NEW OLREANS (press release) – On March 16, the New Orleans Business Alliance
(NOLABA) became the first local entity to set up a direct relief effort to counteract the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with the launch of its Gig Economy Relief Fund. NOLABA committed $100,000 to establish the fund, with the goal of reaching $500K in total donations from the local business community and philanthropy. As of today (June 12), the relief fund has surpassed $890,00 — nearly doubling the initial fundraising goal — which has allowed NOLABA to issue over 1000 grants to local gig workers.
NOLABA thanks the people of New Orleans, who through individual donations contributed over $60,000 to the fund, as well as the following major funders for their support:
- Baptist Community Ministries
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
- Capital One
- Gayle Benson Community Fund
- Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Co.
- JPMorgan Chase Foundation
- Kresge Foundation
- Surdna Foundation
- W.K. Kellogg Foundation
For more information on the Gig Economy Relief Fund, watch a recap video here
In addition to the Gig Economy Relief Fund, NOLABA developed and launched several initiatives to provide much-needed support during COVID-19, including direct relief grants for gig workers, bridge loans for small businesses, and paid shift-work for hospitality employees who have been furloughed or laid off.
Small Business Support: In April, the organization launched a program in partnership with a private, local corporate entity to help small businesses pay critical expenses while awaiting an EIDL from the SBA or PPP loan from their 7(a) lenders. In addition to these direct relief efforts, NOLABA received $500,000 in funding from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to aid an established consortium of local CDFIs in supporting small businesses owned by people of color.
Hospitality Worker Support: In May, NOLABA and partners, including the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Shiftsmart, Second Harvest, and Cafe Reconcile, launched Get Shift Done for NOLA, an initiative to coordinate, schedule, and pay adversely affected hospitality workers and opportunity youth for shifts at Second Harvest Food Bank and other local entities providing hunger relief. Through Get Shift Done for NOLA, workers left jobless by COVID-19 receive $12/hour filling critical roles to provide meals for the ill, homeless, and families. Many of these roles, which were previously filled by volunteers, now provide income-generating opportunities for critical members of our community.
In total, NOLABA generated approximately $1.3 million in funds over a six-week period, all of which are being used to provide direct relief to New Orleanians experiencing hardships due to the pandemic.
“I am immensely grateful to the team at NOLABA and all of our partners for the countless hours they’ve committed to these efforts, and equally so to the people of this city who in times of hardship, never cease to amaze us in their ability to come together to help one another,” said NOLABA President & CEO Quentin Messer, Jr. “This crisis is unlike any we’ve ever known, and New Orleans has faced significant hardships. While this period has brought much darkness, it has also shed great light on the strength, resilience and determination of our community. Admittedly, these are quite trying times, but slowly yet surely, we will continue to rise and match the challenges of this moment.”