The Dream Big Foundation is a Brownsville, Brooklyn-based non-profit organization dedicated to empowering underserved communities through the incubation of local entrepreneurs. Founded by Rob LoCascio, The Dream Foundation has helped many entrepreneurs start new businesses in the local community.
Pernell S. Brice, III, is the executive director at Dream Big Foundation. We are piloting the Dream Big Entrepreneurship Initiative in Brownsville, BK, an area robust with brilliant entrepreneurs, but plagued by a lack of resources, the highest concentration of project housing in the nation, lack of mentoring and high crime. Through our work in Brownsville, BK, we hope, in time, to replicate our Cafe/Entrepreneurship Resource Center model in other NYC boroughs, other states and throughout the world, says Brice, who also serves on the boards of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation and the Center for Educational Pathways. In addition, he is an active mentor with IMENTOR and a mentor coach with New York Needs You.
Pernell is responsible for overseeing Dream Big Foundations programs, fundraising, and volunteer goals as well as developing and overseeing the organizations entrepreneurial programs.
Among the most recent projects were the grand opening of the 3 Black Cats Café and Cakery and the Dream Big Innovation Center in Brooklyn. The opening was attended by the founders, mentors and supporters of this project, including Assemblywoman Latrice Walker and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
The 3 Black Cats Café and Cakery is one of the first examples of Dream Big turning the entrepreneurial dreams of community members into reality.
The café shares a physical space with the Dream Big Innovation Center, a meeting and working space for future entrepreneurs.
Dream Big provides resources–training, mentoring, and funding to entrepreneurs in underserved areas. Our first area of focus is Brownsville, BK where we built Brownsville’s first Cafe/Innovation Center. The cafe owners are also the first entrepreneurs that we have funded. Dream Big also organizes FeedingNYC, a 15-year charity event that brings upwards of 500 volunteers to Chelsea Piers to help unpack, box and load 5,000-plus Thanksgiving dinner boxes to be distributed throughout the five boroughs, explains Brice.
Dream Big has faced its share of challenges. The biggest challenge has been meeting the demand from entrepreneurs from outside of Brownsville, Brooklyn–from Africa and the UK to California and Texas. We are open to helping entrepreneurs from other locales, but at this time, we are focused on funding entrepreneurs from or connected to Brownsville, says Brice.
Among the Dream Big goals for 2017, according to Brice are to to launch tech classes (Coding, App/Game development) for youth and young adults; to fund additional entrepreneurs; to hold a Brownsville-wide and Brooklyn-wide pitch competition; and to start additional cohorts of entrepreneurship classes.
Dream Big obviously believes in making a difference one business at a time.