Featuring Bonita “Bo” Money, founder of NDICA
Q: What is NDICA? Why is it needed?
Bonita “Bo” Money: NDICA, the National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance, is a social equity and social justice national nonprofit organization whose mission is to create an ethical and equitable industry to reduce barriers contributing to the lack of representation of those most impacted by the war on drugs. We work towards creating equitable employment and ownership opportunities in the hemp and cannabis space.
NDICA is the only cannabis nonprofit to be funded by two governors’ offices, in California and Illinois, to serve folks from marginalized communities in the areas of workforce development, cannabis education and training, technical assistance, cannabis licensing, youth programming, reentry, mentorship, and expungement services. All these areas are crucial to lower recidivism rates; reduce community violence; remove legal barriers to employment, housing, and student loans; and promote overall wellness, education, and prosperity in our communities of color.
Q: What initiatives have you created to support people in neighborhoods that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs?
BBM: Our current initiatives and programs include expanding our cannabis training, workforce development training, and youth mentorship programs; hosting free monthly expungement clinics; and assisting in access to capital for social equity entrepreneurs. We’ve also recently launched new corporate mentorship programs with community partners like Humble+Fume and Dip Devices to support and empower Black and Brown entrepreneurs in the cannabis and hemp space.
Q: Tell me about the youth programs you offer. How did you go from cannabis to gaming?
BBM: NDICA provides a variety of community services, ranging from weekly food and clothing distributions to youth mentoring programs. We strive to provide a variety of programs to our communities. Our youth program options include both a technology and an arts program. The technology NextGen: STEAM Mentorship Program focuses on youth development and education in STEAM fields where both gaming and coding are discussed. The Youth Filmmaking Mentoring Program is an arts program led by actor Brian Hooks of Left of BANG Entertainment. Participants in the arts program learn the fundamentals of independent filmmaking, including preproduction, production, and postproduction.
The goal is to promote education and immerse the youth into career goal-oriented programs that they might not otherwise experience in their communities, as well as to deter youth violence and incarceration.
Q: You mentioned that your youth program is limited by the number of mentors you have. What type of help do you need? How can our readers volunteer?
BBM: Yes, we actually are in need of sponsors, employment vendors, volunteers, and attorneys who can assist us at our free monthly expungement clinics, and subject matter experts in STEAM fields with experience teaching youth ages ten to 18 within Chicago’s south suburbs. We are continually looking for community employment partners that are willing to train, mentor, and/or hire our program participants; many are returning citizens ages 16 to 50, who are looking for a second chance and deservedly so. If someone is interested in learning more about these opportunities, please e-mail us at email@example.com with the subject line Employment Partnership, Expungement Clinic Volunteer, or Youth Program SME.
We encourage readers to get educated and get involved in their local community. You can become a member of NDICA and learn from organizations like ours and others in your area. It is pivotal that we educate our communities which have lost so much already. We must empower ourselves with knowledge and action.
Bonita Money is a longtime veteran of the TV and film industry and transitioned into the cannabis industry in 2014. She is the founder of NDICA—National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance—the only cannabis organization to be funded by the state of California’s governor’s office and contracted by the city of LA’s Social Equity program. She is also a well-known speaker at cannabis-related and mainstream events and conferences with a focus on social equity, social justice, economic empowerment, diversity in cannabis, and how to enter into the cannabis industry.
This is sponsored content, paid for by Green Thumb Industries.
Learn more about NDICA at www.thendica.org.