By Patrice Nkrumah
If you’ve ever watched a Blackhawks game, you know Patrick Kane can give the prettiest passes in the game that lead to a goal. Which is called an assist. Well now, the entire Blackhawks organization is giving an assist to Black businesses on the city’s West Side and spotlighting others throughout the city.
The city’s NHL franchise recognizes that the COVID-19 has put a difficult burden on all businesses in the city, but it has been particularly hard on some Black businesses. The pandemic and recession have created unprecedented challenges for small businesses, but community members and businesses in predominantly minority neighborhoods have experienced a dramatically more significant burden, according to a Blackhawks press release.
“To offer support to our small business neighbors on the West Side, the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, with generous support from United Airlines, will launch a Small Business Grant Recovery Program, “Support West”. This program will provide $5,000 grants to minority-owned small business in neighborhoods on the West Side who have been severely impacted by COVID-19,” the statement read in part.
The program is organized by the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation in partnership with United Airlines, the fourth largest commercial airliner in the world.
“We are pleased to partner with the Blackhawks to channel our resources to better ensure that the small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic remain a valuable part of our city when we emerge from this pandemic,” Rahsaan Johnson, director of global sponsorship activation at United
The process for those seeking grant monies is pretty simple. All you need to do is fill out the application on https://www.nhl.com/blackhawks/community and click on the “Support West” tab. The application window closes on Feb 28th. The grantees will be selected and notified by March 15th, with disbursement by the end of March.
To be eligible for a grant, businesses must meet the following requirements:
- 10 or fewer employees
- Located in a West Side neighborhood
- Owned and operated by a business leader of color.
- Less than $250,000 annual revenue
- In business for at least one year
- 25% decrease in revenue due to COVID-19
We’re thrilled to share that Allies for Community Business will provide coaching to ALL applicants of Support West who want to start or grow his or her business. They are a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution based in Garfield Park on Chicago’s West Side.
When NBC Sports Chicago Hockey Analyst, Jamal Mayers appeared on the Crusader and SportsZone Chicago podcast “What’s Up Cuz” back in July, he said the organization was going to be doing more community outreach, particularly on the city’s West Side where the Blackhawks call home.
The “What’s Up Cuz!” podcast with Crusader journalist J. Coyden Palmer and Lance Irvin airs every Monday from 6-8 p.m. You can check out the show on YouTube, the Chicago Crusader Facebook and Twitter pages or download the SportsZone Chicago app.