Image credit: Jamiel Law
At Corage Dolls, we understand that representation matters in everything we do and being a Black-owned business during this time representation and support for one another is of the utmost importance. As the pandemic continues to impact families and communities everywhere from a health and economic standpoint, communities of color will likely sustain the greatest impact for years to come. Here’s a quote from McKinsey & Company that breaks down these economic issues:
“As the impact of the pandemic moves from health to economic consequences, black Americans will likely sustain more damage across every stage of the wealth-building journey. Crucially, 39 percent of jobs held by black workers (seven million jobs in all) are vulnerable as a result of the COVID-19 crisis compared with 34 percent for white workers. Forty percent of the revenues of black-owned businesses are located in the five most vulnerable sectors—including leisure, hospitality, and retail—compared with 25 percent of the revenues of all US businesses. Forty-eight percent of black survey respondents report regularly using food-assistance programs, compared with 31 percent of white respondents. Such services are likely to come under significant strain and interruptions as a result of the pandemic”.
It’s important to know that this virus didn’t introduce new inequities in our country, rather it amplified the inequities and disparities that have already existed throughout history. With the lack of resources and tools, we’re seeing Black communities take matters into their own hands to support one another. Whether that’s providing healthcare needs, information, educational activities, food distribution, raising funds, supporting black businesses, or just sharing encouraging messages of hope, joy, and faith. There’s a resiliency that’s always existed in the community despite the odds and even if we always haven’t had the resources, we’ve always been resourceful.
With the recent approval of the $2T stimulus package, nearly $350B was allocated towards the Protection Paycheck Program which was created to help small businesses stay open and continue to pay employees for up to 8 weeks. Unfortunately, the program ran out of funds after just 13 days, leaving many small businesses especially minority-owned businesses locked out. On top of that, only $10M of those funds were allocated to the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). It’s unfortunate, however, a number of organizations, celebs, and businesses have started to step in to dedicate funds and resources for communities of color, so with that said here’s a list that we hope you’ll find useful.
1. The Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund: The Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund is offering grants to business owners facing financial hardship, particularly focusing on business owners of color, women, and other marginalized groups. $10,000 grants will be offered to those who qualify. To fill out an application, visit their website.
2. Southern Black Girls and Women's Consortium COVID-19 Response Fund: The Southern Black Girls and Women's Consortium established a fund to help those affected by the impact of coronavirus in the twelve southern states they serve. The fund will rapidly deploy resources to organizations that support Black girls and women in the South that may be experiencing a financial crisis or uncertainty due to the coronavirus outbreak. Apply here.
3. SheaMoisture $1M Relief Fund: Through a long-established program called Community Commerce, SheaMoisture aims to give back to business owners in need, who have been devastated by COVID-19. Funds will be awarded for minority-owned businesses that are creating unique ways to reach their customers and communities. SheaMoisture will also provide educational resources in the form of online learning tools through the Women of Color Businesses E-Lab. You can apply now and throughout the month of April. Ten business owners will be selected and awarded $10,000 each.
4. The Your Friends in New York Business Relief Fund: Men’s and women’s fashion label Pyer Moss announced in mid-March that they were turning their NYC office into a donation center for N95 masks and latex gloves. In addition, a relief fund has been established for women and minority businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. The Your Friends in New York Business Relief Fund is awarding grants of different amounts to business owners in need. To learn more about the relief fund, click here.
5. The Red Backpack Fund: Women’s undergarment company Spanx announced that a donation of $5 million is going to support women business owners who have been negatively impacted in some way by COVID-19. 1,000 female business owners within the United States will receive $5,000 of funding. Applications will be open until August. To learn more about the relief fund and how to apply, click here.
6. The Doonie Fund: Social startup digital undivided is now providing relief for those impacted by COVID-19. Through a new fund called The Doonie Fund, named after the CEO’s grandmother, aid will be provided specifically for Black female entrepreneurs who have experienced hardships as a result of COVID-19. The fund, which was established on April 5th, 2020 has helped more than 93 entrepreneurs by providing micro-investments of $500 or less. Eligible entrepreneurs can apply through their website.
7. Black Design Collective COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund (accepting donations): Black Design Collective is an organization of Black designers expressing individual unique design excellence. The organization aims to bring awareness of the history and relevance of the global impact of black design through resources, mentorship, e-commerce platform, and business platforms. The collective is currently raising funds to provide mini-grants to designers and affiliates to help them keep employees employed, cover operating costs, and to expand their online marketing efforts to increase online brand awareness and sales. Click here to learn more and donate.
8. The Save Small Business Fund: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Vistaprint and with support from Merck, S&P Global Foundation, and Travelers, launched The Save Small Business Fund. The grant will address small businesses’ immediate needs like closures and job losses. Companies can qualify if they have between three to 20 employees, are located in an economically vulnerable community, and have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The fund will use the Distressed Communities Index to identify small businesses based on zip codes that are most vulnerable. Applications will open on April 20.
9. Black Women Talk Tech – COVID-19 Resource Folder: The organization behind Black Women Talk Tech has put together a Google doc of funding opportunities for women and minority entrepreneurs to check out and apply to. It’s a crowdsourced list that continues to expand, so if you have additional resources, please add to their doc.
10. Ava DuVernay Array Grants: DuVernay and her foundation Array Alliance have launched a $250,000 funding initiative called Array Grants in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The fund provides support for organizations and individuals dedicated to the narrative change of women and people of color. The grant recognizes regional film festivals, screening series, arts advocates, filmmakers, creators, and journalists. The honorees are determined by nomination and selected by an independent committee featuring individuals across entertainment, academic and philanthropic sectors. Learn more here.
We hope you found these resources helpful and please feel free to pass along to others who you think could really benefit from this information. Don’t forget to follow us on social @CorageDolls and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest information. From our crew to yours, please take care and stay safe.
Flora Ekpe-Idang, Founder/CEO Corage Dolls