The Coalition to Back Black Businesses (CBBB), launched in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, American Express, and the nation’s four leading Black chambers – the National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Business League, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and Walker’s Legacy – today announced it has awarded $5,000 grants to 600 Black-owned small businesses in 33 states. Since its launch in September 2020, more companies – including AIG Foundation, Altice USA, Cummins, Dow, Stanley Black & Decker, and most recently ADP – joined the growing effort to support the long-term success and resilience of Black-owned small businesses as they recover from the pandemic and chart a path forward.
“Across the country, Black small business owners are struggling to keep their lights on, and nearly half of them had to close their doors just months into the pandemic,” said Carolyn Cawley, President of the U.S. Chamber Foundation. “We know what a job means to an individual, to a family, and to a community. It means hope and opportunity for a brighter future, and we are pleased to work with the Coalition partners to deliver just that through long-term commitment, support and resources.”
As part of the four-year initiative, the Coalition has committed more than $13 million in grants to date, as well as access to longer-term mentorship and resources, to Black small business owners who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. In addition to the $5,000 grants, the Coalition is pairing each grantee with an industry-specific mentor and providing selected grantees with competitive $25,000 enhancement grants to help them take their business to the next level.
Today the U.S. Chamber Foundation also released the Coalition’s first impact report. In its first year, the Coalition partners distributed 600 grants to Black-owned small businesses with fewer than 20 employees. Those businesses are located in 33 states and 59 percent of the total grants were received by women-owned businesses. The grantees spanned a wide range of industries from childcare and hospitality to healthcare and banking.
The U.S. Chamber Foundation’s impact report also featured insights from hundreds of Black small business owners – including 416 Coalition grantees – on their current needs and recovery plans. Access to capital (60.1%), training (19%), and mentorship (15.4%) were among the top Black small business needs identified by the grantees, highlighting the importance of sustained support in addition to immediate financial assistance.
The grantees stated they used the funds to pay their monthly bills and utilities (57%), followed by payroll (53%) and rent (44%), to keep their businesses running and their employees working. Goldman Jackson, owner of a printing business in Jacksonville, Arkansas, said “For many years, I've been trying to put a good website together. With the Coalition’s assistance, I was able to get that up and running. During the pandemic, my walk-in traffic went down tremendously and my print shop business was hit really hard. This grant came just in time to help me reach beyond my regular customers.”
The Coalition will host an event at 3:00 p.m. ET on February 24, featuring its supporting partners and grantees to discuss the work of the Coalition to date, the impact it is making in the lives of Black small business owners, and how others can help grow this effort. To register, visit this link.
“We welcome our newest corporate partners to the Coalition,” said Richard Brown, Vice President, Philanthropy at American Express. “Their additional contributions and support will help us further the Coalition’s efforts and ongoing support of Black-owned small businesses. We encourage others to join us, as we continue to help Black small business owners prepare for a resilient future.”
To learn more about the Coalition to Back Black Businesses, how you can join the effort, and the timeline for the next round of grant applications, go to webackblackbusinesses.com.