Get funded! Tina Wheeler’s the perfect matchmaker for businesses

Photo credit: Tina Wheeler
Photo courtesy of Tina Wheeler

Just looking at Tina Wheeler, it’s not obvious that she grew up poor in North Carolina working in the fields. But her entrepreneurial spirit and calling to be a blessing in others’ lives is what saved her from allowing abandonment and poverty to take her under.

Wheeler’s primary talent is assisting businesses in acquiring funding for projects. Nearly 16 years ago, she founded The Accion Group, which provides services such as grant management, fund acquisition and overall business consulting. TAG has helped faith-based organizations, nonprofits, hospitals, government agencies, and even athletes realize their vision of creating desired programs. Wheeler and her TAG team have collected $300 million in grant funding, corporate sponsorships, endorsements and donations for clients. Some of the organizations she’s assisted and corporate brands she’s worked with include Dwight Howard’s D12 Foundations, NBA Cares, Brian McKnight’s 360 Foundation, Florida Hospital Foundation, Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International, the Daughters of Promise, Publix Charities, PepsiCo and Gucci.

A savvy businesswoman, Wheeler is also a public speaker, an author, and the owner of the t-shirt line BeYoutiful, which is committed to boosting women’s confidence.

As someone with a passion for giving back, Wheeler will be handing over her business knowledge to eager women as a speaker at the upcoming SheSpeaks conference, an empowerment event for aspiring female entrepreneurs. The gathering will be held on July 29-31 at the Sheraton Hotel in Atlanta.

Wheeler spoke to us about God telling her to start her own business, the best tips for becoming an entrepreneur, and more.

What inspired you to get into business consulting for nonprofits?

I started when I was in college attending Christian Faith Center in Creedmoor, North Carolina. I was interested in doing a coffee and tea shop in an airport. I was told about grants and funding for minority businesses. I researched, wrote a grant, and I was awarded the funds. The airport then gave the contract to a larger vendor. I was a new entrepreneur in college, so I had heard about grants, but no one around me knew much about them. My church had vision to build a city within a city and desired to bring programs and services to the community. Subsequently, the first grant I wrote that was funded was called Family First of Granville-Vance County. The minority infant mortality grant has since become a model program for the State of North Carolina since it’s original award in 1995. I am happy to say the program continues today.

After that, I started broadening my scope for the whole nonprofit industry. I had a heart for giving back, but I was an entrepreneur at heart. I wanted to see people’s lives change, because I grew up very poor. So I wanted to make life better for others.

When did you develop The Accion Group?

I started my business in July 2000. It was a God thing. I was a software engineer, a divorced single parent with three young children, and I was also doing day trading. God told me to start my business. Remember, I always had a business on the side. So it was part-time, but he told me to do it full time. So, I was getting a check every two weeks, I was making over six figures at the time, but he told me to do it. So I started my company, Elite Business Management [which later became TAG], and it grew from there. It started as a faith walk and just grew from a seed that was planted inside of me.

Since the inception of the TAG group, you’ve helped a lot of organizations. What has been the most fulfilling part of your job up until now?

The most fulfilling part is watching a person’s dream come into fruition. I have the knowledge base, expertise, experience and keys to take you from one side of the bridge of your dreams to the other side and watch it manifest. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, a celebrity, or anyone — the dream might be in your head and you won’t know what to do with it. You might have a doubt, but when you actually see it come to life, that is the most rewarding feeling in the world. I’ve written for funding to rebuild an entire community — the landscape, stores, housing, churches, and all kinds of thing. I’ve seen all kinds of programs happen. To be a part of that is a blessing.

What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in having a similar career path as you have?

I mentor teens and young adults, and when they want to go into business and build a brand, the first thing I tell them is to put themselves in alignment with what they want. Get all the knowledge in that subject area. Commit with a mentor who’s been where you want to be. Mentors can help you avoid pitfalls and still give you room to grow. I read three to four books a week, so learning the subject is important.

What are you reading right now?

The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

How has being a mother impacted your life?

My oldest daughter died in a car accident at 8 years old, three days after Mother’s Day. From her death, the KAD (Kids Are Destined) Foundation was birthed. My two youngest survived the accident. I’ve learned how to manage being a mother through prayer, reading books and other sources of personal development. But being a mother is so rewarding, because you are an example for the next generation. You get to help shape, mold and guide them toward their destiny.

What are some current or future projects you have lined up?

I have a client that I’m working with, Chinaza Duson, for the SheSpeaks Foundation — I’m managing it. She has an upcoming conference she’s doing. I’m actually speaking at the conference. I have a funding conference I’m putting together for non-profits, for-profits, ministries, churches, etc. Three organizations and one business will be funded at the event. I’ve also developed an entrepreneurial and purpose program geared toward young teens and women.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Within the next five years, I see myself expanding KAD Foundation’s programs and services for women, youth and families. Within 10 years, I want to erect seven youth centers throughout the United States and abroad. I know that it takes a lot of resources and work to do so, and I am up for the challenge. I also see me having an entrepreneur center for youth and women, as well as a housing development center for domestic violence and homelessness.

What’s your favorite quote?

A quote by Eleanor Roosevelt — “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

To register to attend  the SheSpeaks conference, visit For more information on The Accion Group, visit

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