Ford Motor Co. announced a grant of $100,000 to the Los Angeles Urban League Tuesday to help fund an emergency business assistance program for Black small business owners impacted by COVID-19.
The Urban League's initiative will provide business consultation, technical assistance and small grants of emergency capital to Black business owners who are integral to the success of their communities but remain at a competitive disadvantage for accessing coronavirus relief dollars, officials said.
Pre- and post-grant counseling will be designed to ensure the survival and growth of their businesses.
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Cedars-Sinai hospital contributed an additional $75,000 to the program, and the Urban League hopes other companies and foundations will provide funding to expand the program's impact.
"We're proud to be collaborating with Cedars-Sinai and Ford Motor Company Fund and thank them in helping us leverage our consultation program which helps our client businesses get access to training, mentorship, capital and resources," said Michael Lawson, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. "We look forward to strengthening our partnership with these outstanding organizations."
The pilot program will be managed by Los Angeles Urban League staff with referrals from the Metro Business Service Center, which is co-located in the Urban League office. The Metro BSC provides technical assistance to minority-owned businesses in South Los Angeles, specifically those situated in Leimert Park and along the Crenshaw Boulevard corridor.
The emergency capital program will provide at least 60 "microgrants" of $2,000 to $5,000, along with access to other capital and resources, to qualifying businesses in Los Angeles during the remainder of 2020, officials said.
Under the pilot program, Ford Motor Co. is also providing five other $100,000 grants to support Black-owned businesses in the National Urban Leagueaffiliate cities of Detroit, New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago and New York.
"Small businesses are a cornerstone of the African American community and play a vital role in their economic success," said Pamela Alexander, director of Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. "The impact of the COVID pandemic has created economic uncertainty that necessitates immediate action. Our long-term partnership with the National Urban League allows us to quickly mobilize an initiative such as the Emergency Capital Access Program to get immediate assistance to those businesses in need."