About Us

We are Colorado’s Black-serving and Black Led Operating Community Foundation (public charity IRS designation EIN 85-2802236, 501(C)(3), 509(a)(2)

We achieve this by providing ongoing support to primarily aspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders, and business owners.

The AYA Fern

The AYA (eye-uh) fern is the West African Adinkra symbol for endurance and resourcefulness. It is believed that this symbol embodies those who have endured many adversities and outlasted much difficulty.

Our Approach

AYA (eye-uh) Foundation is dedicated to restoring the health of Black individuals and families by actively closing the wealth gap.

We achieve this by providing ongoing support to new Black entrepreneurs and small business owners in envisioning, launching, and growing their businesses. We nurture success in individuals throughout Colorado with comprehensive training, access to capital, and connection to the right networks for success.

Our focus is on serving aspiring and start-up  Black entrepreneurs and business owners aged 18-99, particularly those facing significant barriers to opportunity, such as those in dead-end jobs or earning minimum wage. We prioritize individuals with promising business ideas but limited wealth capacity, offering them the opportunity to learn the essential skills for building a successful business. Our inclusive classes, events, and programs welcome participation from Black individuals across the diaspora, irrespective of disability, gender, identity, religion, or background.

AYA Foundation stands as the first public charity community foundation in Colorado dedicated to serving the Black community. Recognizing that programming alone cannot resolve the wealth disparity, AYA leadership is determined to address the under-resourced and undercapitalized state of the Black business community. Backed by initial funding and support from Gates Family Foundation, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade,  Small Business Administration, Colorado Trust, Colorado Gives Foundation, Mile High United Way, The Colorado Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, McKinsey & Company, Cooley LLP, Rose Community Foundation, Colorado Enterprise Fund,  and hundreds of donors and philanthropists, AYA Foundation is poised to make a significant impact on creating social change.


To lead an Economic Revolution by supporting members of the Black community in building their wealth through access to education, training, networks and funding.


To have a restorative and transformative effect on the Colorado landscape, leading to generational health and wealth for Colorado’s Black community.


To meet beneficiaries where they are, prioritize those furthest from resources, go beyond funding and programming, strive to bring together other organizations, and foster innovation across the ecosystem.

Program Priorities

Provide access to funding and other key wealth- and asset-building resources, create a strong economic foundation through skill- and capability-building, and shift & transform the community’s readiness.

We recognize the profound impact of collaboration within the Black community and the vital role of allies in our collective pursuit of racial equity. As Colorado’s Black-led and Black-serving operating community foundation, we extend a warm invitation to join us in our commitment in upholding the following shared values:

Approach: We approach our work in partnership with the Black diaspora community of Colorado with respect and using a strength-based approach; always leading with collaboration, empathy, and tactfulness. 

 Commitment: We are committed to uplifting each other, and we firmly believe in the “Ubuntu” concept (I am because you are); always appealing to people’s better selves when discussing or working through problematic situations. 

 Collaboration: We value the impact that collaboration within the Black community has and continues to have in our world. Therefore, we will lead, work and executive in collaboration. 

Health Equity Statement: We, at AYA Foundation, stand firm in our commitment to health equity. We recognize that economic equalization that goes beyond just a livable income and includes wealth creation among historically excluded communities not only fosters financial stability and protection against crises, but also leads to improved health and wellness outcomes. By championing economic empowerment and justice, we are actively advancing health equity within our community. 

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