Mercy Corps Northwest Launches Grants for Black-Owned Small Businesses in Portland, Oregon

New program will award more than 20 Black-owned businesses $2,500 - $5,000 grants to recover from the brunt economic impact of COVID-19 in the Portland metro area

PORTLAND, OR -- Mercy Corps Northwest is launching a grant program this week for Black-owned small businesses in Portland, Oregon. Small business owners may submit an application online for up to $5,000 to use on rent, payroll or other operational expenses. Grants will begin to be distributed in the coming two weeks to provide vital support to small business owners struggling to keep their business afloat.

In order to qualify, businesses must be 50% or more Black-owned, located in the Portland metro area, and the owner(s) must have a current annual household income at or under 80% of Oregon’s Area Median Income. Grants will be prioritized by need until all funds are disbursed. Applications must be submitted by Wednesday, July 22 at 5 p.m.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately hurt Black communities, including Black-owned small businesses. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the number of Black-owned small businesses in the United States decreased by 41% from February to April this year compared to a 22% decrease in small businesses overall. 

“As the economic fallout of the pandemic unfolded in tandem with the uprise of the Black Lives Matter movement, we asked our clients what they needed most from us right now. We heard an overwhelming ask from Black business owners for access to immediate financial assistance,” said Lynn Renken, Mercy Corps Northwest Executive Director. “We heard that ask loud and clear. We are committed to supporting Black-owned businesses not only to survive but thrive here in Portland.”

In addition to grants, Mercy Corps Northwest offers business education and micro-loans to low-income and underserved entrepreneurs in an effort to eliminate barriers to starting and growing a small business. Currently all services are offered online and can be found at mercycorpsnw.org. 

Anyone can give to Mercy Corps Northwest to support the grant program empowering Black business owners and other MCNW programs throughout the crisis and for years to come.