Relief Fund Aiding San Diego’s Black-Owned Businesses Tops $1 Million

400+ individual & 37 corporate donations coupled with City partnership bolsters inclusive economic recovery

SAN DIEGO – In an effort to deliver relief for Black-owned businesses disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce on Monday announced the Black Business Relief Grant Fund has topped more than $1 million with a mix of private and corporate donations as well as a major partnership from the City of San Diego.

In the first round of grants distributed, nearly 200 businesses have received aid, including Hammonds Gourmet Ice Cream, where owner Averill Williams spoke in support of the program during Monday’s announcement. Several additional rounds of distribution are anticipated to provide relief to some of the 1,000 applicants received.

The fund has benefitted from a mix of generous donations from more than 400 individuals and 37 corporate donors. In addition, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and the City Council allocated $500,000 in emergency relief funding to the effort under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act from the City’s Small Business Relief Fund. Other donors include San Diego Grantmakers, which is also the fiscal agent for the fund, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, Sony Electronics, The San Diego Foundation, The Leichtag Foundation, Alliance Healthcare Foundation, Cox Communications, US Bank, Union Bank and Wells Fargo.

Created in June and influenced by the positive discussions from the RECOVER Advisory Group organized by Mayor Faulconer, The Black Business Relief Grant Fund was created to offer relief to the thousands of Black-owned businesses in San Diego, many of which faced additional hurdles in unlocking state and federal financial resources.

Data from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) illustrated what local Black-owned businesses were experiencing showing Black and Hispanic populations were four times as likely to live in areas that have been impacted by COVID-19 and unemployment when compared to the White population, and twice as likely when compared to the Asian population.

“Every penny from this fund gives more businesses the chance to stay open, pay their employees and survive this pandemic,” Mayor Faulconer said. “The road to building a successful business is hard enough even before COVID-19 devastated our economy, so we must continue to provide inclusive relief to a wide variety of small businesses and this fund speaks volumes about the widespread support San Diegans have for our Black-owned businesses.”

Grants have ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 and are administered by San Diego Grantmakers. Roughly 74 percent of recipients are women-owned companies and nearly 40 percent are childcare centers. Other recipients include a coffee shop, a wine shop, a sports fishing business, an ice cream shop, professional services companies and more.

“San Diego’s Black-owned businesses are a vibrant economic driver for the Black community and for the entire region,” said Donna DeBerry, President and CEO of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce. “The Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce launched this fund as a call to action and the response has been resounding. Today, Mayor Faulconer stands beside our corporate partners and hundreds of individual San Diegans to say to Black business owners, ‘We see you, we value you, and we are here for you.’ The Chamber will continue as a voice and advocate to ensure this spirit endures and Black businesses and entrepreneurs are provided equitable access to the resources needed to thrive through the pandemic and beyond.”

Priority is given to sole proprietorship businesses whose net income was less than $100,000 in 2019 and have 10 or fewer employees.

“I am very appreciative that the Black Chamber has extended this grant to Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream,” said Averill Williams, owner of Hammonds Gourmet Ice Cream. “Receiving this grant has contributed to our ability to continue to operate during these difficult times. And beyond just the financial help, the Black Chamber equally extended access to counseling and additional business development resources that I see as significant to the survivability and overall growth to my business.”

Grant funds include complimentary business development assistance with the San Diego and Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center Network, through which business owners learn about additional financial resources and skills such as how to manage financial books, how to write up a business plan or how to adapt their marketing to the current environment.

“We are excited to see the community come together to reach this milestone in support of San Diego’s Black-owned businesses, and Cal Coast is proud to be part of this important work,” said California Coast Credit Union President and CEO Todd Lane.  “But our work is not done. Small, minority-owned businesses still need our help. We encourage all local corporations to make it a top priority to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, and support our most economically vulnerable businesses in our community.”

What others are saying about the Black Business Relief Fund:

“We are experiencing a crisis on top of a crisis. Black residents are being disproportionately impacted by COVID19, and we know that the vast majority of Black-owned businesses have been overlooked by public relief funding,” said Sarah Lyman, executive director of Alliance Healthcare Foundation. “To achieve an inclusive, equitable region where all people have the opportunity to thrive, we must address persistent racial inequities directly. Alliance Healthcare Foundation is proud to partner with the Black Business Relief Fund as one local vehicle to direct funding where it is urgently needed.”

“It was important for us to donate to the Black Business Relief Grant Fund for a multitude of reasons. Black-owned businesses have felt devastating financial impacts and have been one of the hardest hit communities throughout this pandemic,” said Cody J. Martinez, chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. “During these difficult times, we feel it is our responsibility to come together and support small local businesses any way we can. These grants will help Black-owned businesses get the resources they need, so that they can begin their journey on the road to recovery. We look forward to growing our partnership with the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce and continuing to propel our black business community forward.”

Businesses looking for assistance can apply on the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce website. Those who wish to support the fund can learn more on the San Diego Grantmakers website here.


About the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce

The mission of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce is to create generational wealth through business enterprise, education, employment, and investing. Its goal is to support the business, career, and financial success of its members, which results in the economic empowerment of its Communities. The Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce utilizes innovative programs, networking opportunities, and business partnerships to advance and strengthen Inclusive Economic Development throughout the City and County of San Diego.


Greg Block at (619) 849-9645 or [email protected]

For further details on the fund, please visit this page.