GSBA, Washington State’s LGBTQ & Allied Chamber of Commerce, and Comcast Washington today launched the Ready for Business Fund – a relief effort that provides $2,500 grants to businesses with diverse owners that seek financial assistance.
Small businesses in Washington, especially those owned by LGBTQ people, BIPOC community members and women, are at greater risk in today’s uncertain economy. This new fund offers support for these groups of business owners, who run local restaurants, bookstores, bistros, shops, stores, and more, which are an important part of the social fabric in our community. With $50,000 in seed funding from Comcast Washington and GSBA as the fund administrator, the Ready for Business Fund seeks to support 20 qualifying small businesses to start, with additional grants made available by securing contributions from other companies and individuals.
“As we witness the shuttering – temporary and even permanent – closures of our locally-owned small businesses being devastated by COVID-19 and the economic downturn, we understand how essential small businesses are to our community – especially our vulnerable LGBTQ-, women-, and BIPOC- (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) owned businesses,” said Louise Chernin, GSBA President & CEO. “It is our small businesses that create gathering places, enhance our local culture, hire our workforce, and invest in neighborhood nonprofits. We love our small businesses and want to do our part to help them reopen and recover.”
How Small Businesses May Apply
LGBTQ-, BIPOC-, and women-owned small businesses that have been in business since March 2, 2020 may find more information and apply for Ready for Business Fund grants at theGSBA.org/ready-for-business. In the first round of funding, priority will be given to businesses located in the most adversely impacted commercial districts in the Seattle metro area.
Applications are open from Aug. 3, 2020 through Sept. 4, 2020. All grant applicants will be notified the week of Sept. 21, 2020. The grant application is short and easy to complete. Submissions will be reviewed by a committee made up of a diverse group of volunteers from the GSBA and at-large community members. All grant recipients will receive wrap-around services from GSBA and Comcast Washington, including membership, advertising, and consulting.
How to Contribute to the Fund
Companies and individuals may find more information and contribute to the Ready for Business Fund by contacting Ilona Lohrey, GSBA – Washington State’s LGBTQ & Allied Chamber of Commerce at IlonaL@thegsba.org / (206) 363-9188, or visiting the webpage at theGSBA.org/ready-for-business.
“If small businesses can recover and thrive, our local economies can be strong – that has a cascading effect that benefits everyone,” said Rodrigo Lopez, Regional Senior Vice President, Comcast Washington. “We recognize that Comcast can play a role in supporting local economies where we do business and our employees live, work and play. That is why we are expanding our community giving to now include supporting small businesses.”
“The Ready for Business Fund provides an opportunity for all of us to give what we can to ensure that our neighborhood treasure – our local small business – make it through the current health and economic crisis. We challenge other businesses to join Comcast in achieving our goal to raise $100,000 in grant funding so that we can double the number of businesses we are able to support. Every donation, regardless of amount, will go toward LGBTQ-, BIPOC-, and women-owned businesses, whose ability to recover will benefit us all,” added Chernin.
Established in 1981, GSBA is Washington State’s LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce and is the largest of its kind in North America. The chamber represents over 1,400 small business, corporate, and nonprofit members who share the values of promoting diversity, equity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace. GSBA proudly serves as a connector across the region, bringing communities together through business while advocating for civil rights and small business. GSBA also promotes LGBTQ tourism through Travel Out Seattle, advocates for small businesses in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood through the Capitol Hill Business Alliance (CHBA), and invests in the next generation of LGBTQ and allied leaders through the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed Internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed Internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.