The city of Burlington is giving $180,000 to small businesses and nonprofits owned by people of color.
“They really want to see small business thrive. They want to see someone like me thrive for sure,” says Mujib Khaliq, the owner of North Country Kettlebells in Burlington.
Khaliq is one of 29 recipients of the city’s first-ever BIPOC small business and nonprofit relief grant program. The program is meant to help small businesses owned by people of color during the pandemic.
As a personal trainer, Khaliq says the pandemic has been tough on his bottom line, “In really every way that you can imagine, COVID has affected and shifted my focus with business,” he says.
“The feedback that we have gotten from recipients of the grants has been very powerful,” says Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.
Burlington is awarding grants between $2,000 and $7,000 to each of the businesses in an effort to help promote racial equality, “BIPOC individuals have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic in so many ways,” says Weinberger.
The city contributed $50,000 from its racial trust fund.
The rest of the money was donated by Burton, Ben & Jerrys, VSECU, Vermont Gas, The preservation trust of Vermont and Seventh Generation, “We have begun to understand more and more deeply the connections between systemic racism and human health and we feel deep responsibility to address those issues to really further our commitment to human health for all,” says Ashley Orgain, with Seventh Generation.
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