Two Austin businesses were among 46 in Chicago to receive grants from the Verizon Foundation.
As part of their #PayItForwardLIVE initiative, the Verizon Foundation gave a total of $7.5 million to LISC to provide 777 small businesses nationwide with grant money ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. The financial support is to help businesses make payroll, pay rent and cover operational needs.
Over $400,000 of the nationwide grant money was allocated to Chicago.
Any small business was eligible for the grant, however, minority-owned, women-owned and businesses serving lower socioeconomic communities were given priority.
Mary Murphy of Mary Shyrese Home Day Care received a grant of $7,500, which she used to help covers payroll and equipment for the daycare.
Because of the pandemic, Murphy’s daycare has seen a drop in enrollment. She cited parents’ varying employment statuses and kids e-learning keeping them at home their siblings for the decline.
“I love what I do, and I hope I don’t have to close my doors,” Murphy said. “I’m thankful for it [the grant]. It came just in the nick of time.”
LISC Chicago is also offering the Rebuild Distressed Communities grant program, which started accepting applications Dec. 21st.
The program is helping any business affected by last year’s civil unrest. The funding can be used to make any improvements and repair damage businesses suffered, said Meghan Harte, LISC Chicago’s executive director.
Harte said qualifying business owners will want to gather documentation such as invoices for repairs, insurance claims, police reports and anything else that would support their application.
“LISC feels very fortunate to have the opportunity to provide grants for both scenarios – addressing issues that businesses are facing during COVID, but also to be able to support businesses that have experienced some of the civil unrest,” Harte said.