Lowe’s, the home improvement superstore, opened its first round of grant applications for $25 million in small business grants for minority-owned businesses.
Late last month, Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison announced Lowe’s would assist minority-owned businesses with $25 million in grants to support efforts to relaunch the American economy. According to a Lowe’s release, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s largest community development organization, will manage the process of vetting applications for grants.
To apply for a grant, small business owners should visit LISC.org/lowes. For this round, all applications must be submitted by Wednesday, June 17th at 11:59 p.m. ET.
The grants are intended to provide emergency assistance. Eligible expenses include:
- Paying rent and utilities
- Meeting payroll
- Paying outstanding debt to vendors
- Upgrading technology infrastructure
- Other immediate operational costs
“Lowe’s has been committed to helping minority small business owners—the very backbone of our economy—rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact,” Ellison said in a statement.
“Helping people make their homes better extends beyond our walls and into our neighborhoods, communities, and country. We’re proud these grants will help minority- and women-led small businesses, many of which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. This commitment is far more than a moment in time—it’s a reflection of who we have been and will continue to be as a company.”
Ellison, who joined Lowe’s in July 2018 and is one of four Black CEOs of a Fortune 500 company, said the grants are the first step in a $50 million effort to support communities during the pandemic. In March, Ellison announced Lowe’s would provide $25 million to support workers, customers, and communities. That effort included donating $10 million to get personal protective equipment materials to frontline medical workers.
LISC President and CEO Maurice A. Jones commended Lowe’s and Ellison, noting it will take a significant investment of public and private resources to spur economic recovery and close the opportunity gaps that only grew larger as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“The need for this kind of relief is overwhelming,” Jones said. “Our country’s small businesses are the backbones of rural and urban communities. They require capital, right now, if they are to continue to provide vital goods and services to their customers and help drive long-term recovery and growth.”
Jones noted that when LISC began offering small business rapid relief grants in April, it saw more than 50,000 applications in just the first four days and another 200,000 for subsequent funding. Two-thirds of the initial applicants are businesses owned by minorities, veterans, and women. Forty percent are in distressed locations, and nearly half have been in business for more than 10 years.