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Texas banks partner with LiftFund to provide Unity Grants for small business

AUSTIN – Texas banks, which have been supporting customers, small businesses and communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, have announced a “Unity Grant” program to provide quick relief to minority and women-owned small businesses impacted by manmade or natural disasters.

Reflecting the work of Texas community banks, the Texas Bankers Association and its charitable arm, the Texas Bankers Foundation, have established a partnership with LiftFund, a Texas-based nonprofit organization that helps micro and small minority and women-owned businesses through access to capital, financial education and other business support services.

Through the Texas Unity Grant Program for Minority and Women-Owned Small Businesses, enterprises in the retail, service and restaurant industries with 25 employees or less and $1 million or less in gross annual revenue may be eligible to receive grants up to $25,000. The ongoing mission of the Texas Unity Grant Program is to provide rapid financial support when disaster or tragedy strikes. The immediate focus is on helping minority and women-owned small businesses quickly repair and reopen in the wake of recent property damage, fire, vandalism and other types of business disruption.

The Texas Bankers Foundation is seeding the initiative with a $26,000 donation and is encouraging banks across Texas to join the Fund and also make donations. United Texas Bank (Dallas), whose leaders inspired this partnership with their vision for assisting recently impacted small businesses in their communities, has committed $25,000 to help launch the effort.

“Disasters and disruption disproportionately impact minority and women-owned businesses, and our partnership with LiftFund is intended to make a real difference to help save these businesses,” said TBA President and CEO Chris Furlow. “These small businesses are vital in every community and our member banks want to help during these difficult times.”

“LiftFund has been working with the banking community for over 26 years,” said Janie Barrera, president and CEO of LiftFund. “We are partners in helping grow the Texas economy by assisting small businesses. Now, with this Fund, we can help small business owners overcome the struggles after disasters. We are all in this together.”

Donors and applicants can access more information at www.texasunitygrant.com.

In April, the Foundation donated $26,000 to the Feeding Texas network of 21 food banks that serve all 254 Texas counties through the Texas Banks 4 Food Banks initiative. To date, TBA member banks have contributed more than $750,000 to the food bank network and to local pantries across the state.

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