VT PoC BIPOC Relief Fund

The Purpose of Our Relief Fund

The Vermont Professionals of Color Network (VT PoC) is dedicated to supporting the success of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), also known as the Global Majority, through networking, education, and advocacy. 

This inaugural relief fund was established to support BIPOC small businesses and community members following the 2023 VT Flood and will remain active as a integral part of our network.

photo credit: Weiwei Wang, VT PoC Co-Founder & Director of Operations

The Story

Vermont has experienced historic flooding and continues to cause damage to BIPOC businesses and community members. The damages are catastrophic and include loss of equipment, homes, internet service, cars, and general grief.

Some of these businesses are Vermont staples, having been around for over 20+ years. Others are new to the community and have just begun their journey as small business owners. An emerging concern is the lack of unrestricted funds that do not require repayment. Existing resources, such as loans, are not realistic for many BIPOC businesses for reasons such high-interest rates, the ongoing debt crisis, and more. Here is what we know, based on data collected jointly by the Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation and VT Professionals of Color Network:

  • Approximately 401 businesses in the Central Vermont region suffered flood damage. We are actively reaching out to community members in other regions to understand damages.
  • Of the 401 businesses, 20% are owned by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community members.
  • None of the impacted BIPOC businesses have flood insurance.
  • Regarding financial support for small businesses, the main avenue is through government loans ranging from 4-8% interest rates. New resources have recently developed, including a 20 million grant, yet our BIPOC business community will still be in critical need.
  • The current estimated loss by a business owner is approximately $189,000. Most businesses are small and family-owned.
  • Regarding BIPOC community members, we are receiving reports of continued negative impact such as being forcibly evicted from their homes and loss of jobs. These same community members do not have access to the same resources.

Beyond our organization, there are limited broader efforts to support the BIPOC community as a whole. This makes it crucial to create these opportunities for funding. 

The Ask

VT PoC is tapping the broader community to donate to the BIPOC Relief Fund. All proceeds will be directed to BIPOC community members and businesses in need. Your support can make a meaningful difference during these challenging times.

How will the funds be used?

At this time, BIPOC small business owners and community members who have been impacted by the 2023 VT Flood will receive funds. We consider small business owners to be:

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Owners of a micro-business
  • Owners of brick and mortars
  • Individuals with both formal / legally and informally established businesses
  • Individuals with side hustles

Who should apply?

In alignment with our organization’s mission to advance the prosperity of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) small business owners and community members, self-identified individuals of this group are eligible to apply.

Additional funds can be found here.

How to apply?

Please use the following document to apply. You will need:

  • Full Name
  • Address, Phone Number, Email
  • W9*
  • Business Name (if applicable)
  • Narrative: What are your greatest needs following 2023 VT Flood?
  • Narrative: How will the funds be used?

When will funds be distributed?

Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis and is conditional on remaining funds. The next review will occur at the end of January 2024. 

How Can you support?

Monetary Contribution: Online Portal

If you can offer monetary contribution via online portal, use the following website:

https://givebutter.com/Mj3Dwy

Monetary Contribution: Check

If you can offer monetary contribution via check, use the following address:

Vermont Professionals of Color Network P.O. Box 4277, Burlington, VT 05406

Mutual Aid to BIPOC Community Members

If you can offer mutual aid to the BIPOC community, please fill out the form and a staff member will be in touch.