The L.A. Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund is making $100 million in grants available to micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses, non-profits, and diverse owned enterprises throughout Los Angeles County. Led by the County and City of Los Angeles in partnership with LISC LA, a non-profit and community development financial institution, and other partners, the L.A. Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund was designed to provide a much-needed wave of financial relief to businesses due to COVID-19.
Applicants can apply for grants ranging from $5,000 – $25,000 during the two remaining application periods: Oct. 5–9 and Oct. 26–30. For all eligibility requirements and to apply, visit the L.A. Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund website.
Utilizing an equity-based approach, LISC LA is working to ensure the most vulnerable in the community are supported by the fund. For example, applicants who meet the following criteria are weighted more heavily in the system: veteran-owned small businesses, and city and county districts that have a higher unemployment rate, lower education rate, lower median household income, and lower jobs-to-population rate. LISC LA has also deployed a bilingual paid digital advertising and grassroots outreach program designed to reach underserved communities who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. That said, grant winners will continue to be chosen through a randomized application system, and all who are eligible are encouraged to apply.
“Our small businesses and nonprofits are being stretched extremely thin right now, with some on the brink of collapse because of the pandemic,” says Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, executive director of LISC LA. “It’s unfortunately no surprise that many of the businesses unable to access the financial support they need are owned by entrepreneurs of color who face cultural, technical, and/or other barriers to entry. The COVID Fund is working to bridge that gap, and is a step in the right direction when it comes to equity in grantmaking. The LISC LA team is proud to be doing what we do best, providing the capital and resources to those who need it most.”
Since the Fund launched on July 6, 2020, LISC LA has deployed more than $3.2 million in grants to approximately 300 resilient small businesses, nonprofits, and microentrepreneurs. One L.A. Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund grant recipient is Olasteo, a student-focused nonprofit serving the South L.A. Watts community. Through Olasteo’s experiential programs and educational opportunities they provide supportive services to empower students. The nonprofit has a small but mighty team of five who run the programs as volunteers, and the programs for the year are usually funded mostly by the two co-founders. This year due to COVID-19 that was not possible.
“While we will continue our fundraising efforts to be able to continue our programming, this grant will help ensure we can run our summer program remotely and add a fall program, while still planning and saving for future programs,” says co-founder Aaron Friedman.