$262,500 granted to help black businesses reopen in Flint

FLINT, Michigan—Black businesses like hair salons, barbershops, retail, construction, landscaping, daycare, senior/care facilities, bars, restaurants, tattoo parlors, and non-manufacturing operations are eligible to apply for a $262,500 grant to help them reopen under state guidance.


The funds were granted to the Genesee Chamber Foundation by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation as part of the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce’s Restart Flint and Genesee Grant Program. The program was first formed out of a partnership with the Consumers Energy Foundation that allocated $200,000 to help businesses county-wide. The additional $262, 500 from the C.S. Mott Foundation will focus on helping to rehabilitate black small businesses in Flint. Businesses will be awarded up to $5,000.


“Everyone has been affected. But just as this virus has wreaked havoc on the African American community, it has wreaked havoc on the African American business community,” said President of Northgate, George Wilkinson in a March 13 press release. He also a member of the Greater Flint Coronavirus Taskforce on Racial Disparities.


Related Story: Local Taskforce formed for racial equity in Covid-19 response


“This support will help them significantly to move forward. It’s the salons, barbershops, the child care facilities, all of those very small businesses with less than 50 employees that are impacted the most and don’t always have access to the other support. This grant says ‘We see you. We recognize that you don’t have the resources others have to embolden you and provide help during this time.’”


The funds from the Restart Flint and Genesee Grant Program are meant to go towards needs related to reopening, such as personal protection equipment, cleaning services, and cleaning supplies, and physical social distancing arrangements.


To apply, business owners must have less than 50 employees and provide a testimony that illustrates “economic distress or barriers to success” from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive orders, according to the Restart Flint and Genesee Grant Program’s eligibility requirements. If a business' application isn't awarded, their application will be considered for funding through the Consumers Energy Foundation.

A webinar explaining eligibility, deadlines, and the purpose of the funds will be conducted at 10 a.m. March 15 and will be shared on the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook Live and Youtube Live platforms.


For more information or to access the application visit the Restart Flint and Genesee Grant Program page. The deadline to apply is Sunday, March 24.

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Read more articles by Xandr Brown.