Chicago Urban League to Provide $100,000 in Emergency Grants and Technical Assistance to Black Small Business Owners Through Ford Initiative
New program will launch in Chicago on August 17
In partnership with Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, the Chicago Urban League is launching the Emergency Capital Access Program (ECAP) to provide small grants, technical assistance, and advisory services to Black-owned small businesses that have been negatively affected by COVID-19. The League’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation will deliver the program and expects to provide grants up to $5,000 to about 20 businesses.
“Over the past few months, our Help Center has worked with hundreds of small business owners to assist them in recovering from interruption caused by the pandemic, and the need is still great,” said Chicago Urban League President & CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson. “This new initiative and support from Ford will help us make a difference for more local, Black-owned businesses and the communities they serve.”
Ford created ECAP as a pilot program with the National Urban League to offer crucial economic support to businesses that provide a stabilizing influence for communities hard hit by the pandemic.
Chicago was one of six National Urban League affiliates to receive $100,000 from Ford to deliver the program.
“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.”
Here’s how the program will work in Chicago:
- The League’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation 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% Black residency.
For more details about the program, visit the COVID-19 Community Help Center website, www.culcovid19.com.
“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.”
The Ford Motor Company Fund continues to support communities during this challenging time. For more information on programs that support the African American community, go to http://fgb.life.
About Ford Motor Company Fund
As the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund’s mission is to strengthen communities and help make people’s lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in more than 60 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential. Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering. For more information, visit www.fordfund.org or join us at @FordFund on Facebook and Twitter.
About The Chicago Urban League
Since 1916, the Chicago Urban League—through collaborative community, corporate and civic relationships—has helped people find jobs, secure affordable housing, enhance their educational experiences, and grow their businesses. We are passionate advocates for educational equality, economic development and social justice. We believe that a strong African American community makes a stronger, better Chicago. In FY2019, the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation served more than 1,050 Black business owners and entrepreneurs. Visit www.chiul.org and follow us on Twitter at @ChiUrbanLeague and Facebook at @ChicagoUrbanLeague.