Ford Motor Company and its philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund, are joining with the National Urban League to provide $600,000 in grants to Black business owners negatively afflicted by COVID-19.
The Emergency Capital Access Program (ECAP) will provide 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.
Each city will receive $100,000, enabling National Urban League affiliates to provide crucial economic support to businesses providing a stabilizing influence for communities hard hit by the pandemic.
“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.”
The ECAP initiative will be managed by local Urban League officials in each of the six cities. Here’s how the program will work:
- The Urban League Entrepreneurship Center, along with other partner agencies, will recruit qualified businesses as possible grant recipients;
- Qualified applicants will be awarded grants of $2,000 – $5,000 for the remainder of 2020.
- Qualified applicants must participate in pre-grant counseling services to access short-term needs.
- Funding priority will be given to “person-to-person” businesses heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and those located in Census tracts with greater than 25 percent Black residency.
“Access to capital is one of the biggest hurdles Black-owned businesses face, and the pandemic has only widened the racial disparity,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “Far-sighted and enlightened partners like Ford are essential to rebuilding an economy that is both fair and thriving. We’re extremely grateful for Ford’s support.”