LISC Launches Pilot Program with Wells Fargo Grant to Help Small Businesses Build Disaster Resilience

NEW YORK, June 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is collaborating with the Wells Fargo Foundation on a pilot program to help small businesses plan for and recover from disasters.

The Wells Fargo Foundation launches the LISC Small Business Resiliency Network with a $2 million grant to fund community disaster training, planning and support for up to 500 small businesses in particularly disaster-prone communities.

The program will work through 20 non-profit business development organizations (BDOs) in Alabama, Louisiana, New Jersey, New Yorkand Texas so that these BDOs can hire and train staff in business continuity management and increase local businesses’ access to capital.

BDOs will help local businesses, particularly those operating in disaster-prone areas, to address a range of significant challenges, from translating the impact of climate change for small businesses to mainstreaming recovery and from preparedness in business plans to climate-related business opportunities. The aim is to help owners overcome the impact of disasters, preserve jobs and protect and increase local incomes.

“With this grant, we aim to catalyze further support for the LISC Small Business Resilience Network and build the capacity of local nonprofit organizations to guide small business owners through disaster preparedness strategies,” said Molly Porter, acting president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “Entrepreneurs and the communities they serve benefit when there is an opportunity to plan ahead. We hope this effort will help keep more small businesses on the path to growth, even in the face of challenges.

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to disasters, often without the business plans, savings, financial partners, insurance or other support needed to recover from a catastrophic loss. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about 25% of small businesses never reopen after a devastating hurricane or wildfire. The challenges are magnified for those who have historically faced capital shortages, such as Black, Indigenous and Colored (BIPOC) homeowners. For example, an estimated 40% of black-owned businesses failed in the early days of the pandemic, more than double those with white owners.

“Whether it’s hurricanes, wildfires or public health crises, disaster can be a huge blow to small business owners and, by extension, to their employees and the communities they serve. serve,” said LISC’s CEO. Lisa Glover.

“But we also know from experience that losses can be mitigated with solid planning, solid coping strategies, and help navigating the tangled mix of available public programs,” Glover continued. “By working with community BDOs, especially those that focus on underserved communities, we are building a model that will expand that recuperative capacity.”

The pilot complements LISC’s existing disaster recovery and small business support programs, which included more than $240 million in COVID relief grants to minority-owned businesses and businesses in disinvested communities throughout the pandemic.

To learn more about the LISC Small Business Resilience Network, visit the LISC site.

About LISC
LISC is one of the nation’s largest community development organizations, helping to forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so people and places can thrive. Since our creation in 1979, LISC has invested $26.7 billion to create more than 463,000 affordable homes and apartments, develop 78.5 million square feet of commercial, community and educational space, and help tens of thousands of people find jobs and improve their finances. To learn more, visit www.lisc.org.

SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Society (LISC)

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