It’s been nearly two years since the COVID-19 pandemic upended daily life and shuttered businesses around the globe. And while the full depth of the economic fallout will likely be unknown for years to come, it’s clear that any small business weathering the pandemic storm could benefit from a little extra financial support. It’s why Wells Fargo has earmarked $420 million to small business recovery efforts for those hardest hit—minority and women-owned businesses.
To provide support and assistance this winter, Wells Fargo, has teamed up with local nonprofit organizations to launch Hope USA, a new initiative with a mission “to help bring hope and support to local shopping districts across the country, just in time for their critical holiday shopping seasons,” according to a press release shared with EBONY. This includes helping to beautify small business districts in 16 markets across the country and encouraging everyone to show support for small businesses. The cities selected include Atlanta, Charlotte, Des Moines, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles/Orange County, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
“COVID-19 continues to create unprecedented economic challenges for all small businesses and our nation, says Derek Ellington, Head of Small Business Banking at Wells Fargo. “As a company, we’re focused on fostering an inclusive recovery from COVID-19 and strengthening the small business sector for the long term. Our goal is to help as many small businesses as we can.”
Recently the financial giant awarded a $20 million grant to the Foundation of the Carolinas to help provide grants to approximately 1,000 small businesses from startup through expansion stages in the Charlotte, NC area. They also took over Philadelphia’s 52nd Street commercial corridor—a place where Black businesses have been mainstays for years, coordinating with The Enterprise Center to help make improvements for small businesses located there. Buildings were painted, sidewalks were power washed and holiday lighting displays were installed. The hope is the refresh welcomes an influx of guests to help rejuvenate the shopping area that hit a setback in 2020.