1. The self-sustaining structural and functional interactions between living and non-living components.
2. (in general use) a complex network or interconnected system. In the ecosystem, one thrives in the best way possible when every person and every thing around it thrives as well
BES is centered around empowering underserved communities mentally, physically, and financially through entrepreneurship training & self-improvement programs. We know that empowered people make better decisions and will be able to empower others. Each one teach one.That’s our philosophy.
is to be the connector of resources and provide the gateway to sustainability through hands on entrepreneurship training, e-commerce, self-improvement programs and internships. All of our programs will always be self-sustainable and consistent.
is to be the catalyst of positive change for struggling communities by providing solutions that will allow for a thriving ecosystem.
We want to see change
The goal is to bring the community together to address issues and provide solutions for the poverty, violence, police brutality, and family issues that are faced on a daily basis.
leading the way
Candice grew up in West Englewood on Chicago’s South Side. She has always been passionate about changing the Black community for the better. She established the As One We Can Foundation in 2008, which is now known as THE BLACK ECOSYSTEM. Her goal is to help create thriving ecosystems instead of neighborhoods filled with violence and poverty.
Her unique skills and education in project management, web development, marketing, and graphic design has equipped her with a unique set of perspectives that she is utilizing to mobilize her efforts. After setting up her first e-commerce store in 2015 and earning six figures in less than a year, Candice was eager to bring her knowledge and resources back to her community and focus on economic empowerment. Candice knows first-hand the problems that plague the community. By pooling resources The Black Ecosystem hopes to solve; poverty, gun violence, limited job opportunities, police violence, flawed educational systems, family issues and mental health problems.
Tamika VanTifflin, AKA Former Miss Illinois United States 2018, currently serves as the Executive Director at THE BLACK ECOSYSTEM. With a laser-focus on strategic development, she analyzes the opportunities that flow into the organization and bring them together into a coherent whole. She interacts daily with program participants to help them extend their thinking and make better choices. Tamika is an inspirational leader who tells stories that inspire action. Respected as a credible voice in decision making, finding strategic partners, and establishing relationships, she is also a joy to work with.
Inspired at a youth summer camp, Tamika quickly developed a deep passion for charitable work and fell in love with giving back when she was a teenager. Over 10 years later, Tamika now provides support to our growing team and is happy spending her days keeping our organization together, one program at a time. Her strong belief is that no matter how bad your situation may be in life you can be and do anything you put your mind to. Tamika has dealt with many triumphs in her life, such as homelessness and abuse, but still managed to not let her situation define her. She was and still is determined to be great. She is the epitome of proof that where you come from does not have to determine where you are going in life.
Dearra Williams volunteers her time as a Director and Marketing Manager for THE BLACK ECOSYSTEM. She takes pride in helping companies grow their brand awareness and secure new partnerships.
Dearra grew up on the west side of Chicago which quickly made her aware of the inequalities throughout her community. She is very passionate about giving back. “Creating opportunities and motivating at-risk children across the Chicago-Land area is my goal and I will not stop until I see a difference in my community”, says Dearra.
Chief Financial Officer
Ebe was born and raised in Oak Park, IL. He has always had a passion for the economic empowerment of his people. In college at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he founded a group called Scholars for Financial Prosperity which was focused on teaching young Black Americans and other disadvantaged students - the power of education and how it leads to financial prosperity. He also met the founder of THE BLACK ECOSYSTEM, Candice Cunningham, while attending U of I. Ebe graduated in 2009 with two Bachelor's of Science degrees in Accountancy and Finance.
After graduation, Ebe worked as a financial advisor for several years before transitioning to corporate accounting. After 4 years in corporate accounting, earning his CPA, and climbing up the corporate ladder he founded his own CPA practice - SWM Planning, LLC (Smart with Money) in 2017. His hardwork and dedication to top service has helped his firm grow exponentially year over year! He is an expert in understanding tax and genuinely cares about helping his clients understand their finances. He donates his expertise to THE BLACK ECOSYSTEM in his role as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.
Ebe was attracted to THE BLACK ECOSYSTEM because of the strong focus on breaking the cycle of poverty using entrepreneurship and e-commerce. Ebe’s own challenges with entrepreneurship several years ago makes him passionate about sharing his knowledge and experiences with others. He strongly believes the key to financial prosperity for Black people is to leverage education and connections into successful entrepreneurial ventures.