As thousands of small businesses struggle to keep their doors open and their employees paid amid economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. on June 11, 2020, opened its first round of grant applications in its previously announced $25 million commitment to provide much-needed relief to minority-owned businesses.
Lowe’s donation will fuel emergency grants in historically underserved communities, as well as other assistance, to help owners navigate business challenges during the pandemic. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s largest community development organization, will manage the process of vetting applications for grants that will bring critical aid to minority- and women-led small businesses.
“Lowe’s has been committed to helping minority small business owners – the very backbone of our economy – rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact,” said Lowe’s President and CEO Marvin R. Ellison. “Helping people make their homes better extends beyond our walls and into our neighborhoods, communities and country. We’re proud these grants will help minority- and women-led small businesses, many of which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. This commitment is far more than a moment in time – it’s a reflection of who we have been and will continue to be as a company.”
LISC President and CEO Maurice A. Jones applauded Lowe’s ongoing commitment, noting that it will take a robust investment of public and private resources to spur economic recovery and bridge opportunity gaps that affect the well-being of millions of Americans.
“The need for this kind of relief is overwhelming,” said Jones. He noted that when LISC began offering small business rapid relief grants in April, it saw more than 50,000 applications in just the first four days, and another 200,000 for subsequent funding. Two-thirds of the initial applicants are businesses owned by minorities, veterans and women. Forty percent are in distressed locations, and nearly half have been in business for more than 10 years.
“Our country’s small businesses are the backbones of rural and urban communities,” Jones said. “They require capital, right now, if they are to continue to provide vital goods and services to their customers and help drive long-term recovery and growth. We are grateful to Lowe’s for their strong commitment to doing just that.”
This announcement is the next step of Lowe’s $50 million commitment to support communities during the pandemic, including providing more than $10 million in essential protective products for medical workers, purchasing $1 million worth of flowers from small business growers to be donated and delivered to senior living facilities for Mother’s Day, and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to minority businesses reopening.
To date, LISC has raised more than $17 million for COVID-19 rapid relief grants and helped 955 organizations access $91 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans—including nearly 200 PPP loans funded by LISC. LISC’s COVID-19 efforts continue to focus on support for small businesses and nonprofits led by women and minorities in economically vulnerable communities.
Source: Lowe’s Companies, Inc.