Historically underinvested communities across urban and rural America are facing enormous economic challenges from the fallout of Covid-19. Small businesses, many of which operate on a cash basis, are struggling to stay afloat and keep employees on the payroll. Nonprofit organizations face skyrocketing demand from residents seeking help with housing, food access and unemployment benefits, and at the same time are having to pivot their operations to deliver services remotely.
The digital divide has never been as glaringly apparent—or critical—as it is now, with so many households, especially in rural areas, lacking the connectivity and technology that enables parents to work from home and students to do their school work remotely. Ordering household supplies, consulting with doctors, connecting with friends and relatives—all the online connections we now rely on for daily living—are out of reach.
Thanks to a $5 million grant from Truist, LISC will address the evolving needs of small businesses, nonprofit organizations and families impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the related economic downturn. This partnership will help hundreds of businesses and nonprofits sustain operations as well as bridge the digital divide that prevents millions of people from accessing quality job and educational opportunities. These efforts will promote sustained relief and recovery in urban and rural communities across America.
The LISC-Truist partnership will target urban and rural communities in the following 16 states and districts:
For the small business support, priority will be given to women- and minority-owned businesses, which often lack access to flexible, affordable capital. At least 60% of the grants will support enterprises in rural communities.
For technology and broadband access, strong emphasis will be placed on supporting households and nonprofit organizations located in rural counties with persistent poverty.