Knight Foundation Contributes $250,000 to Help Small Businesses in Charlotte’s Historic West End Innovate Through Pandemic
Gift boosts Innovation Fund launched by Charlotte Center City Partners and Honeywell that is currently accepting Round 2 applications
CHARLOTTE – (Sept. 17, 2020): The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today pledged $250,000 to the Center City Small Business Innovation Fund to help more businesses in Charlotte’s Historic West End overcome the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement comes as the Innovation Fund is accepting applications for Round 2 to assist businesses that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The Innovation Fund – launched by Charlotte Center City Partners and the Foundation For The Carolinas after a $2 million gift from founding sponsor Honeywell, and also supported by Duke Energy and Bank of America – has already provided more than $1 million in grants to 34 small businesses. The vast majority of those businesses are owned by minorities, women or veterans. Like the first round of funding, the grants issued in Round 2 will be prioritized for small businesses in Uptown, South End, Midtown and Historic West End. Selected businesses will be able to invest in supplies, training, design, technology, equipment or infrastructure.
Knight’s support is specifically for the Historic West End and will fund grants of up to $40,000 to small businesses of 50 or fewer employees. For the purpose of this program, the Historic West End is defined as the Beatties Ford Road corridor.
“Small businesses are critical to the success of the Historic West End and the Beatties Ford Road corridor,” said Charles Thomas, director of Knight Foundation’s Charlotte program. “Knight Foundation has long been focused on supporting substantial commercial and residential investment in the Historic West End. We’re excited to partner with the Small Business Innovation Fund and the Historic West End Partners to support these local businesses, now more than ever, as they adapt and innovate during these challenging times.”
“We are so pleased to partner once again with the Knight Foundation to support the incredible entrepreneurs in the Historic West End community,” said Michael Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. “This generous investment in the Small Business Innovation Fund will enable us to deepen our impact as we work alongside the community’s leaders to position our Center City to thrive in the recovery.”
Selected applicants will outline past or planned adaptations to strengthen their business and must also detail the costs. The selected businesses must agree to share the lessons they learn so others may benefit from their experience.
“Historic West End Partners is extremely appreciative of the Knight Foundation's demonstrated understanding of how small businesses and the neighborhoods they serve collaboratively build vibrant, thriving communities,” said J’Tanya Adams, program director of Historic West End Partners. “This investment toward rebuilding the Historic West End's main street through small business innovation is another testament of the Knight Foundation’s unwavering dedication.” Historic West End Partners’ mission is to educate and inform the public about, celebrate, promote and honor the cultural and historical heritage of the community known as Historic West End.
Six small businesses in the Historic West End were awarded grants totaling more than $200,000 during the first round of funding.
Melanie Powell, owner of Poppin’ Sweets, Historic West End business owner and Innovation Fund grant recipient, said, “This has been such a crazy time for all small business owners. This grant will definitely help with equipment costs as well as ensuring this location is properly equipped with a walk up ‘To-Go’ window to serve customers who would like to take extra social distancing measures, and also to help our business moving forward.”
Full grant eligibility requirements, a list of required documentation, frequently asked questions and the Innovation Fund application are available at https://www.
Applications will be accepted until noon on Friday, September 18th.
ABOUT CHARLOTTE CENTER CITY PARTNERS
Charlotte Center City Partners envisions and activates strategies and actions that will assure Charlotte Center City is a welcoming and equitable, economically vibrant, culturally rich, and beloved place for all. For more information, visit www.charlottecentercity.org.
Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 technology company that delivers industry-specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywell.com/newsroom.
ABOUT THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.