Lowe’s continues to increase its stake in assisting small businesses during turbulent times.
The home improvement giant reported that it is increasing its minority small business grants from $25 million to $30 million while donating an additional $25 million to its small business grant program with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
The additional funds will focus on rural communities, which have been hard hit by the pandemic, the Mooresville, N.C.-based retailer said. Following the increase, the total $55 million commitment makes Lowe's the largest donor to LISC's Small Business Relief & Recovery Program and COVID Rapid Relief & Resiliency Fund.
"Having grown up in a small town, I have first-hand knowledge of the extraordinary challenges small business owners in rural communities across the country face during the pandemic,” said Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO. “We also remain committed to supporting minority small businesses that are being disproportionately impacted.”
The grants will provide relief for critical needs such as rent, payroll, and operational expenses to keep businesses running. The donation also helps connect both the applicants and grantees to a network of local small business development, support, advocacy and capital access organizations. Grant recipients will receive one year of technical assistance post-grant to help further ensure their survival over the longer-term, according to Lowe’s and the LISC.
Additionally, select Lowe's stores in North Carolina and Georgia will host drive-in movies to benefit local small business relief efforts for those impacted by COVID-19. For any donation made, Lowe's plans to match two-to-one up to $50,000 to its grant program. Interested customers in these markets can reserve a spot or learn more about the drive-in movies at Lowes.com/DIY.
Ellison has also put the word out to other companies who can assist those in need during the COVID-19 crisis.
"We cannot solve this need alone, and I encourage other companies to step up and make a difference in supporting small businesses, which are the cornerstone of our economy,” Ellison said. “Together, we can make a meaningful difference, especially for those in historically disinvested communities and areas hit hardest by COVID-19."
LISC President and CEO Maurice Jones describes Lowe’s assistance to small businesses as “a game changer.”
“We can help rural business owners sustain operations and protect jobs during the current crisis, while at the same time investing in sustainable growth throughout small towns, agricultural communities and coal country,” Jones said.
For more on the LISC-Lowe's partnership or to apply for a grant, visit LISC.org/lowes.