NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Citizens and LISC NYC today announced a partnership with Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to launch “Citizens Chinatown Renewal Fund,” a $350,000 grant program focused on small businesses in Chinatown.
“Banks are playing a critical role in helping rebuild the neighborhoods of New York, and we are deeply committed to addressing pressing needs so that we can do our part for those we serve,” said Bruce Van Saun, Chairman and CEO, Citizens Financial Group. “We chose Chinatown for this initiative because of the disproportionate and significant impact of the pandemic on its residents. As we continue to expand our New York presence we look forward to finding additional ways to empower individuals and businesses across the city.”
The program is the largest corporate grant in recent years for Chinatown and continues Citizens’ commitment to fostering neighborhood resiliency and economic development in the wake of the devastating impact of COVID-19, and building support tailored to unique needs of every resident.
A 2021 LISC NYC survey of more than 130 minority-owned small businesses found that these vital businesses lost nearly one-third of their workforce at the height of the pandemic and that 4 in 10 of the minority-owned businesses surveyed did not receive PPP assistance. Even before the pandemic, the average minority-owned business in New York City generated only 45 percent of the revenue of white-owned firms; this directly translated to a smaller financial cushion to navigate the crisis.
The Citizens Chinatown Renewal Fund will directly meet the need for targeted technical assistance and grant funding for minority-owned small businesses, as well as support long-term systemic change with business development organizations.
- Through grant funding, intensive capacity-building support from LISC NYC and peer learning opportunities, AAFE will be able to deepen its impact in Chinatown, providing crucial support to small businesses.
- 100 small businesses will receive place-based, culturally responsive support and in-depth technical assistance from AAFE in partnership with Renaissance EDC.
- Twenty-two (22) minority-owned small businesses will receive direct grants of $10,000 to help strengthen and sustain their businesses.
Grants administered by LISC NYC and AAFE will be distributed through a lottery to eligible businesses, providing equitable access to all levels of language and technology capabilities. More information can be found here.
“While the COVID-induced economic crisis impacted every community across the five boroughs, it was minority and underserved neighborhoods that felt the sting of the crisis and its aftershock the most. Chinatown was no exception, as many of its longtime businesses faced unprecedented uncertainty and deep financial strain,” said Valerie White, senior executive director of LISC NYC. “We’re excited to partner with Citizens, Asian Americans for Equality, and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation to administer grant funding to nearly two dozen businesses in Chinatown to help ensure that the future of one of New York City’s most vibrant, resilient, and storied neighborhoods is just as bright as its past.”
“All of us at AAFE and Renaissance want to thank Citizens for this generous and meaningful investment in the Chinatown community,” said Thomas Yu, co-executive director of Asian Americans for Equality. “Renaissance was the first organization to launch an emergency loan fund in the early days of Covid. Chinatown felt the impacts of the pandemic earlier than most other New York City neighborhoods, and the community is continuing to face daunting challenges today. This grant program and Citizens’ support of the Chinatown Night Market will make a huge positive difference in our recovery.”
In addition to the small business investment, Citizens is the sole corporate sponsor of the Chinatown Night Market, presented by Think!Chinatown through the rest of 2022. Citizens’ support is a gift to the neighborhood and another way to help small businesses in the community. This will enable Think!Chinatown to expand the market and to engage with more vendors by offsetting registration fees for those small businesses to participate.
“There has been a lot of fear in our community about coming out, especially at night, even in our own neighborhood and using our own public spaces,” said Yin Kong, director and co-founder of Think!Chinatown. “Community celebrations like the Chinatown Night Market are important for healing, especially after these past couple years. We need spaces where we can be together.”
For more information on Citizens’ entry in to the New York metro area, please visit this link.
About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $192.1 billion in assets as of March 31, 2022. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a full-service customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,300 ATMs and approximately 1,200 branches in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers a broad complement of financial products and solutions, including lending and leasing, deposit and treasury management services, foreign exchange, interest rate and commodity risk management solutions, as well as loan syndication, corporate finance, merger and acquisition, and debt and equity capital markets capabilities. More information is available at www.citizensbank.com or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
About LISC NYC
LISC NYC is the flagship New York City office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). LISC NYC supports local partners whose services and programs aim to create a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable New York City. Since 1980, LISC NYC has invested over $3.1 billion and leveraged an additional $7.6 billion in support of low-income communities. LISC NYC’s investment strategy is guided by a belief that the time has come to forge a future for New York City that eradicates the racial wealth gap for good, protects affordable housing, and builds pathways of meaningful economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.
Chinatown-based AAFE advances racial, social and economic justice for Asian Americans and other systematically disadvantaged groups. AAFE and its affiliate Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, are nationally recognized as an innovative affordable housing developer and supports immigrant entrepreneurs, offering low-interest loans and training programs. AAFE provides an array of multilingual counseling and educational programs in support of low-income tenants and small businesses.