For Immediate Release: July 29, 2021
Hispanic Federation Working with Google To Empower Small Businesses and Artists in Washington Heights
$250K Google.org grant supports emergency relief and digital skills trainings to grow the cultural and economic center of the New York neighborhood
NEW YORK — Hispanic Federation (HF) today launched the Northern Manhattan Business Assistance Program, funded by Google.org, Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA) and the Miranda Family Fund, to drive recovery, spur innovation, and raise the profile of artists and small businesses in Washington Heights. As part of this program, Hispanic Federation is announcing $250,000 in emergency cash assistance to 19 organizations and artists. The program also provides digital skills training to empower local restaurants, coffeeshops, bookstores, and artists, and improve their entrepreneurial capabilities.
The new program seeks to support and build the capacity of businesses and nonprofit organizations in Washington Heights and Inwood. The neighborhood is home to immigrant entrepreneurs, artists of color, and small business owners. Communities of color like this one have been traditionally under-resourced, and during the pandemic experienced deep economic strain as federal relief has been largely out of reach.
“Small businesses and artists from Washington Heights and Inwood have been some of our most fierce hometown heroes, fighting to keep their doors open, ensure our communities are fed, and preserve our culture in the face of insurmountable challenges. We stand in solidarity with the struggles of this diverse cultural hub, and we are proud to infuse the community with the resources and tools to recover and thrive,” said Frankie Miranda, President and CEO of the Hispanic Federation.
“Every person and every business in this community counts,” said philanthropic leader Luis A. Miranda, Jr. “I have visited these businesses with my kids, and continue to with my grandkids, because these entrepreneurs, artists, and business owners provide more than just a service: they hold stories and memories from the past, and they also shape the future of our community.”
“I grew up in this neighborhood - shopping at the bodegas, eating at the local restaurants and having close relationships with the business owners,” said Lin-Manuel Miranda, a Washington Heights native and creator of In the Heights. “This community is what made me who I am, which is why it is personally so important we help this neighborhood recover and persevere.”
The Hispanic Federation is the nation’s premier Latino non-profit providing on-the-ground direct assistance to Latino communities and working alongside community leaders to address the root causes of inequality. Throughout the pandemic, the organization worked tirelessly to deliver immediate relief and advocate for Latinos across the country, and this is the latest effort.
In selecting grantees for the Northern Manhattan Business Assistance Program, Hispanic Federation prioritized Latino and Afro-Latino owned businesses in need of a critical lifeline and funding to improve technology and services, expand operations, and build business capacity. The 19 grantees can also receive Grow with Google digital training to enhance their online presence.
Beyond the core grantees, the Hispanic Federation has also reached out to small businesses to offer digital skills training led by Grow with Google Digital Coaches. Hispanic Federation seeks to provide over 60 businesses with hands-on coaching, customizable marketing kits and more. These resources will help small businesses connect with customers, manage business needs, and make the most of digital tools.
“Digital proficiency has even more resonance now given the recent shifts in the economy, many of which are likely here to stay—from applying for a loan, to meeting clients virtually, to providing trustworthy information and fostering innovation. Small business owners and creatives in this iconic neighborhood need to be meaningfully integrated in the digital and information economy as we work to build a digital economy that is within reach for all communities,” said Hector Mujica, Economic Opportunity Lead, Americas, at Google.org.
The Northern Manhattan Business Assistance Program will speed up the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis with immediate emergency cash assistance to 19 small business and nonprofit organizations. This relief, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, is especially timely for members of the arts community who lost jobs and need basic rental assistance, as well as businesses that struggled to benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) due to a complex and bureaucratic application process.
In addition to improving services, expanding operations, and building business capacity, Hispanic Federation encourages patrons from Northern Manhattan to use their spending power in the local community and leverage digital tools, like Google reviews, to provide a signal boost to Latino-owned small businesses.
Grantee Quotes “For us, the money was good, but seeing the larger impact directly to my community was something else," said Juan De Jesus of Santo Domingo Grocery. "Since my father [who owned the Bodega] passed this winter, it made it even more special; it represents all of his hard work and effort and the sacrifice our parents went through to put us on a good path. I get goose bumps. This opportunity is building on everything my father did his whole life for me and my sister.” "Supporting the arts benefits our society as a whole. Art is a universal language that creates bridges between communities, cultures and languages,” said local artist Andrea Arroyo. “I use art as a tool for social change, and for me, creating beauty and joy is revolutionary.”