NBA Welcomes Two Social Entrepreneur Cohort Members as Incubate Partners

The National Benevolent Association’s Social Entrepreneurship program is proud to welcome two new social enterprises to our lineup of Incubate Partners.

Like all NBA Incubate partners, these organizations are Disciples-related health and social service organizations that have entered a partnership with the NBA through a Memorandum of Understanding. This year’s Incubate Partners are particularly special as they’ve had the chance to grow their social enterprises with NBA’s Social Cohort in 2022 before applying to become long-term partners with us. Meet our new Incubate Partners below!

Root Wellness Center of the Root Cause Collective

Founded in 2021 and expanded as part of NBA’s 2022 Social Entrepreneur Cohort, Root Cause Collective is a cooperative of Black mental health and wellness professionals working to revolutionize mental health care and create an ecology of wellness for the whole being. Based in Garner, North Carolina, Root Wellness Center is the 501c3 arm of the collective. The Root Wellness Center was established to develop social programming that strengthens the overall mental and emotional health of Black communities alongside the collective, which builds a therapeutic, trauma-informed community as a liberating method of mental health treatment in communities of the Black Diaspora.

Led and founded by AW Shields, an experienced psychotherapist, chaplain, graduate adjunct faculty member, and community organizer for more than a decade, Root Cause Collective pulls from her educational experiences and offers a unique, interdisciplinary approach to healing justice and mental health equity that builds anti-oppressive mental model development and tends to the nuanced intersections of social identity, cultural or religious belief systems, and mental health.

“It is incredible to watch people’s lives unfold; I witnessed AW do impactful work at NBA. She pivoted into our cohort with an eagerness to learn and develop. In this new chapter of her work, I have seen her grit and commitment to do the work she is called to as a partner of the NBA,” Rev. Darnell Fennell, Director of Social Entrepreneurship says.

Operation Bookbag

Operation Bookbag (OBB) offers youth tools to address mental health and wellness and life skills to become positive, productive adults. The organization does this through leadership workshops, a rigorous curriculum, and professional guidance.

Their programming allows children to demonstrate pride and respect for themselves and others and encourages them to begin taking ownership of their community to become more upstanding, productive, and involved citizens. This allows them to make a difference in the present and future and build community with people outside of their family that they can trust and lean on.

OBB was founded by husband-and-wife team Rev. Anthony Chatman Sr. and LaMetra Curry Chatman who were both part of NBA’s 2022 Social Entrepreneur Cohort. In addition to their work with OBB, Anthony serves as the Senior Pastor at Community Christian Church in Fort Worth, Texas and LaMetra is an elementary school teacher, a role that inspired her to continue servicing the community through OBB.

“We know that where there is a lack of resources in the school system, the healthcare system, and even in families, that it is up to us to make sure young people have what they need to be successful,” says Rev. Chatman of the work he does with OBB.

In addition to these new organizations joining us, there are several organizations that will transition into NBA Health and Social Service Partners in September at the end of their MOU. Stay tuned for stories of their impact later this year!

Are you looking to get involved in NBA’s Social Entrepreneur program? Consider applying to join our 2024 Social Entrepreneur Cohort.