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URA and Citizens Bank Partner to Donate $15,000 to Cocoapreneur’s Pittsburgh Black Business Relief Fund Campaign

Press Release
June 11, 2020

URA will contribute $10,000 with Citizens Bank providing a $5,000 grant

PITTSBURGH, PA (June 11, 2020) – The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) announced that its Board of Directors will vote at this afternoon’s meeting to authorize sponsorship of Cocoapreneur’s Pittsburgh Black Business Relief Fund for $15,000. The URA will contribute $10,000 with Citizens Bank providing a $5,000 grant.

Councilman and URA Board member R. Daniel Lavelle requested the donation on behalf of the URA.

“First and foremost, I want to thank Cocoapreneur for having the foresight to establish this relief fund. Unfortunately, given our local economy, we know it is both harder for Black businesses to become established as well as thrive. This also means it will be harder for them to recover from the damage done to their businesses,” said Lavelle. “This is a small but truly meaningful donation that goes a long way toward us demonstrating our commitment to both support and grow the Black business community.”

In addition to this grant, Citizens Bank previously donated $200,000 to the URA’s Small Business Emergency Loan Fund.

“Citizens bankers have been working tirelessly to help business owners across the country by lending nearly $5 billion to more than 48,000 businesses under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and providing $275,000 in grants here in Pittsburgh to support the Pittsburgh Economic Industrial Development Corporation, in partnership with the URA and the Pittsburgh Foundation’s Emergency Action Fund,” said Mark Rendulic, Pittsburgh president and retail director, Citizens Bank. “Small businesses are a vital engine of the Pennsylvania economy. This grant continues the work Citizens has been doing and further demonstrates our commitment to helping business owners get back on their feet.”

Following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, peaceful protests in Downtown Pittsburgh were interrupted by vigilantes who incited violence and damaged local businesses. Numerous Black-owned businesses were vandalized in the incident.

In response, Cocoapreneur established the Pittburgh Black Business Relief Fund to support those businesses in their recovery. All capital raised will go to the repair, inventory replacement and expenses of Black-owned businesses damaged during the protests.

“The URA is committed to supporting Black entrepreneurs and during this time of adversity it is more important than ever to evidence our values as an organization and as a city. We must empower leaders and organizations within the Black business community by supporting solutions they've developed with their own unique needs in mind,” said URA Deputy Executive Director Diamonte Walker.

“I invite other organizations, particularly those who've issued statements of solidarity, to support Cocoapreneur’s Inventrify campaign as a definitive step towards turning those good intentions into meaningful action.”

To contribute to the Pittsburgh Black Business Relief Fund Campaign, click here.

Any left over funds will be used for emergency purposes for Black-owned businesses as well as to issue mini grants for businesses in need.

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