Many small businesses in Philadelphia are reeling right now. Several sustained two compounded hardships: the mandated coronavirus shutdowns and damage during rebellions following some of the recent demonstrations over systemic racism and police brutality.
A number of efforts have emerged to help with recovery, from individual fundraisers to community development partnerships to government-led programs.
We’ve collected several of those initiatives here.
Scroll down to find info on how to apply for relief if you’re a business owner, or where to donate if you’re a kindhearted person who wants to help,
Enterprise Center’s fundraiser for 52nd Street
Since its founding three decades ago, West Philly’s Enterprise Center has provided services and support for community projects, Black-owned businesses, and entrepreneurs of color. The organization is raising money to send directly to impacted small businesses on the 52nd Street corridor, which was hit especially hard at the beginning of the month.
Take action: Donate to support 52nd Street here.
Forgivable loans from the PA 30 Day Fund
Led by Philadelphians including Jeff Brown of Shoprite and Mustafa Rashed of Bellevue Strategies, the PA 30 Day Fund is providing financial assistance to small businesses in the commonwealth. Launched to offer forgivable loans to operations facing hardship caused by the coronavirus shutdowns, it recently also pledged at least $100,000 for small businessowners of color who suffered property damage. To qualify, for-profit businesses must have between 3 and 30 employees and have operated for at least one year,
Rebuild the Block fundraiser for Black-owned businesses
After launching a GoFundMe at the end of May, Philly-area MBA candidate Alexis Akarolo has already raised more than $150k of her $1 million goal. She’s now turning the Rebuild the Block initiative into a nonprofit to distribute sliding-scale grants to Black-owned businesses nationwide. To qualify, businesses must have been operating by Jan. 1 at the latest and prove they suffered financial harm from COVID-19 or in the rebellions that followed some demonstrations.
Free professional assistance for damaged storefronts
The West Philly Corridor Collaborative partnered with the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Councilmember Allan Domb and other local organizations to create the PHL Emergency Business Insurance Program. The initiative aims to connect small business owners across the city to legal and insurance professionals who can assist filing claims after property damage. The Enterprise Center is also in on this one, providing technical assistance to proprietors who need it. Small businesses are instructed to call 610-304-8529 to schedule an appointment.
Take action: Businesses who need help — or professionals who want to donate time — can contact Domb’s office via a form on its website or call 610-304-8529.
$1.4 million ‘Restore and Reopen’ grant program
The Merchant’s Fund has been providing financial assistance to small businesses in Philadelphia since 1854. It will be managing the city’s $1.4 million Restore and Reopen program to distribute grants in what are termed “historically disadvantaged communities” harmed this month. Philadelphia’s Commerce Department, in partnership with the Merchant’s Fund, is still drafting application guidelines and eligibility requirements.
More coronavirus recovery funding on the way
Pennsylvania is launching a $225 million grant and loan deferment program with funding from the federal CARES Act. $100 million of that money will be earmarked for “historically disadvantaged” business owners. To be eligible, a business must have been operational by Feb. 15, be able to show the coronavirus caused an adverse economic impact, and detail a plan to use the funds to cover costs associated with the pandemic.
Take action: Business owners can apply via a member of the statewide network of Community Development Financial Institutions. Philly-area CFDIs include the Reinvestment Fund, West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution, United Bank and Beech Capital. Find a full list of eligible CFDIs here.