BLVD Bistro in Harlem, one of the Small Business Support Grant recipients. (l-r Markisha Swepson, proprietor; Ward Corbett, NYUL board chair; and Jacqueline Jackson, NYUL COO) (305193)
Credit: Photo courtesy of the New York Urban League

These times, emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, have been difficult for many businesses around the country. Some have pivoted successfully while others, many, have shuttered, ending or deferring dreams. For those who made it through, even by the seat of their pants, there are opportunities for financial support to start mending, if not rebuilding, the foundation again.

The Ford Motor Company and the New York Urban League partnered to award unrestricted $5,000 grants to Black-owned small businesses operating in predominantly Black neighborhoods in New York City. The funding granted will be used to pay myriad outstanding expenses from rent and payroll to hiring new staff and equipment upgrades and more due to the after-effects of the pandemic.

NYUL partnered with Harlem Business Alliance in Manhattan and Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration in Brooklyn to identify candidates for the small business grant. The Grant Review Committee selected 18 businesses to be awarded the Small Business Grant across Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx.

The businesses selected are in a variety of industries, including food service, personal care, apparel, fitness training, and technical support. There are many common themes among these businesses involving the need for funding; the plans for these funds range from basic operating expenses to business model improvements that will enhance customer experience.

“We are so pleased to partner with Ford Motor Company to provide these small grants to small businesses. Our communities are disproportionately suffering the health and economic impact of COVID. We are pleased to provide critical support to these businesses at a critical time,” said Arva Rice, president and CEO of the New York Urban League.

The allocation of these grants furthers New York Urban League’s mission to enable African Americans and other underserved communities to secure a first-class education, economic self-reliance, and equal respect of their civil rights through programs, services, and advocacy. Said Board Chair Ward Corbett, “Small businesses are vital to the continued growth and economic stability in the communities in which they operate. Black-owned businesses are important anchors in our communities and threads in the fabric of our society. We know this grant, as well as our other efforts, will strengthen the economic infrastructure in Black communities.”

Congratulations to all of the grant award winners, especially our food and beverage family!


Blvd Bistro

Momma Zee’s Food To Plez

L. A. Sweets NY

Lee Lee’s Baked Goods


Seasoned Vegan



Basquat’s Bottle

Rustik 471

Happy eating, stay safe and thanks for reading.

Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 18 years. She is the new Food Editor at Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPnyc, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc.

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