Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, employing nearly half of the private sector workforce. They are also one of the last remaining opportunities for building wealth, particularly for entrepreneurs of color who often face additional barriers because of the effects of systemic inequality and racism. However, the COVID-19 pandemic not only caused thousands of small businesses to close across America but also damaged the ecosystem which helps fuel their ability to survive and thrive. While the initial Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) left out the most vulnerable small businesses, many are hoping the newly passed PPP will truly help entrepreneurs of color survive beyond the pandemic. Many major questions still remain such as:

  • What else must be done to address the historic systemic and structural issues which have impacted entrepreneurs of color’s ability to build wealth?
  • How can we build back a better and stronger ecosystem that supports the longer term health of small businesses owned by POC?
  • What are the innovative and impactful ways philanthropy can support the small businesses beyond direct grant-making?

Watch to hear what we have learned about the effects of specific investments and strategies to support entrepreneurs of color and what more still needs to be done to support their longer-term financial health and stability and ultimately build lasting wealth.


Tommy Smith, Manager, Economic Impact Impact Spending, Kaiser Permanente
Jeanique Riche-Druses, Vice President in Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Steve Hall, Senior Director Economic Development Lending & Small Business, LISC


Kaiser Permanente, Supplier Diversity
African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs


Presented in partnership with Philanthropy New York.

Thank you to our COVID-19 Learning Series sponsors: