And first place is awarded to Jason Hudgins.

Jason Hudgins is the first place recipient of the inaugural Inspire Awards! After each nonprofit finalist pitched their solutions to a panel of expert judges, Jason was awarded first place, receiving a $250,000 grant. His solution, Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, employs a community wealth building framework to bolster 1,000 Black businesses in 1,000 days.

A grant in the amount of $225,000 was awarded to second place and audience fan favorite Aarti Sahgal, founder of Synergies Work, which creates a framework of end-to-end support for entrepreneurs with disabilities focusing on financial capital, social capital, education, & mentorship to bridge the gaps between the business & disability community.

Congratulations to all the finalists on a job well done!

Check out some of the exciting moments from the 2022 Inspire Awards.

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Welcome to the inaugural 2022 Inspire Awards.

Brought to us by Truist Bank.

Led by their philanthropic arm, the Truist Foundation.

I’m your host, Lisa Ling and I am so thrilled to be here tonight.

In beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina.

We wanted this program to be more than just a check or flash in the pan.

So we’re looking to invest in change leaders with a vision, experience and knowledge to tear down barriers, facing black, indigenous people of color, and women owned small businesses.


The finalists you’ll meet tonight represent some of the most exciting organizations, and ideas in this realm.

And we can’t wait to introduce them to you.

We’re taking away a lot over the past five months of working with this cohort, bouncing ideas off of each other and learning together as we’re testing models in our different cities.

It’s really been amazing from that aspect.

And not always something that you see of organizations working together like this.

I think this wrap around services for the past five months have been a really invigorating experience for us, to find out that we are not alone in this process.

That there are other organizations like us, doing similar kinds of work.

These judges have joined us from all corners of the business, academic, and non-profit sectors, and we’re grateful for their dedication of their time and talents.

Whether you’re with us in the studio. Some of you judges are out there.

Or joining the broadcast virtually, we thank you for all of your efforts and insight as you work with us to identify the final seven and select the winners.

I was given this one. That says winner.

Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative

It is not just about business solutions, it really is about looking down the street.

Seeing the business owners, seeing the children that they raise.

Understanding how one moment, of being able to have an investment, changes that family, a generation and a community forever.

And now we have our audience choice award winner and it is…

Synergies Work

And our second place winner is…

Synergies Work

You all can’t see this, but Aarti’s getting a standing ovation in the audience.

Thank you so much. This means the world to me.

Not because we’ve won, Synergies Work has won, because it’s time I think, the disabilities community gets a place on the table.

Thank you.

All seven of these dedicated organizations have demonstrated their remarkable commitment to elevating our communities and we know that each one of those solutions that you heard tonight, have the power to change lives.

We’re grateful for the time and effort,  you’ve put in to share these ideas.

I can’t wait to see the continued impact you’re gonna have on the world.   

Meet all of our finalists

These seven finalists pitched their innovative solutions to an expert panel of judges at the inaugural Inspire Awards event. Learn more about each of their solutions below.

  • Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, employing a community wealth building framework to bolster 1,000 Black businesses in 1,000 days
  • Beautiful Ventures, accelerating the entrepreneurial success of Black, story-driven, creatives businesses for lasting wealth creation, business sustainability, and narrative influence
  • Black Wall Street AVL, preparing women of color to start, grow, and scale businesses in marginalized communities
  • Change Labs, creating a first-of-its-kind culturally responsive lending model based on Navajo kinship providing Native entrepreneurs access to capital and resources to support growth and sustainability
  • Democracy At Work Institute, financing the sale of great businesses to their employees, primarily workforces of color, through their Legacy Fund
  • Quality Care for Children, helping childcare businesses maintain at-capacity enrollment, collect fees on time, and ensure that their revenues cover expenses
  • Synergies Work, creating a framework of end-to-end support for entrepreneurs with disabilities focusing on financial capital, social capital, education, & mentorship to bridge gaps between the business & disability community
“It’s an honor to accept the inaugural Truist Foundation Inspire Award on behalf of the entire Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative community,” said Jason Hudgins, Director of Strategic Programs for Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative. “This initiative is not just about business solutions. It really is about looking down the street and seeing Black business owners – and the children they are raising – and understanding how one investment changes that family, the next generation and a community for generations to come.”
- Jason Hudgins, Director of Strategic Programs, Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative