council (NC BEC). This gift is the largest monetary contribution received by the Foundation to date and synergistically coincides with the celebration of Black History Month.

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“On behalf of NC IDEA and the leadership of the NC BEC, we are humbled and grateful to The Wege Foundation for joining in our efforts to promote equitable economic development through entrepreneurship,” said Thom Ruhe, CEO and President of NC IDEA. “Their gift allows us to expand our meaningful work and collectively come together to combat the inequalities that perpetuate racial disparities,” Ruhe added.

In August 2020, the NC BEC was formed to lead the Foundation in its programmatic and grant making ambitions in furtherance of North Carolina’s Black community. Council members work closely with the Foundation to identify, recommend and support partners and programs with the expressed purpose of elevating Black Entrepreneurship in North Carolina. Recently, as its first grant-making activity, the Council awarded over $312,000 in grants to eight organizations throughout the state doing inspired things to serve the entrepreneurial aspirations and economic potential of North Carolina’s Black community.

“The Wege Foundation values organizations that share in our commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Mark Van Putten, CEO of The Wege Foundation. “We are proud to partner with NC IDEA on this important initiative to support Black entrepreneurs and foster new business creation across the State of North Carolina. We hope that our grant will inspire other funding partners who are focused on economic empowerment to support the vital work of the NC BEC,” Van Putten added.

NC IDEA is an independent private foundation committed to empowering North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential. Through our powerful combination of competitive grants and programs, and a network of strategic partners, we help entrepreneurs when they need it most. NC IDEA’s resources are highly competitive, enabling the foundation to support North Carolina’s most ambitious entrepreneurs. We believe entrepreneurs transform communities and view our work as a catalyst for positive change.

The mission of The Wege Foundation is to plant the seeds that develop leaders in economicology, health, education, and arts; and to enhance the lives of people in West Michigan and around the world. The Wege Foundation was created by Peter Melvin Wege whose father founded in 1912 the company now known as Steelcase, the world’s largest producer of office furniture.