youth design center, mural, BLM, Brownsvile
Young Brownsville residents painting a BLM inspired mural. Photo: Youth Design Center.

Brownsville nonprofit United for Brownsville has launched a $50,000 grant to help a local small business focused on families in the neighborhood.

The United for Brownsville Small Business Relief Grant is targeted at preserving local small businesses that are a vital source of strength for the neighborhood and have been hit hard by the pandemic and accompanying economic effects, the organization says.

United for Brownsville, a program of SCO Family of Services in partnership with Community Solutions, will be selecting a business that serves families, such as child care facilities, daycare or play centers, barbershops, hair salons, dance studios, recreation centers or athletic organizations, to receive the grant.

United for Brownsville Community Engagement Associate Athenia Rodney said grant was an amazing opportunity for a business that had been burdened by COVID-19 to be revitalized.

Athenia Rodney of United for Brownsville was named a 2020 Robin Hood Hero. Photo: Robin Hood

“This grant will assist them with pivoting as the community begins to open up,” she said.

“The hope is that this grant will prevent a small essential business in Brownsville from closing down and the loss of further disadvantaging the community by losing another service”. 

The application requires small businesses to demonstrate they are vital to the community and have a focus on serving families with young children. This focus highlights the impact of the pandemic on businesses such as home-based daycares, many of which were forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The selected business will receive at least two phases of complimentary coaching and support from Ernst & Young.

United for Brownsville Co-Director David Harrington said data showed small businesses in Brownsville had suffered losses due to the pandemic at much higher rates than other neighborhoods in Brooklyn and New York City.

“Closures of businesses that serve families with young children have compounding effects on the community – not only do jobs leave the neighborhood but residents lose a vital local service and must find new places to take their business,” Harrington said.

He added the grant was an opportunity for those with the most expertise in the community — mothers, fathers, and grandparents of young children — to award essential financial and business support to a service that impacted them and their neighbors.

The nonprofit’s Family Advisory Board (FAB), comprised of Brownsville mothers, fathers and grandparents, will review the applications and select one grant winner to receive $50,000.

Business location, community impact, and financial need will be taken into account. Any small business serving families with young children in Brownsville or areas immediately adjacent to Brownsville can submit an application no later than Sunday, May 2.

Businesses and organizations that are interested in applying should visit unitedforbrownsville.grantplatform.com for more information.

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