New P&G-LISC Partnership Offers MWBE Recovery Grants 

Black man reading newspaper
Photo by: Elihah O'Donnell

Small businesses in communities reeling from the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for up to $10,000 in relief and recovery grants under a partnership between Procter & Gamble and its Secret Deodorant brand and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), one of the country’s largest nonprofit community development financial institutions.

According to LISC, P&G and Secret awarded it $1.2 million “to provide critical relief and resiliency-building support to enterprises in the underinvested places hardest hit by the virus and the subsequent shutdown to stem its spread.”

Created in 1979 by Ford Foundation executives, LISC receives funding from banks, corporations such as P&G, foundations, and government agencies. It uses those funds to provide loans, grants, and equity, as well as technical and management assistance to a nationwide network of community-based partners for investments in housing, businesses, jobs, education, safety and health. Its affiliates include the National Equity Fund, the largest national syndicator of Low Income Housing Tax Credits; the New Markets Support Company, a national syndicator of New Markets Tax Credits; and immito LLC, which specializes in SBA lending to businesses not normally eligible for conventional financing.

In a letter to community partners, Valerie White, executive director of LISC’s New York City arm, noted that the P&G-LISC partnership would prioritize the needs of women- and minority-owned beauty salons and barbershops, childcare centers, and other family-owned ventures, with the Secret brand’s contribution specifically assisting Black female entrepreneurs.

“This is an opportunity to bring much needed capital to entrepreneurs who have been hardest hit by the pandemic, and who received the least federal stimulus assistance,” said White, a 2009 Network Journal “25 Influential Black Women in Business” honoree, who took the helm of LISC NYC in April.    

She added, “New York is facing unprecedented pressures that are hitting vulnerable communities and populations especially hard,” White said of the COVID-19 crisis. “It will take the creativity and capital of organizations like LISC to make sure underserved communities are not left behind as recovery efforts move forward. I am eager to connect with LISC’s partners in New York and to tackle the social dichotomies of economic inequality.”

Prior to joining LISC, White was executive vice president at Empire State Development and executive director of the agency’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development. She previously served as a managing director at Standard & Poors Global Ratings (S&P), drawing on her experience in public finance and municipal structured securities to lead new analytical methodologies for nonprofit and economic development organizations. She also worked at the New York City Housing Authority to advance several major revitalization projects.