The pandemic has hit the entire economy hard, but Black-owned businesses have been hit hardest. Black-owned businesses have been twice as likely to close during the pandemic, yet they have also received less aid from the federal government. The ten poorest congressional districts received $13.3 billion less in PPP loans than the ten wealthiest districts. The poorest districts were disproportionately Black, contributing to the uneven outcomes.
Leaders like Facebook and Robert F. Smith — Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners — have worked to combat these inequities. Facebook recently announced a $40 million fund to help small Black-owned businesses stay operational during the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. The company additionally created tools for Black-owned businesses to self-designate their Facebook pages as being Black-owned to more easily identify them in searches.
Smith led efforts to help Black-owned businesses in the midst of the pandemic. Recognizing that they weren’t receiving equal funding from the Cares Act, he worked with national leaders and lawmakers to ensure that thousands of Black-owned businesses secured pandemic relief. Smith called for long-term reforms to even the playing field and help Black-owned businesses increase their access to capital. Further recognizing the systemic racial disparities in the corporate world, he called on corporations to use 2% of their annual net income over the next decade to empower communities of color that have historically been discriminated against and left behind.
Initiatives such as the fund announced by Facebook are crucial first steps to addressing the racial disparities in our country, and Smith is leading the way towards continued meaningful action to make a difference.