Local nonprofit helps support Black-owned businesses

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – One local business is showing you the impact of a nonprofit with a special mission.

February is celebrated as Black History Month, and on Saturday, KOB 4 met some New Mexicans who embody what it means to celebrate the holiday.

 “I’ve been an automotive in some way, shape and form since I was probably like 14 years old,” said Jay Kashiff.

Now, Jay Kashiff is the proud owner of “X Automotive” in Albuquerque. 

“I realized in New Mexico, there was a very limited amount of Black business owners, especially in the automotive industry, and it wasn’t a big representation of us in automotive industry,” said Kashiff. 

Kashiff says he wanted to fill that gap by leaving a national chain to create his own business. Now, he’s found financial support that’s main purpose is to lift up local black-owned businesses like his. 

“Our philosophy is that, you know, if you invest in your community, you’re going to get back, and you’re going to have a healthier ecosystem that works for everybody,” said Jay Wilson.

Jay Wilson is the executive director of the Black Economic Security and Solidarity Fund, or the “BLESS” fund. He started the project in 2020 to help people struggling to pay rent, and now it’s evolved into a full nonprofit. 

“We started up in a time where we didn’t know what tomorrow was going to be, you know, there was a lot of uncertainty. And what I want to really say to the folks watching today is that if you have a dream, give that dream, some belief, nurture your ideas, and you know, just make the future happen,” said Wilson. 

After receiving a grant from the BLESS fund, Kashiff was able to streamline his business. 

“It allowed us to purchase some accounting software that we really were in desperate need of and allowed me to kind of like clean up a little bit,” said Kashiff.  

He calls the BLESS fund a blessing that makes room for unique businesses like his. 

“When you need a good shop, and you don’t know who to call, just call us, we’ll come pick up the car, we’ll, then all the invoicing, we work, we negotiate the rates and everything with the text, and we deliver it to you everything and everything you need,” said Kashiff. 

Click here for more information on how to apply for the BLESS fund.