The small businesses that line our streets, employ our neighbors, provide the goods and services we rely on everyday, and generally serve as the foundation of our economy, are starting to bounce back – but not all of them. We know that throughout the pandemic, small businesses owned by people of color were closing at disproportionate rates compared to their white counterparts. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Black-owned businesses were closing at more than twice the rate of white-owned businesses, and more recent NBER data shows that Black-owned businesses also experienced the most significant drop in sales.
In an effort to support minority-owned businesses as they navigate the continued economic impacts of COVID-19, the Citi Foundation announced in March a $25 million Request for Proposals (RFP) for U.S. non-profits that are actively providing technical assistance to small businesses owned by people of color.
Today, the Foundation is pleased to name the 50 organizations that will each receive $500,000 in unrestricted grant funding – a total investment of $25 million – to scale their work in helping to build back our communities. The recipients are local, community-based change agents that have the expertise, experience and relationships to provide tailored, on-the-ground support that meet the specific needs and goals of these affected businesses and the communities they serve.
For example, to support Black-owned small businesses and communities of color, the Citi Foundation is investing in organizations like Far South CDC, which works to rehabilitate communities through program services and commercial and residential real estate developments to improve the quality of life for people who live and work in the Chicago area.
We're also supporting New York-based Chhaya Community Development Corporation, which is providing essential services in multiple languages to businesses serving Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, who are continuing to grapple with the additional effects of hate crimes since the pandemic began. And there are organizations like La Cocina in San Francisco that are supporting women and food entrepreneurs of color, whose businesses have been among the hardest-hit by COVID-19.
These are just a few examples of the extraordinary community leaders and work we are investing in. While their innovative approaches are unique to the communities they serve, all 50 of these organizations are trusted pillars acutely aware of the challenges their clients face. They are also purveyors of hope and support for many. By providing these change agents the flexible support they need to further their work, the Citi Foundation is helping to empower the recovery and rebuilding of stronger and more equitable communities across the U.S.
To learn more about all 50 organizations awarded, please visit the Citi Foundation website.