Ford, National Urban League Launch $600,000 Initiative to Help Black Small Business Owners Hardest Hit By COVID-19
When COVID-19 first hit – like many Americans – Spencer Rodney, owner of Los Angeles-area barbershop R.H.O.U.S.E, didn’t know how to feel or respond. In addition to running a business, he and his wife just welcomed a newborn daughter.
With a growing family to support and shop to operate, Rodney needed resources. That’s why he applied for an Emergency Capital Access Program (ECAP) grant.
Over the summer, Ford Motor Company and its philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund, joined forces with the National Urban League to provide $600,000 in grants to Black business owners adversely impacted by the pandemic.
From healthcare and education to commerce – the pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives.
Minority businesses unfortunately have been some of the hardest hit.
“We have been given orders to close on three different occasions this year, and it has taken a toll,” Rodney said. “But I am a man of faith and God has seen us through thus far.”
The Emergency Capital Access Program has provided small grants, combined with technical assistance and advisory services to Black business owners through National Urban League affiliates in Los Angeles, Detroit, New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago and New York.
“The grant that I received was amazing,” Rodney said. “I was able to renovate the back suite that I have for rent for hair stylists and pay some accounts.”
The Urban League Entrepreneurship Center, along with other partner agencies, have been recruiting qualified businesses as possible ECAP grant recipients. Eligible applicants are awarded $2,000 – $5,000.
So far, more than $317,500 has been dispersed to 89 Black entrepreneurs across the country.