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In spite of all that's going on around us... we've had a great year. It was a year of transitions, settling in, grinding it out; and LAWD, are we tired. I'm thankful for my team. We have some OG team members, a couple of veterans, and a few newbies - and we're all working together to figure this thing out. 2021 didn't look how we expected it to, but we made it. Our organization is healthy (mentally, physically, & financially), and we're on our path to continuing to build this amazing organization that has assisted over 350 entrepreneurs in Cincinnati (not even counting those in other cities). 

This year, we put over $100k directly in the hands of Cincinnati entrepreneurs through our Iron Chest Fund... And that's just the START. None of these things would have been possible without the trust of our alums, or the support of our partners, funders, and individual supporters (whether you've shared a post on social media, or donations of your hard-earned money), you are truly appreciated. 

Below, you'll see some of our other big highlights from 2021. One of my favorite holiday memories from my childhood was turning on the radio at the end of the year to listen to the annual countdown of the year's best songs. It's with that sense of nostalgia that I think it's important that we reflect on the past year before we start making plans for the new one. Click the images to see additional bonus content like articles, videos, and more!

GOAT TALK: Jordan brand partners with MORTAR to empower our work of developing equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems.
FUTURE HISTORY NOW 6: In February, we celebrated Black History Month with a special celebration of visual artists.
COLLAB: We partnered with P&G and Kroger, two Cincinnati-based titans, to bring their business expertise to our academy cohort.
MIC CHECK: Being a guest on the Black Enterprise podcast was an amazing opportunity to share the MORTAR story with the world.
NEW NEW: While still socially distancing like everyone else, we consolidated our spaces, moving into a beautiful space in Pendleton.
GIRL POWER: In March, we interviewed some incredible MORTAR Alums to celebrate Women's History Month. 
RESURGENCE: We partnered to launch MORTAR Tulsa during the 100-year commemoration of the Black Wall Street Race Massacre.
HOMECOMING: In October we did a block party at our new office & showcased our alumni with great food, live music, DJs, and vibes!

As we start to think about what's next for 2022, we will continue our local growth through partnering with more community organizations to assist more entrepreneurs in our communities. We'll also continue our expansion trajectory into other markets to make sure that we're sharing our learnings & expertise in developing equitable ecosystems for marginalized entrepreneurs. We're also in the process of finalizing our updated strategic plan, so there's a lot more that we'll be rolling out in the near future. We're really excited about the journey of pursuing purpose while assisting others in making their dreams a reality!

Finally, as we're closing out this year, please consider making a tax-deductible end-of-year donation to help us continue pushing this work forward. Thanks to the generosity of a local individual donor, any donations received through the end of 2021 will be matched up to $4000. That means that if you donate $20, we will actually receive $40. For those of you who are looking for a more long-term option (or maybe to fulfill a new year's resolution), you can also set up a recurring donation that will populate throughout 2022.

Thank you again for making 2021 an amazing year for the entire MORTAR family, we're looking forward to growing with you in 2022! Talk to you soon.

Allen Woods
MORTAR CoFounder & Executive Director

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