Houston Equity Fund prepares for Aug. 9 launch
Thomas Jones, Houston Equity Fund president. Photo by Jimmie Aggison.

In the aftermath of the heinous killing of George Floyd, a group of Houstonians banned together to establish the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity (Houston Equity Fund) to create long-term change in Houston’s minority community from a grassroots level.

Houston Mayor and honorary chair Sylvester Turner shared what motivated his involvement with the fund.

“The genesis happened after the death of George Floyd,” said Turner. “And there was a whole lot of talk about defunding police, but I was hearing people saying we need to invest in communities that have been underserved and under-resourced for decades.”

Houston Equity Fund President Thomas Jones added a few comments regarding his vision for the fund for the next three years.

“We are hoping that we are going to be a part of an investment in the Black community from a business standpoint, helping the businesses that are established with sustainability, and helping the businesses getting started get started and be successful,” said Jones.

The Fund made significant strides with a $20 million contribution from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund.

Wells Fargo Vice President of Social Impact & Sustainability Arcy Munoz reflected on why they contributed the funds to Houston. 

“The Open for Business Fund is a part of a roughly $420 million small business recovery effort to support diverse small businesses that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Munoz. “So, with the $20 million grant here in Houston we hope that those that were affected by the pandemic will have the funds to get tangible assets to really quickly recover.”

The purpose of the grant is to help non-profits and small businesses own more of their assets such as property, equipment and technology.  Eligible candidates will receive $10,000 to $65,000 for tangible assets.  It is recommended that businesses that apply work towards one of the four pillars of the fund which are Social and Racial Justice, Economic Development, Youth Empowerment and Education, and Community Building.

Enrollment for the grants opens on August 9 at 9a.m. and closes August 23 at 11:59p.m. Visit https://www.houstonequityfund.com for more information.