As COVID-19 winds down, and New Yorkers begin to emerge, trepidatiously, from their homes, many are finding that their favorite local businesses are boarded-up, closed down, or sold. Now, Citi Foundation is coming to help, with $25 million in grants to support Black-owned small businesses and communities of color.
“The small businesses that line our streets, employ our neighbors, provide the goods and services we rely on every day, and generally serve as the foundation of our economy, are starting to bounce back – but not all of them,” said Brandee McHale, Head of Community Investing and Development and President of CitiFoundation. “We know that throughout the pandemic, small businesses owned by people of color were closing at disproportionate rates compared to their white counterparts.”
The grants, first announced in March, promised $25 million in unrestricted funding for U.S. nonprofits that assist Black-owned small businesses. Many applied – today, CitiFoundation announced the fifty nonprofits to receive the grants. They include the Asian American Foundation, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Lutheran Social Services of Metropolitan New York, and IMPACCT Brooklyn. All of these organizations are committed to supporting Black-owned businesses and communities of color.
While all small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, McHale notes that, “Black-owned businesses were closing at more than twice the rate of white-owned businesses.” Recent data from the National Bureau of Economic Research at the same time shows that Black-owned businesses lost as much as 8% more business than their white counterparts.
“All 50 of these organizations are trusted pillars acutely aware of the challenges their clients face,” said McHale. “They are also purveyors of hope and support for many.”