The Long Island Community Foundation awarded the Long Island Association and its partners a $42,500 grant to foster inclusive economic development. The funding will support the LIA and partnering organizations the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce and Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to develop a plan that would serve as a roadmap for implementation.
Last June, the LIA launched its Small Business Support Program, collaborating with the two partner organizations, aiming to support and advocate for the region’s diverse small businesses. With the grant the organizations will work to engage with their members throughout the year, both at quarterly joint meetings, the first this year was held at Newsday, and at roundtable discussions and individual meetings. This effort will foster dialog to allow for feedback and best practices on regional collaboration, marketing and outreach as well as navigating challenges.
The three partnering organizations will also reach out to other business-support organizations for input and participation.
“The Long Island economy will continue to grow, create jobs and be competitive with other regions if we can ensure all small businesses are fully participating, and the LIA is excited to strengthen our partnership with the LICF, LIAACC and LIHCC to support and provide resources to our small business community which is Long Island’s lifeblood,” Matt Cohen, LIA president and CEO, said in a statement.
“LIAACC is ready to roll up our sleeves to develop an action plan based upon feedback from our members about how we best support their growth, Phil Andrews, president of LIAACC, said in a statement.
“As a participant in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Community Navigator Program, we can utilize that experience to inform this plan through our relationships with local businesses founded by people of color,” he added.
“Hispanic small businesses have faced significant challenges during the pandemic and are still struggling with economic uncertainty related to inflation, hiring, supply chain issues, and other factors,” Luis Vazquez, the president of LIHCC, said in a statement.
“Hispanic-owned businesses are an important part of the U.S. economy, contributing significantly to job creation, innovation, and economic growth,” he added. “However, they have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they tend to be concentrated in industries that have been most affected by lockdowns and social distancing measures.”
The LICF grant, he said, “will help provide our underserved community with the resources they need to overcome these challenges in addition to identifying the most effective ways to provide support to have a positive impact on the wider community, by creating jobs, boosting local economies, and promoting diversity and inclusion. as we solidify our imprint on Long Island.”
“In good times and hard times, small businesses are the foundation of vibrant, resilient communities and contribute to the health and well-being of residents,” Sol-Marie Alfonso Jones, senior program officer at the LICF, said in a statement.
“The Long Island Community Foundation is proud to support the leadership of the Long Island Association, and African American and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce,” Jones added. “This innovative and inclusive partnership will promote regional investments that enhance our region’s small businesses and instigate community development and wealth generation in diverse communities.”
The LIA will engage the Strategic Pathways Group, a minority and woman-led firm specializing in diversity, equity and inclusion practices to conduct work under this grant. The team comprises subject-matter experts with over 40 years of industry experience in the public and private sectors, including Fortune 200, nonprofits, and public administration.
“We look forward to collaborating with the LIA, LICF, LIAACC, and LIHCC to build capacity, provide access, and create opportunities and connections with a goal of growth and sustainability,” Tracey Edwards, partner at Strategic Pathways Group, said in a statement.