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Mayor’s COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant Program Aids Over 1,000 Local Businesses


SAN DIEGO – Continuing his efforts to support small businesses and get San Diegans back to work, Mayor Todd Gloria announced today the impacts of his grant program today with The San Diego Foundation, which has provided $6 million to more than 1,000 San Diego small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We thoughtfully crafted this program to help economically disadvantaged businesses build back their livelihoods,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “These grants are a lifeline for many of our small businesses that have been struggling due to the residual impacts of the pandemic and the City, in collaboration with our community partners, is proud to step up during this difficult time to help support them.”  

Mayor Gloria’s “Back to Work SD” budget allocated $10 million in financial assistance to small businesses and non-profits hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and in historically underinvested communities. The San Diego Foundation provided an additional $2 million to support local nonprofit organizations and increased the total program funding to $12 million. So far, $6 million in grants has been awarded to San Diego businesses. 

“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I supported allocating over $4 million for impacted small businesses,” said City Councilmember Vivian Moreno. “Approving these funds was critical for our small businesses and their employees to stay afloat. In August of this year, I voted to provide an additional $12 million for a small business and non-profit relief fund to get San Diegans back to work. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and supporting them is vital for the survival of our local economy.” 

This month, 1,055 small businesses were awarded grants of $5,000. Businesses that had not received COVID-19 relief funding and industries most adversely impacted by the economic effects of the pandemic were prioritized during the grant allocation process. Priority consideration was also given to businesses located in the following economically disadvantaged areas: 


“The San Diego Foundation is committed to building just, equitable and resilient communities,” said Pamela Gray Payton, Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer of The San Diego Foundation. “Through partnerships like these, we can ensure that pandemic assistance goes to the San Diegans who need it most. We’re looking forward to announcing soon the recipients of our $2 million in grants for community-based organizations serving the City of San Diego.” 

Grantees will need to complete a grant agreement and provide supplemental information before receiving their funds. Outreach Partners will be reaching out to make sure awardees complete the agreement and submit the appropriate documentation to receive their grants. 

“The City of San Diego and The San Diego Foundation have demonstrated their commitment to equity and inclusion through their intentional outreach and partnership with the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce by providing grants to underserved businesses,” said Donna DeBerry, President and CEO of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce. “Through our partnership, these grants have positively impacted and enriched the lives of so many of our underserved business owners that can now recover and rebuild their American dream.” 

Prior to the pandemic, 60% of San Diegans were employed by small businesses. More than 90% of the city’s businesses have less than 100 employees. Local partners including the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, Asian Business Association of San Diego, San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center helped connect COVID relief funding to local businesses. Significant assistance and outreach to critical populations in multiple languages was provided by the International Rescue Committee

"The support provided by the City of San Diego and The San Diego Foundation is a much-needed lifeline," said Jason Paguio, President & CEO of the Asian Business Association. "Over the last several months, our team assisted with the application process including Korean, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Tagalog, Japanese and other language translation services for local and family-owned businesses who not only provide resources and services to our community but are cultural backbones worth investing in." 

Later this year, an additional $6 million of funding will be distributed to qualifying local nonprofit organizations. 

“The San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to see the increased confidence in small businesses and nonprofits which these grants have provided,” said Ricardo Villa, Chair of the San Diego Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “The collaboration in executing this assistance has created more than a recovery process, it has strengthened the fabric of our communities.  Business owners are confident that this is the first step in opening up new market opportunities which will create economic development for all San Diegans.” 

“The SBDC Network was proud to help lead the outreach and assistance for small businesses to apply for the City of San Diego Small Business Relief Fund,” said Daniel Fitzgerald, Acting Regional Director of the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center. “The process was able to be accessible and inclusive. Collaborating with community-based organizations, providing assistance in 10 languages and ensuring technology wasn’t a barrier allowed businesses most in need be able to get grants they need.” 

“I appreciate the City of San Diego for recognizing the financial needs of local small businesses during the pandemic. No matter the amount, the support really helps entrepreneurs stay afloat,” said Joshlyn Turner, Owner of The Write Juice. 




About The San Diego Foundation  

The San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region. Our strategic priorities include advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy to realize our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities. For more than 46 years, The Foundation and its donors have granted more than $1.3 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community.