Next week, small business, non-profits and “micro entrepreneurs” will be able to apply for grants from the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund through a program that prioritizes veteran-owned small businesses and those in areas with higher unemployment rates, lower education rates, lower median household income, and a lower jobs-to- population rate. The lower-median household income areas include much of West Hollywood east of Harper Avenue.
The grant program is being managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation Los Angeles (LISC LA), a non-profit and community development financial institution. The grants range from $5,000 to $25,000.
An announcement of the grant program notes that “while there are a variety of Federal programs available, many Angelenos have been unable to access aid due to financial, technical, and/or cultural barriers.” One example is the federal Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program, a federal loan initiative with an ever-changing application process and qualification requirements.
“Our small businesses and nonprofits are being stretched extremely thin right now, with some on the brink of collapse because of the pandemic,” said 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, LISC LA has approved more than $3.2 million in grants to approximately 300 small businesses, nonprofits, and microentrepreneurs. One L.A. Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund grant recipient is Olasteo, a student-focused nonprofit serving the South LA Watts community. With its experiential programs and educational opportunities, Olasteo provides supportive services to students. The nonprofit has a small 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.
This round of applications for the L.A. Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund opens on Monday (Oct. 5) and remains open through next Friday. Applications can be made online here www.lacovidfund.org.
LISC defines micro entrepreneurs as workers participating in the gig economy, street vendors, sole proprietors, independent contractors, 1099 workers, and/or LLCs with revenues of $100,000 or less in the most recent available tax return (2018 or 2019). They are eligible for $5,000 grants.
Small businesses are registered for-profit business entities that have a yearly gross revenue of more than $100,000 but less than $1 million based on most recent available tax return (2018 or 2019). They are eligible for $15,000 grants.Registered 501(C)(3) or 501(C)(6) Chambers of Commerce organizations that have annual a total revenue of less than $1 million based on most recent available 990 form (2018 or 2019) (line 12 on 990 form)
Non-profit businesses, eligible for $15,000 grants, must be registered 501(C)(3) organizations or 501(C)(6) Chambers of Commerce organizations that have a total annual revenue of less than $1 million based on most recent available IRS 990 form (2018 or 2019). They also must provide supportive social services to low- to moderate-income individuals or families in LA County.