On May 30, Cathy’s Kitchen located at 250 S. Florissant in Ferguson was vandalized during protests. Several community members reached out to Kristian Blackmon, a local activist, asking if there was a funding effort in place for Cathy’s Kitchen. Blackmon did not see any so she started a GoFundMe effort for small, local black-owned businesses impacted by social unrest or the pandemic. Blackmon is also working with Rika Tyler, another local activist, on this effort.
Originally, Blackmon was planning to raise $10,000, with half of the funds going towards Cathy’s Kitchen. Blackmon put up the GoFundMe appeal on Sunday morning. By Tuesday night, the funds had surpassed $10,000.
“I was super humbled, grateful, and thankful that folks just showed up in that way,” said Blackmon.
She decided to raise the goal to $20,000, and if that goal is reached Blackmon will continue to raise money, and $5,000 will still be sent to Cathy’s Kitchen. Blackmon encourages local, black-owned businesses to reach out to her and her team so they can support them. It is a case-by-case process.
“These relief funds need to stay in place,” said Blackmon. “With the pandemic, a lot of small businesses, particularly black-owned businesses, didn’t get a lot of relief from the government.”
While the number of minority-owned businesses nationwide sits at approximately $11.1 million, these businesses still struggle to receive business loans, as opposed to their white counterparts. The most common reason why minority-owned businesses struggle is lower net worth. This is a particularly prevalent issues for Latinos and African Americans.
“Black entrepreneurs use substantially less startup capital than white entrepreneurs — the average level of startup capital among black entrepreneurs is $35,205 compared with $106,720 for white entrepreneurs,” according to “Black and White: Access to Capital among Minority-Owned Startups,” a 2016 report by Robert Fairlie from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Alicia Robb from the Kauffman Foundation and the University of California, Berkeley, and David T. Robinson from Fuqua School of Business, Duke University and the National Bureau of Economic Research.
With the pandemic still present and the rise in social unrest, it is more important now than ever to support these local black owned businesses, Blackmon said. She also stressed that the funds raised will be going to businesses that give back to their community.
“Support black people,” Blackmon said. “Support the black community. Support black owned businesses. We don’t know how long social unrest and the pandemic will go on for. It’s really important that the community is able to show up and support each other.”
To view the GoFundMe, visit https://tinyurl.com/Fund-Black-Business.