|Mayor Sylvester Turner joined the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity in partnership with Wells Fargo on Tuesday, July 26, to announce the launch of the Open for Business Grant portal to distribute $20 million to Houston-area diverse, small businesses and non-profit organizations.
Beginning Tuesday, August 9, business owners will have the opportunity to apply for grants ranging between $10,000 and $65,000.
“Opening this portal is an incredible step towards the progress we initiated in May 2021 when we established the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity. We are providing access to much-needed funds for Houston’s small businesses of color and non-profits that focus on leveling the playing field. It will empower their work, allow them to thrive, extend their reach, and support innovation,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner, who serves as the Honorary Chair. “Thanks to corporate partnerships like Wells Fargo, we have come a long way in a short time and are now funding foundational change in the Houston community.”
The Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity will distribute the funding in the form of grants over a three-year period towards the purchase of property, equipment and other tangible assets, supporting economic development in underserved communities. The funding is estimated to reach more than 500 small businesses in Houston and is aimed to help business owners and non-profits with new ways to grow and increase capacity.
“We are honored to work with Wells Fargo to bridge the gap in economic equity among Houston’s underrepresented and underfunded minority-owned small businesses and nonprofit organizations,” said Thomas Jones, Board President, Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity. “The fruit of this partnership infuses hope into the community and positively impacts its business trajectory.”
To qualify, an applicant’s business or 501c3 non-profit must be located in the Houston-area, must consist of 50 employees or less, be led by people of color, and have been established by December 31, 2021. All applications must be submitted between Tuesday, August 9 at 9 a.m. through Tuesday, August 23 at 11:59 p.m. CST through the electronic portal link which can be found by visiting www.houstonequityfund.com.
The $20 million in grants, first announced in February, comes from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund, a roughly $420 million national small business recovery effort with a focus on racially and ethnically diverse small business owners, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The fund was created from the gross processing fees that Wells Fargo received from Paycheck Protection Program loans made in 2020. Wells Fargo has donated funds to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and local nonprofits across the nation.
About Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity
The Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity (Houston Equity Fund) enacts transformational change by investing resources organizations and initiatives that empower and uplift communities of color. Houston Equity Fund is committed to taking actions that encourage equitable systems change, while operating with transparency and fidelity. The Fund is committed to implementing a framework for reporting and evaluation that reflects the shared goal of Houston Equity Fund and its supporters—meaningful and lasting change for marginalized communities of color. A key aspect to being transformative is to embrace a rigorous process to select and fund organizations aligned to four core focus areas: Social and Racial Justice, Youth Empowerment and Education, Community Building and Economic Development.