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UpSurge Baltimore receives $250K grant toward ‘Equitech’ mission

UpSurge CEO Jamie McDonald. (Submitted Photo)

Capital One has awarded a $250,000 grant to help further the mission of UpSurge Baltimore, an organization, launched in 2020, that aims to turn Baltimore into the nation’s first “Equitech” city: an innovation hub that emphasizes diversity and inclusion, and supports companies that drive progress in society.

The funding will support this goal, according to a press release distributed by UpSurge.

“The Capital One grant will allow UpSurge to continue building the data, networks, infrastructure and capital required to advance the Equitech mission and make Baltimore the model for a new kind of startup city,” the release said.

To date, UpSurge’s work in Baltimore has included publishing research on the current state of Baltimore startup ecosystem, releasing a report detailing recommendations for growing that ecosystem and helping to launch two new accelerator programs in the city: the Techstars Equitech Accelerator and the STANLEY+Techstars Accelerator.

The grant is a part of Capital One’s $200 million, five-year Impact Initiative, which was launched in late 2020. The Impact Initiative provides funds to programs and organizations focused on racial equality, affordable housing, workforce development, small and minority-owned business, and financial well-being.

“We feel the momentum in Baltimore and believe deeply in the Equitech vision,” said Mark Mathewson, senior vice president and CIO for retail banking at Capital One, in the press release. “Capital One is committed to helping UpSurge build the first ‘tech-for-all’ city in Baltimore because we know that underfunded entrepreneurs are capable of driving the kind of inclusive innovation and economic growth that shapes cities.”

Also in Maryland, the Impact Initiative contributed funds last year to the Silver Spring location of Per Scholas, a workforce development organization that serves Montgomery and Prince George’s County, as well as Washington and Northern Virginia. Those funds were put towards expanding the nonprofit’s tech apprenticeship program in hopes of making it more accessible for women to receive training and find careers in the tech industry.