Final Round of L.A. Regional COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program Begins Oct. 26

Financial assistance in a time of economic instability can make all the difference in helping diverse small businesses and non-profits. | Courtesy photo by Norma Mortenson from Pexels

Last chance for small businesses to apply for $5,000-$25,000 grants

The sixth and final round of the $100 million L.A. Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund grant program commences Monday, Oct. 26, marking the last week that eligible Los Angeles County microentrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits can apply for a $5,000-$25,000 grant.

Since grant program opened in July, fund administrators from Local Initiatives Support Corporation Los Angeles (LISC L.A.) have identified 5,000 finalists and nearly 2,000 more will be selected in this final round. Grant recipients are chosen through a randomized application system, and all who are eligible are encouraged to apply. However, applicants who meet the following criteria are weighted more heavily in the system: veteran-owned small businesses, and city and county districts that have a higher unemployment rate, lower education rate, lower median household income, and lower jobs-to-population rate.

One such recipient is Jerold Potter, founder and owner of Potters Printing, a print shop in South L.A. that serves the local community and uses its sales to fund a national prison book program. When COVID-19 struck, Potters Printing was forced to close its doors and halt operations like many other small businesses. Once it was able to reopen, Potter saw orders drastically shift from business cards and menus to funeral pamphlets and obituaries—but even these sales were not enough to keep up with their usual revenue. The grant Potter received has helped him purchase necessary equipment like printers and supplies and regain the storefront’s financial footing.

“I went through the first two rounds of the fund and won a grant the third time around,” Potter said. “I paid the machines down, bought inventory, and caught up on bills. We are not out of the woods, but the grant was a blessing to our business,” said Potter.

Another recipient, the Los Angeles Music and Art School, has been an East Los Angeles cornerstone in arts education for 75 years. Kathleen Jequinto, development and events associate for the school, said that the school creates programs for immigrant families—just like they did for those fleeing during the Jewish Diaspora more than a half century ago. The school usually serves 530 students a week but is only serving about half of that now due to the transition from in-person to online learning. Despite this challenge, Jequinto emphasized that the grant they received has helped them sustain their programs, giving them the ability to keep the 37 teaching artists in charge of creating virtual lesson plans and curriculum on payroll through at least December 2020. Jequinto says that with support from the Fund and strategic planning, the school has been able to stay open and reach more students. She encourages other organizations in similar situations to apply.

Financial assistance in a time of economic instability can make all the difference in helping diverse small businesses and non-profits like Potters Printing and Los Angeles Music and Art School keep their doors open. The last round of funding will run Oct. 26 through Oct. 30, 2020. Apply at lacovidfund.org.

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