The food delivery giant Grubhub and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) are poised to provide some relief to LGBTQ-owned and ally businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On September 22, the groups announced that applications are now open for the NGLCC/Grubhub Community Impact Grant Program, an initiative offering $2 million in funding to LGBTQ-owned businesses and eateries that support the queer and trans community. To be eligible, bars, cafes, and restaurants must serve food and prove they are queer-owned or allied and experienced economic hardship due to COVID-19. NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson said he hopes the funds help cash-strapped owners get back on their feet.
“We often say at NGLCC that ‘If you can buy it, an LGBTQ+-owned business can supply it.’ That is especially true of the LGBTQ+-owned restaurants across America who kept our communities and first responders fed throughout the pandemic,” Nelson said in a written statement. “America’s 1.4 million LGBTQ+-owned business owners have shown incredible resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now, in turn, we can help them recover stronger than ever.”
Kevin Kearns, senior vice president of restaurants at Grubhub, underscored that LGBTQ-owned and allied businesses are “often the pillars of their communities” and demonstrated “incredible strength” despite economic loss during the pandemic. As businesses reopen, he added that it’s vital to lend support to queer businesses.
Awardees can expect grant funds ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, according to the press release. In an effort to support marginalized business owners, Grubhub and the NGLCC are allocating 30 percent of the grant funds to establishments owned by people of color and the trans/gender non-conforming community.
Several LGBTQ spots in New York City did not survive the pandemic. The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop closed its first location in the East Village earlier this year, and Pyramid Club shuttered. Last year, Therapy, an LGBTQ bar in Hell’s Kitchen, also closed for good.
The NGLCC and its partners will review applications after October 12. In November, some of the program’s top winners will receive their award at the NGLCC Back To Business (B2B) Summit in Hollywood, Florida.