On its second year, the Coalition will award about $2.8 million in total grants and resources to more than 400 Black small business owners to support their financial recovery and long-term growth
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today announced that the Coalition to Back Black Businesses is now accepting applications for its 2021 grant program, which will provide $5,000 grants each to more than 400 small business owners to help them meet critical business needs. Eligible Black small business owners can apply for the grant online here, starting today through September 22, 2021.
“This program showed us how strong and resilient Black small business owners are, and how much more they can accomplish with critical support like financial grants and mentorship,” said Carolyn Cawley, president of the U.S. Chamber Foundation. “We are proud of our first cohort of grantees and the incredible work they’re doing in their communities. As America’s recovery continues, we look forward to working with the Coalition partners to help more Black-owned small businesses grow and thrive.”
The Coalition is a multi-year initiative launched by the U.S. Chamber Foundation and American Express in September 2020 to support the long-term success and resilience of Black-owned small businesses. The program is a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the nation’s four major Black chambers, including the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Business League, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and Walker’s Legacy. Since its formation, AIG Foundation, Altice USA, and Dow have supported the program, with two new partners ADP and S&P Global Foundation having joined this year.
In addition to the $5,000 grants, the Coalition will provide longer-term resources, such as mentorships, trainings, and additional enhancement funds. In partnership with Ureeka, each grantee will be paired with an industry specific mentor to help them further grow their business. Selected grantees will also have the opportunity to apply for $25,000 enhancement grants in Spring 2022 to help take their business to the next level.
Within the program’s first year, the Coalition provided 600 grants to Black-owned businesses in 33 states. Business owners used those grants to catch up on monthly bills, increase payroll, or strengthen online marketing and more. Nearly 60% of last year’s cohort consistently engaged in the Coalition’s coaching offerings; the business owners who participated in those offerings experienced fewer financial losses in the first half of 2021 than those that did not.
“The Coalition to Back Black Businesses $5,000 grant has allowed our business to purchase necessary medical equipment, office supplies, staffing, and increase our marketing and advertising reach,” said Melanie LaCour, owner of Alexandria Primary Care Clinic in Louisiana. “My mentors have given me the guidance and confidence needed to succeed and the enhancement grant will be used to hire additional staff, purchase specialty equipment, and improve access to services.”
To be eligible for the grant program, businesses must meet certain criteria, including having between three and twenty full-time, part-time, or otherwise contracted employees, and must be located in an economically vulnerable community. Business owners can check their eligibility and express their interest in the program by filling out a short form on the Coalition’s website. The Coalition will invite eligible finalists to complete a full grant application, and more than 400 businesses will receive a $5,000 grant. Business owners will be notified of their status in mid-October. Businesses that are not selected to receive a grant are encouraged to apply again as the program will continue to run through 2024.
For more information on eligibility and the application process, visit webackblackbusinesses.com.
About the U.S. CHamber of Commerce Foundation
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.