Local non-profit to distribute $100,000 worth of grants to minority and women-owned businesses

Posted at 6:27 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 18:43:25-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Small businesses were struggling before COVID-19.

“You’re already working in a business environment where you don’t have a lot of extra capital coming in,"Executive Director of Westminster Economic Development Initiative Carolynn Welch said. "So now that we’ve had this huge crisis that’s really impacting, I think, small businesses the most. It’s very scary for them.”

Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) is a non-profit organization that helps the economically disadvantaged in the community.

“Minority communities have been hit harder by the COVID crisis, not only as business owners, but they may have seen a great reduction in disposable income,” Welch said.

So Welch, with the help of donors, have created a fund to help these struggling businesses.

“The Neighborly Fund is something that we’ve been working on with NeighborWorks Buffalo," Welch said. "We provide small business loans and grants."

As of May, the fund donated more than $100,000 worth of grants and now, they’re donating $100,000 more.

“We decided to do this because we knew we needed something that would be very responsive to our small business owners," Welch said. "We have been very fortunate. We’ve been working with quite a few funders."

Including KeyBank.

“Many of these businesses do business with KeyBank, so it’s very important for us to be there for them during this time," Upstate Regional Corporate Responsibility Officer at KeyBank said.

The first 50 applications will reviewed and 20 will be selected. Each small business can receive up to $5000 in relief, so if you are in need of an application, click here. The applications roll on a first come first serve business, but Welch says the fund will allocate another grant in the near future. To donate towards The Neighborly Fund, click here.