Entrepreneurship | September 2, 2020

Oakland Black Business Fund launches with COVID relief funding

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, September 2 – Oakland Black Business Fund, a new nonprofit investment fund, aims to help Black-owned businesses weather and recover from the COVID economic storm. Its broader vision is to seed economic opportunity and wealth creation for Oakland’s Black residents through business advice, grants, investment and real estate.

OBBF has raised $150,000 to start cutting relief checks and is looking to raise and disburse $10 million. “We’re especially focused on funding brick-and-mortar businesses, which anchor the Black community culturally and economically and establish a sense of place for Black communities,” said co-founder Elisse Douglass.

OBBF was founded in June by Douglass and fellow real estate professional Trevor Parham, amid protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“We saw a lot of businesses were being hit multiple times, with protests about racial justice where the businesses were getting their windows broken, with the pandemic that was shutting them down, and the general market conditions,” Parham told VentureBeat.

It took only 10 days for OBBF to crowdfund its first $100,000.

OBBF’s partners include the City of Oakland, the Alliance for Community Development, commercial real estate owner and manager Oakstop, the Bay Area Organization of Black-Owned Businesses, Black Cultural Zone, Lyft and Clorox, which is headquartered in the city.