A University of Wisconsin Oshkosh student’s small business venture is getting a boost from a Buck.
Jalen Greenlee, a junior business major from Brown Deer who is part of the University’s Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) summer incubator program, is the founder of Flora Fruit Co., a subscription service that delivers boxes of fresh fruit to customers’ front doors. The business is among those recently announced as receiving one of 50 grants to Black-led businesses and nonprofits from the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund (JLH Fund).
Jrue Holiday is in his first season with the Bucks, who are now taking on the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. Lauren Holiday, Jrue’s wife, is a two-time Olympic gold medalist for the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The couple launched the JLH Fund in 2020.
“It includes grant funding, mentorship and connections to potential people and resources that will help Flora Fruit Co. reach the next level,” Greenlee said. “My plan is to use everything the JLH Fund offers to continue to build the infrastructure so we can support capacity as demand for the product increases, as well as build some programs to help eliminate food deserts in the greater Milwaukee area.”
Flora Fruit Co. also began in 2020 and the service area includes the southeastern part of the state and the northeast from Appleton to Fond du Lac.
In late June, the JLH Fund announced a round of grants totaling $1 million to 25 Black-led businesses and 25 Black-led nonprofits, with priority given to organizations focused on social impact and creating a more equitable future for underserved communities. Flora Fruit Co. fits those parameters, as one of Greenlee’s goals is to get more healthy food to people with limited access to fresh produce.
“I felt very excited and blessed when I found out I was selected,” said Greenlee, a lifelong Bucks fan whose family has had season tickets as long as he can remember. “Jrue and Lauren Holiday were actually on a Zoom call with all of us letting us know we had been selected. And with Jrue being one of my favorite players to watch, it made it that much sweeter.”
Earlier this year Greenlee placed first in The Pitch, a business pitch competition for northeast Wisconsin college students. In late 2020 he took third place in the Culver’s Business Model Competition, sponsored by the University’s Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
This round of grants from the JLH Fund were focused in four cities close to the Holidays: Milwaukee, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Indianapolis. Before being traded to the Bucks last offseason, Jrue played seven seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans. He grew up in Los Angeles and played college ball at University of California, Los Angeles. Lauren Holiday is a native of Indianapolis.