CalAsian Receives $500,000 grant to assist minority-owned businesses

California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce CEO Pat Fong Kushida.
California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce CEO Pat Fong Kushida.

source: Sacramento Business Journal

By Renata Geraldo  –  Data Reporter, Sacramento Business Journal

Jul 27, 2021

The Sacramento-based California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce said it received a $500,000 grant from the Citi Foundation as part of $25 million the foundation is distributing to nonprofits that assist minority-owned businesses.

CalAsian was one of 50 nonprofits nationwide to receive the grant.

CalAsian said in a news release that it will concentrate on using the funds to help minority business enterprises in low- to moderate-income communities in the Sacramento and Central Valley areas which have been “disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, while already enduring cultural and language barriers, difficulty accessing capital and historic barriers in government and commercial systems.”

The funds are unrestricted, meaning the nonprofits may use them to support minority-owned businesses in the way they see fit, according to the Citi Foundation.

“California’s high concentration of MBEs, combined with the obstacles to economic growth that were exacerbated by the pandemic, require a culturally competent organization that maintains technical skills and access to commercial and public supply chains that will connect, grow and scale MBEs,” CalAsian Chamber CEO Pat Fong Kushida said in the release.

CalAsian’s initiatives to help its members through the pandemic included CalAsian’s CARES Act Business Center, which provided 2,500 businesses with technical assistance for financial programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program. It resulted in $4.6 million in access to capital and loan forgiveness, according to the release.

According to the Business Journal’s review of 59,094 PPP loans approved in the Sacramento area, which includes El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, 36.3% went to low- and moderate-income businesses, while 63.7% of loans went to businesses not qualified as low- or moderate-income.

Over 76% of businesses that applied for PPP loans chose not to provide information about their race, but 7,007 loans were approved for white-owned businesses, 3,135 were approved for Black-owned businesses and 3,023 were approved for Asian-owned businesses. The SBA did not consider Hispanics as a racial category.