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Collaboration offers support for business

Recent historic storms have ravaged many small businesses and nonprofits in San Diego County and have had a disproportionate effect on business owners of color in the communities hit the hardest by flooding. Many of these communities have long grappled with systemic racism and economic disparity, and without the right support, the recent storms will only entrench historic inequities.

At a press conference on Feb. 9, the County of San Diego Chamber of Commerce was joined by elected officials and San Diego business association leaders to show solidarity and to initiate support for businesses affected by the recent storms. CSDBCC President and CEO Donna DeBerry was joined by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nora Vargas, San Diego Foundation President & CEO Mark Stuart, along with two members of the Strategic Alliance. The Asian Business Association and The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, along with other partner organizations, including San Diego Foundation, The Urban League, NAACP, San Diego Latino Professionals, The Chicano Federation, Black American Political Association of California, The Urban Collaborative Project, The Regional Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council, The Burnham Center and more.

The support includes the Emergency Business Relief Fund, provided by CSDBCC, Emergency Business Relief Fund, which provides grants, resources and support to small businesses – and especially to those in the hardest-hit, underserved communities.

DeBerry said in the grim aftermath of the historic flood, we must all come together to help communities fix the destruction.

“Particularly in the districts that have been starved of services for generations,” she said. “Without adequate support for diverse underserved communities this will result in the deepening of entrenched racial and socioeconomic inequities, displacement, exacerbated wealth inequality, and inadequate low-cost housing.”

Vargas said it has been an incredibly difficult couple of weeks for the region.

“Especially for our small businesses, and I want to make it clear that we are working around the clock at the County to provide people with resources,” said Vargas.

“Unfortunately, the businesses and communities that have been hit the hardest are also those that have been underinvested for decades. It’s time we change that so all small business owners throughout our county have a chance to thrive.”

“The January 22 floods devastated several communities in our region, leaving hundreds without shelter, clothing, or food,” said Mark Stuart, President & CEO of San Diego Foundation. “There is much work to be done as we move towards recovery, by both nonprofit partners and for-profit businesses. Thank you to all of those here today for your continued partnership and for your work for just, equitable and resilient communities.”

To find out more about Emergency Relief Grants visit For more information on the Emergency Business Relief Fund visit

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