LA County Awards $46 Million in CARES Act Funding to more than 1,400 Small Businesses in Economically Disadvantaged Communities

Critical funding helped to save an estimated 5,700 jobs and $99.5 million in retained revenue

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the County of Los Angeles announced that $46.2 million of federal CARES Act funding has been distributed to more than 1,400 community-based businesses to help retain or hire employees, implement COVID-19-related safety measures, and comply with local health orders. At the direction of the Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles County Department of Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services (WDACS), along with REDF, a venture philanthropy focused on building the employment social enterprise sector, partnered to provide these CARES Act funds to small businesses, social enterprises, B corporations, non-profits, and Community Business Enterprises (CBEs) located in economically disadvantaged communities throughout Los Angeles County.

“Small local businesses and their employees are dealing with profound uncertainty in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a shuttered economy,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, and Supervisor to the First District. “These businesses anchor our families, contribute to the historical identity to our communities, and invigorate development in every corner of our County. Many have been directly impacted by the economic fallout and have also struggled to gain equal access under federal aid efforts. While we were successful in supporting many small businesses in disadvantaged communities, advocacy around further federal relief is critical in order to alleviate the economic inequalities this sector continues to be confronted with.”

“This funding is critical for small businesses and organizations throughout LA County that have been balancing following COVID-19 guidelines to protect the health of our communities while fighting to keep people employed and their doors open,” said Supervisor Holly Mitchell. “I am thrilled that the LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services has been able to expand the reach and impact of the CARES Act. This work cannot be done without Federal funding. We know that $46 million must not be viewed as the ceiling but instead as part of an on-going commitment to protecting local government services, small businesses and non-profits that are the lifelines of our communities.”

“This very welcome announcement demonstrates the County’s ongoing commitment to responsibly helping small businesses during the pandemic,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “My thanks go to the many businesses struggling in my district and across the County. We will continue to push to achieve greater help across the board.”

“Through no fault of their own, these small business owners have been devastated,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “I hope that through these grants we can shore up these businesses, preserve what these small businesses owners have worked so hard to build, and save jobs in our communities.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of our County,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “This was an important effort by the Board of Supervisors to make these grants available to help small businesses get through these difficult times.” 

“LA County businesses are struggling, but because of the leadership of the Board of Supervisors, we were able to help thousands of small businesses,” said Otto Solórzano, Acting Director of WDACS. “For many, this funding was the difference between staying in business or shutting down. We were able to support more than 1,400 small businesses, with a special focus on those with a social mission. This money went where it could do the most good.”

The businesses that received funding represent a wide variety of products and services, from restaurants to education and childcare to retail. 

  • More than 1,400 small businesses and non-profit organizations were awarded funding, out of more than 2,400 total applicants. This is a 60% acceptance rate.
  • 34% of funding went to businesses or non-profit organizations led by people of color
  • A total of $46.2 million was awarded to businesses and non-profit organizations throughout all five Supervisorial Districts in Los Angeles County, helping to avert more than 5,700 layoffs (estimated)
    • $33.3 million was awarded to small businesses
    • $12.7 million was awarded to social enterprises, B-Corps, and CBEs

“This grant allowed us to deliver meals and groceries to hundreds of seniors, adults with underlying health conditions, and families who have tested positive for COVID,” said Becky Teter, Executive Minister of 5,000 Pies. “This grant has been a blessing for us, not only to keep operating and our workers employed, but to also care for those in need. Amidst worldwide struggle against this virus, being able to continue making food with love has provided joy to many in our community.”

“We worked hard to transparently and equitably support businesses during the application process,” said Greg Ericksen, Associate Director, Regional Partnerships for REDF. “This included establishing a County hotline with live staff members to help navigate the application process and requirements, recorded training videos, hosting an educational webinar for potential applicants, and creating a dedicated webpage with the resources and information needed to apply.” 

WDACS, in partnership with REDF, established three grant opportunities to provide economic recovery support to small businesses that have been financially impacted by COVID-19, and their employees. Funding was granted for the following three categories:

  • Pandemic Relief Funds (Up to $5,000) to help businesses offset costs related to compliance with local health orders and recommended safety measures.
  • General Employer Assistance Grants (Up to $30,000) to help support all Los Angeles County businesses impacted by COVID-19 for a variety of eligible uses.
  • Social Impact Grant Funds (Up to $60,000) to help Social Enterprises and Social Community Business Enterprises (CBEs), which includes designations for Woman Business Enterprises (WBE), Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), or a certified B Corporation.

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Contact: Michael Kapp, Director of Public Affairs
mkapp@wdacs.lacounty.gov 



Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging & Community Services
Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging & Community Services
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