Happy Holidays

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I hope this newsletter finds you well, with a heart full of love, and endless opportunities for business and personal growth! Our team, like most of you, is busy with family and work! There was a time when the latter months of the year were a slower time for ONABEN. As our organization has grown, that is no longer the case! I would not have it any other way. Our team is dedicated to supporting the entrepreneurial development needs of people of color and is committed to supporting the needs of small businesses, resource partners, and economic development initiatives throughout the United States. Every day is a gift when we are empowered to give back to the communities of color that ONABEN has supported for over thirty years now. 

If you have been following us on social media, you may have noticed that ONABEN’s leadership has established a partnership with GoDaddy. This collaboration will result in the design of up to 150 websites, and free hosting for two years for program participants in the Portland, Oregon metro area. In addition to website design, participants are provided the opportunity to grow their business aptitude via an online training portal. We are excited to announce that our first cohort is actively working through the modules, and our internal goal is to have websites created for the pilot group by the end of the calendar year! Exciting stuff! If you are interested in learning more about this project, please reach out to me. I am always happy to chat!

In November, ONABEN’s Girl Talk program embarked upon a Washington, DC adventure with a group of youth. The young women were introduced to women in history who left an imprint on the world, and who are recognized for their empowerment efforts. While the US Capitol is currently not conducting organized tours, ONABEN’s group was treated to a private tour of this important institution. We are very grateful to Senator Inhoffe’s office for making this tour possible. Many thanks to Bank of America for embracing the importance of creating leaders of tomorrow. 

Our empowerment program could not leave out women in small businesses! Therefore, ONABEN held its first women in business cohort event in DC, in November, as well. Attendees were welcomed by the SBA Administrator, Isabella Casillas Guzman via a special video, and received a surprise visit from Natalie Madeira Cofield during ONABEN’s training event! The women cohort group is made possible through a grant from the MBDA. The cohort event is one of five that will occur over the next twelve months. ONABEN is excited to work with a cohort filled with women entrepreneurs! Look for information to come regarding other cohort group opportunities. 
As the year comes to an end, I want to extend my gratitude to our many partners and friends. It has been a difficult year. As many of you know, I lost my mother in early September. The impact that she left on my heart and my life are unmeasurable. To say that grief has been at times overwhelming is an understatement. Thankfully, my mother always impressed upon me to look ahead and to constantly count my blessings.

Merry Christmas, friends. May love and light abound. 


Michael Bridges

Michael Bridges

Michael is a proud U.S. Army Veteran and a member of the Cherokee Nation. With 10 years of service as an Infantryman, Michael implements the core values of integrity, honor, and selfless service into his leadership of the company. With over 20 years of experience, Michael began working with building websites and graphic design in 1998. A family-oriented man, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife Kristina and their three children. He is a proud and active member of Jenks Lodge #497 A.F. & A.M. and an advisor for the Order of DeMolay.