Kaiser Permanente has announced $100 million in grants and investments to support Black-owned businesses and Black-led community organizations combating systemic racism. The funding will also support businesses and groups led by other underrepresented groups.
The spending includes a joint initiative with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s largest community development organization, to support Black and Brown-led businesses working to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kaiser and LISC will each contribute $30 million to the initiative.
The initiative will provide business loans of $100,000 to up to $4 million. Separately, Kaiser is also designating another $15 million in grant funding to increase access to training, business networks, and capital to help Black and Brown-led businesses.
Kaiser will partner with Pacific Community Ventures and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City on this separate funding effort.
Kaiser has also set aside another $25 million for community groups led by Black and Brown leaders to support work to combat systemic racism and address trauma in marginalized communities.
“The tragic murder of George Floyd and so many others has reverberated around the world, pushing us to demand overdue change to a status quo that keeps communities of color in the margins and holds us all back as a society,” Kaiser chairman and CEO Greg Adams said in a statement.
“As a country, this is a moment to define who we are and what we stand for. We must take strong action to stop the physical, psychological, economic and social impacts of inequity and systemic racism so that we can create healthier communities where everybody, regardless of their skin color, can feel safe and thrive.”
Applicants eligible for loans from the Kaiser-LISC partnership must conduct significant business in Kaiser market areas. Businesses that primarily sell tobacco, alcohol or firearms are not eligible.
Small businesses can apply by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KaiserFund. Other potential borrowers such as smaller community development financial institutions should e-mail email@example.com with some information about their organization and financial needs.
Timing of receipt of funds for approved applicants varies based on each borrower’s financing needs and readiness to proceed, but it typically takes several months from intake to loan closing, a spokesperson for LISC said.
The announcement of these funding efforts comes as many businesses, especially those run by Black and Brown entrepreneurs – who historically have access to less capital than white entrepreneurs – struggle to deal with the economic fallout from forced closure or reduced business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some businesses have been forced to close permanently due to the significant loss in traffic and commerce.