Ready for Business Fund Receives 200 Applications in One Week from Small Businesses Needing Support

by GSBA Staff | Aug 13, 2020

GSBA Increases Fundraising Goal to $200,000, Calls on More Donors to Help Support Additional Grants to Small Business Community

Media Contacts
Ilona Lohrey
GSBA – Washington State’s LGBTQ & Allied Chamber of Commerce
(206) 363-9188

Cade Schmidt
GSBA – Washington State’s LGBTQ & Allied Chamber of Commerce
(206) 363-9188

SEATTLE - August 13, 2020 – GSBA today announced that 200 Washington small businesses have submitted applications and five additional donors have contributed to the Ready for Business fund during its first week of its availability. Administered by GSBA, Washington’s LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce, the small business relief fund was established on Aug. 3 with $50,000 seed funding from Comcast Washington.

Since the fund launch, T-Mobile stepped up with a $25,000 donation and was joined by Verity Credit Union, US Bank, Sanctuary Seattle Church, and Grace Church Seattle. With these additional contributions achieving GSBA’s original fundraising goal of $100,000 within the first week of the fund, the chamber has now increased its financial target to $200,000 in order to provide relief to an additional 40 small businesses. If this goal is met by the day the application closes on Friday, Sept. 4, GSBA will be able to provide $2,500 cash grants to 80 small businesses owned by LGBTQ people, BIPOC community members and women.

“With Washington State further restricting social gatherings in late July, the crisis for our hospitality and retail small businesses grows even greater,” said Louise Chernin, GSBA President & CEO. “Being able to provide a cash grant with wrap-around services to promote visibility and business support is more urgent than ever. A cash grant of $2,500 may be just the help needed to reprint a menu, make a repair, hire for a deep cleaning, purchase a new computer, or more.”

As the co-founder of Ready for Business, Comcast also increased its contribution to the fund with support from Comcast Business and Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable. Comcast Business and Effectv will award 20 grant recipients with the following benefits:

Marketing Support: includes television commercials from Effectv that align the grant recipient’s brand with programming from top cable networks, as well as online advertisements from Comcast Business to potential customers.

Expert Consultation: Access to virtual learning assets and business resources, as well as consultation and educational support around technology needs

Business owners who’ve applied for the grant have reported devastating impact, including up to 85% loss of annual revenue, being forced to lay-off employees, and significant loss of business due to proximity to demonstrations in Seattle. When asked how the grant money would support their business, the most common responses received have included basic necessities such as paying for rent, bills, payroll, and groceries.

Of the businesses who applied within the first week, 27 percent identify as LGBTQ-owned businesses, 69 percent identify as women-owned businesses, and 33 percent as BIPOC-owned businesses. Several applicants intersect within these communities, and 32 percent of applicants are restaurants.

With negotiations in Congress about additional economic stimulus packages ongoing, the Ready for Business Fund seeks to fulfill an immediate need by empowering businesses, corporations, and members of the public to invest in the small businesses that employ nearly half of the American workforce.

Those interested in investing in the Ready for Business Fund can do so at Contributions of any size are greatly appreciated and make a huge difference for small businesses. The Ready for Business Fund application remains open until Friday, Sept. 4 and applicants will be notified about their request during the week of Monday, Sept. 21. GSBA and Comcast Washington will announce details about the next phase of funding, including geographic location, later this fall.

Companies and individuals may find more information by contacting Ilona Lohrey, GSBA – Washington State’s LGBTQ & Allied Chamber of Commerce at / (206) 363-9188, or visiting the webpage at


About GSBA
Established in 1981, GSBA is Washington State's LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce and is the largest of its kind in North America. The chamber represents over 1,400 small business, corporate, and nonprofit members who share the values of promoting diversity, equity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace. GSBA proudly serves as a connector across the region, bringing communities together through business while advocating for civil rights and small business. GSBA also promotes LGBTQ tourism through Travel Out Seattle, advocates for small businesses in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood through the Capitol Hill Business Alliance (CHBA), and invests in the next generation of LGBTQ and allied leaders through the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund.