Disasters and disruptions disproportionately impact minority and women-owned small businesses. To amplify the role Texas banks play in helping small businesses reopen and recover after man-made or natural disasters, the Texas Bankers Association has partnered with LiftFund — a Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps very small minority and women-owned businesses through microloans, training and other support services — to create a small business disaster relief program. Through the program, “Texas Unity Grants” will provide quick relief when it’s needed most.
The ongoing mission of the Texas Unity Grant Program is to provide rapid financial support when disaster or tragedy strikes. But the initial focus of the program is assisting small businesses forced to close or halt business operations due to recent property damage, fire, vandalism and other types of business disruption. Unity grants will provide financial support up to $25,000 to eligible minority and women-owned businesses for damaged facility restoration, temporary business relocation expenses, replacement and/or repair of damaged equipment and inventory, and assistance with other items related to rebuilding the business.
The Texas Bankers Association and its charitable arm, the Texas Bankers Foundation, have stepped up on behalf of Texas banks. The Foundation board of directors, composed of community bankers from across the state, has approved a contribution of $26,000 to help launch this initiative. United Texas Bank, whose leaders inspired this partnership with their vision for assisting impacted small businesses in their communities, also has committed $25,000 to the campaign.
Time is of the essence to help these small businesses. We encourage donations prior to July 31 so funds can be disbursed. In addition to being a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, LiftFund is a designated community development financial institution (CDFI); donations will qualify for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) credit.