(photo: Amhader Derar, Owner and Instructor of Musie Driving School LLC, recipient of a Minority Owned Small Business Grant)

The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties recently awarded $5,000 COVID-relief grants to eighteen minority-owned small businesses in Loudoun County for a total of $90,000.

In December 2020, the Community Foundation announced it was accepting applications to a newly launched Minority Owned Small Business Grant Program.  Seed funding was provided by Google and Kaiser Permanente, with MVB Bank, Northwest Federal Credit Union, and the Community Foundation’s Community Emergency Relief Fund contributing to funding available for distribution.

Minority-owned small businesses located in Loudoun and demonstrating hardship due to COVID-19 were eligible to apply.  After receiving 198 applications that were reviewed for eligibility, a lottery was used to select the final awardees.  The goal was to boost operations made especially difficult over the past year for disproportionally impacted business owners.

“The grant has enabled my driving school business to not only remain intact but thrive,” said Amhader Derar, owner and instructor of Asbhurn-based Musie Driving School LLC, one of the small businesses that received a grant. “This has been a tremendous relief and I don’t think I would have been able to progress without it.”

The Minority Owned Small Business Grant Program is one of several initiatives undertaken by the Community Foundation in the past year to address racial equity.  The Community Foundation also launched its Racial Equity Framework, a series of programs and workshops addressing racism and racial equity.  Over the past year, more than 190 nonprofit professionals, Loudoun County government employees, and community members have participated in “Allyship” workshops, a series of workshops addressing allyship and racial justice offered in partnership with nonprofit Service Never Sleeps, and “The Onion Dialogues,” an educational workshop addressing race and racism developed by consultant Tamara Copeland and Community Foundation President and CEO Amy Owen.

“Grantmakers and philanthropists across America, and here in Loudoun, realize that reconciling racial equity and racial justice with present-day systems undergirds the progress of every charitable niche and economic engine out there,” stated Community Foundation President Amy Owen.  “We want to be part of the movement that brings our community closer to having the knowledge for respectful communication, a deeper understanding of the horrors our racialized history, and tools that move us forward together. The Community Foundation staff and Board of Directors have the will and commitment, but it is our donors and sponsors that fuel the vision, and we’re grateful.”

About the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties

Founded in 1999 by local volunteers, the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit designed to grow community giving in Loudoun and northern Fauquier counties, surrounding areas and across the nation. Since its inception, the Community Foundation has granted almost $10 million back into the community including through its Community Emergency Relief Fund in response to Covid19. Donors who include the Community Foundation in their philanthropic vision benefit from low fees, knowledgeable staff, and personal assurance that legal and accounting issues are managed under one cost-effective banner: the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties. CommunityFoundationLF.org, GiveChoose.org, and FacesofLoudoun.org (703) 779-3505.