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The Bronx Community Foundation and IFEL Create Bronx Small Business Initiative

The Institute For Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) announced today the launch of the Bronx Small Businesses Need Us initiative to assist local small businesses impacted by COVID-19 that are struggling to survive. This initiative is made possible by support provided by The Bronx Community Foundation.

“The majority of small businesses are ill-equipped to sustain through a crisis the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic. Government aid and corporate-funded grants alone are not enough,” says IFEL CEO Jill Johnson. “Small business owners need hands-on support to address the business challenges they are facing. The volunteers we are bringing to the table provide the lifeline that they need to keep breathing. IFEL is extremely grateful to the Bronx Community Foundation for making these resources available to Bronx-based businesses.”

The Bronx Small Businesses Need Us initiative will pair small business owners with seasoned business professionals organized into cross-functional teams to help them address their most pressing issues. Volunteers have a broad range of expertise including accounting, human resources, public relations, marketing, and social media, operations, sales strategy, business planning, and more. There is no cost to the business for these resources.

"The pandemic laid bare some unacceptable truths about the systemic and institutional barriers that exist for black and brown business owners and the lack of support by the government to provide the resources our small businesses need to survive and thrive in The Bronx,” said Derrick Lewis, Co-Founder of The Bronx Community Foundation. “Our focus is to not only provide grants that our businesses need to remain open and resilient. We are also working to make sure our Bronx-based small businesses and entrepreneurs come out the other side of this crisis stronger and ready to grow again.”

The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership will be working with Bronx organizations to augment their capacity to provide assistance to the businesses in their respective networks. For more information on the Bronx, Small Businesses Need Us initiative, or to apply as a business or as a volunteer, visit


The Bronx Community Foundation (Bx.C.F.) is the first and only community foundation in The Bronx, solely dedicated to delivering resources to the diverse, vibrant, and hard-working people of the borough. The foundation's focus is on meeting the shared outcomes of increasing economic security, advancing inclusivity and sustainability, advocating for social, economic, environmental, and racial justice, increasing access to quality education, healthcare, strengthening community resiliency and vitality, accelerating innovation, and supporting generational change throughout. The Bx.C.F. takes a place-based strategic approach toward philanthropy. To make significant progress, the foundation works collaboratively with the community to help develop and advance a community-wide common agenda toward solving challenges. The Bronx Community Relief Effort, the foundation COVID-19 program, supports effective, on-the-ground operations that are focused on meeting the most essential needs of The Bronx community. This includes filling gaps in public financing and broader grant programs. For more information, visit and


Founded in 2002, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) is an independent, not‐for‐profit organization that supports economic development through entrepreneurship. We are experts in creating and implementing small business programming in support of larger economic development objectives. Our mission is to eradicate the systemic barriers that prevent entrepreneurs of color from being able to access the knowledge, networks, and capital required for business success. Visit us at


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