Ways to Support COVID-19 Relief and Recovery

Our immediate reaction to the ongoing pandemic and recession was to develop a list of capital and technical resources for small businesses and nonprofits in Georgia. If you are looking for capital to sustain your operations, please visit our page on Small Business and Nonprofit Resources During the COVID-19 Crisis.

On this page, we’re looking to aggregate funding needs related to COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts that either leverage external funding, have a rotational feature or blend financial tools. If you hear of any initiative not listed below, please email [email protected].

Community-based Funds

Each of these funds either started or accelerated efforts recently to support their networks of small business entrepreneurs bringing important goods and services to neighborhoods that historically have not benefited from mainstream financial systems and have been disproportionally impacted by recent events.

  • Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative (AWBI): Begun as a collaborative effort of several leading community development and foundation professionals in Atlanta, AWBI has raised capital for a small business grant and loan fund, which is actively extending capital to entrepreneurs hit hard by the current pandemic.
  • Center for Civic Innovation (CCI): An incubator and accelerator for civic entrepreneurs, CCI is raising emergency relief capital for its entrepreneurs and organizations that were on the frontlines of gentrification and revitalization before the pandemic. Given their work in already underfunded and vulnerable communities, they need support now more than ever.
  • Georgia COVID-19 Emergency Relief for Farmers: A joint effort from Georgia Organics, the Food Well Alliance, Community Farmers Markets, Wholesome Wave Georgia, Global Growers and The Common Market Southeast, The Farmer Fund was created to support farmers in need. While originally created to address natural disasters, stakeholders have activated the Fund to support farmers affected by COVID-19.
  • Metro Atlanta Mutual Aid Fund (MAMA Fund): Focused on our most marginalized, the MAMA Fund supports Black, Indigenous, and other peoples of color that have endured hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will fund personal and familial needs for those in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Cobb, Douglas, Henry, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties.
  • Start:ME: An initiative of Emory University’s Social Enterprise @ Goizueta Business School, Start:ME is a micro-business accelerator operating in Clarkston, East Lake and South Atlanta. To support the graduates of their program who have had to close or pivot, they are raising $20,000 to be re-granted in the form of emergency grants, business transition to online sales support, special learning and expert advisory sessions, and more.
  • Village Micro Fund: Part of AWBI’s community of practice, The Village is working with AWBI to provide grants and loans to small businesses in southwest Atlanta. They also operate a micro-business loan fund and provide technical assistance to micro-entrepreneurs

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Mission-driven financial institutions that lend in historically dis-invested neighborhoods, most CDFIs operate loan funds that have a focus on specific themes (e.g., small business, housing, food access, etc.). Like unregulated loan funds, credit unions and banks may also seek certification from the CDFI Fund, the agency within the U.S. Treasury in charge of certification. For an overview of CDFIs operating in Georgia, check out the guide to CDFIs that GSIC put together for a workshop we hosted in Q3 2019.

Loan Funds

  • Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE): The leading CDFI small business lender in Georgia, ACE operates a $30M loan fund with retail and restaurants representing roughly 50% of the fund. They are currently raising capital (grants and debt) to provide extremely concessionary, flexible capital (including PPP loans) to existing borrowers that are facing severe hardship.
  • Albany Community Together! (ACT!): Based in Albany, GA, where COVID-19 has hit hardest in the state, ACT! is a small business lender sure to be experiencing distress.
  • Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP): As a developer and lender of single- and multi-family housing, ANDP has called on funders to support the immediate relief efforts  and front-line workers in the community.
  • Community Housing Capital (CHC): CHC aggregates loan capital to finance the creation and preservation of affordable housing through its network of 245 affordable housing developers across the country. Both ANDP and NeighborWorks Columbus are in their network.
  • Community Housing Services Agency, Inc. (CHSA): Established through a partnership between the city of Savannah and local banks, CHSA had developed over 1,200 units of affordable housing since 1989.
  • Georgia Cities Foundation (GCF): A part of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), GCF works with development agencies throughout the state to support small business lending and other economic development initiatives.
  • LiftFund: A micro-business lender, LiftFund is approved as a PPP lender but has limited access to capital concessionary enough to makes the loans, which are limited to charging 1% interest.
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC): A large CDFI that is newer to Atlanta, LISC is working with DeKalb County to offer concessionary lending and are looking for grants to increase their available capital. They are also working to increase funding available for micro-lending.
  • NeighborWorks Columbus: Promotes and provides access to fit and affordable housing and builds assets for financial independence for all citizens of low to moderate income.
  • Reinvestment Fund (RF): A lender of considerable capacity, RF has taken a leadership role in developing a liquidity vehicle for CDFIs that have substantive pipeline but an inability to continue lending operations due to limited cash on hand.
  • Small Business Assistance Corporation (SBAC): Savannah’s only CDFI loan fund, SBAC is no longer accepting applications for it’s recovery loan program.
  • Southwest Georgia United: Based in Cordele, Southwest Georgia United operates several community-based programs in addition to its CDFI-lending activities for small businesses and home repair. Their office has remained open but has requested clients communicate via email or phone during the pandemic.

Credit Unions:

Four of Georgia’s CDFI credit unions are members of Inclusiv (noted below with asterisk [*], a nation-wide organization of community development credit unions. The On the Rise Financial Center, based on the Westside of Atlanta, is Inclusiv’s only place-based initiative and seeks to provide financial education and access to banking. Supported by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Equifax and others, program participants graduate with a modestly-funded bank account. Credit unions, like banks, make loans based on capital available, so placing funds on deposit is the primary way to support their lending programs.

  • 1st Choice Credit Union (Atlanta) *
  • B.O.N.D. Credit Union (Atlanta) *
  • Core Credit Union (Statesboro)
  • Credit Union of Atlanta (Atlanta) *
  • Interstate Federal Credit Union (Jessup)
  • Peach State Federal Credit Union (Lawrenceville) *


Both Carver State Bank and Citizens Trust Bank are among the oldest Black-owned banks in the United States, as they were both founded before the Great Depression. Today, they are among Georgia’s most important mission-driven lenders.

  • Carver State Bank (Savannah)
  • Citizens Trust Bank (Atlanta)
  • South Georgia Banking Company (Tifton)

Community Foundations

Check out this map to see which counties each community foundation covers.

Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs)

Providers of healthcare services in low-wealth communities, FQHCs are seeing reduced revenues as a result of the pandemic. While the CARES Act provided funding for FQHCs for expenses related to the coronavirus public health emergency, there are additional funding needs — especially in south Georgia. A Boston-based CDFI, Capital Fund, surveyed all the regional FQHCs earlier this year. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, here are the service areas of Georgia’s FQHCs.

Along with FQHCs, School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) and Charitable Clinics, together, provide medical care to approximately 885,000 of Georgia’s uninsured, low-income and medically vulnerable residents. Immediate funding needs for these critical players in Georgia’s community based health safety net include dollars for operating support and practice adaptation. Follow the links for comprehensive listings of both SBHCs (here) and Charitable Clinics (here).