Reopening Support for Small Businesses in Rhode Island

Coronavirus, Economic Justice

30 Minority- and Women-Owned Small Businesses in Rhode Island Receive Grants by Lawyers for Civil Rights, Tufts Health Plan and Washington Trust

Funding to Help Businesses Reopen and Operate Safely During COVID-19 Pandemic

Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR), Tufts Health Plan and Washington Trust announced today that 30 small businesses, specifically those that are minority-owned and women-owned in Rhode Island, have been awarded $1000 grants to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), technology allowing their employees to work safely remotely, and other health and wellness-related support to help their reopening. 

“Small businesses, including those that are minority- and women-owned, are critical to the fabric of our economy. We’re thrilled to be able to support their safe reopening,” said Priya Lane, Director of LCR | BizGrow. “Tufts Health Plan recognized the importance of funding this initiative to support healthy and safe working environments for these businesses, and we applaud them for providing direct financial support to help keep them moving forward.”

The selected group of 30 small businesses hail from across Rhode Island and are incredibly diverse: 77% are female-owned, 20% are Black-owned, 63% are Latinx-owned, 13% are Asian-owned, and 3% are LGBTQ+ owned. 

The grants are designed to help secure masks, cleaning supplies, provide a safe work environment or other critical measures in anticipation of small businesses reopening in Rhode Island. Funding for this initiative was provided by Washington Trust and Tufts Health Plan, known for its commitment to providing innovative, high-quality health care coverage across a person’s lifespan, regardless of age or circumstance.

“These small businesses are the economic engines fueling the growth of Rhode Island,” said Rebecca Rosen, director, business diversity at Tufts Health Plan. “Minority- and women-owned businesses have been some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are happy to be able to help, at least in some small way, and contribute to their recovery.”

“Washington Trust is pleased to partner with LCR | BizGrow and Tufts Health Plan to support Rhode Island-based minority-owned and women-owned small businesses – especially as they navigate through these challenging times,” stated Edward O. “Ned” Handy III, Washington Trust’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Small businesses and community partners have expressed enthusiasm:

“These grant funds will be utilized to provide much needed access to PPE and sanitization supplies for our essential workers and their families, as well as stress reducing & wellness services for our employees who have been working throughout this pandemic to provide healthy foods for our community. Thank you so much to Tufts Health Plan, Lawyers for Civil Rights, and Washington Trust,” said Minnie Luong, the owner of Chi Kitchen Foods in Pawtucket.

“This grant, thanks to Lawyers for Civil Rights, Tufts Health Plan, and Washington Trust, will allow us to purchase PPE to keep ourselves protected while fighting COVID-19 during pop-up visits to Black, Brown, and low-income communities of Rhode Island,” said Lotus Noire Health in East Providence. 

“As active community members of a proudly diverse city, the Providence Foundation is pleased to be part of this initiative and thank both the Lawyers for Civil Rights and our members at Tufts Health Plan for their support of health and safety for Rhode Island’s minority owned small businesses,” said Cliff Wood, Executive Director of The Providence Foundation.

This Rhode Island initiative is an extension of Tufts Health Plan and Lawyers for Civil Rights’ collaboration in Massachusetts, which recently supplied twenty $1000 grants to a diverse group of small businesses across the Commonwealth; 65% of which were female-owned, 45% Black-owned, 40% Latinx-owned, 15% Asian-owned and five percent LGBTQ-owned.

The 30 inspiring small businesses receiving the grants in Rhode Island include: 

Wellness

Lotus Noire Health is a Black woman-owned health clinic focusing on serving Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ communities in East Providence. Offering an online platform, their mission is to create a healing online space where Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ community members feel comfortable and empowered in learning about and making decisions about their health. The PPE funding will be used to buy COVID-19 testing equipment and PPE to support their pop-up clinics in underserved communities. Check out their website and Facebook page. 

Coach Mel Moore is a Black-owned basketball coaching business in Pawtucket. They use basketball to mentor and counsel youth focusing on confidence building, leadership, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence. The PPE funding will be used to purchase masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and equipment for social distancing. Check out their website and Facebook page. 

Daisy Rodriguez operates a Latinx woman-owned mask-making business in Johnston. Their custom-made masks feature fun designs inspired by sports, entertainment, and faith. The PPE funding will be used to buy materials to make masks, a sewing machine, and hand sanitizer. Check out their Instagram page. 

Living Chi is an Asian woman-owned therapeutic massage business in Warwick. They offer customized holistic wellness programs, cupping and massage treatments aim to reduce stress and muscle tension and aid in pain management and functional movement. The PPE funding will be used to buy a HEPA filter system, sanitizing equipment, and to set-up contactless payment and scheduling technology. Check out their website and Facebookpage. 

She Hopes She Helps is a Black woman-owned business providing care packages to homeless women in Pawtucket. A low-profit L3C business, they sell affordable subscription boxes to customers and use the profits to purchase care supplies for homeless women. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, gloves, and sanitizing wipes. Learn more by contacting them at shehopeshehelps@gmail.com.

Shalom Damay Day Spa is a Latinx woman-owned massage therapy business in Pawtucket. Their soothing atmosphere and trained professionals provide a relaxing atmosphere for community members. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, sanitizing supplies, and thermometers. Learn more by contacting them at sdamay2020@gmail.com.

Personal and Support Services

Almonte Interpreters is Latinx woman-owned medical interpreter service located in Cumberland. The business provides critical linguistic support tailored to the community. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Learn more by contacting them at nayrobialmonte@yahoo.com.

Be Moore Interpreting is a Latinx woman-owned translation and interpretation company in Pawtucket. They have become a staple in the community offering services on a sliding-scale to local groups served by Progreso Latino in Central Falls. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks and sanitizing products. Check out their website and Facebook page. 

Carolina’s Home Daycare is a Latinx woman-owned childcare business in Providence. Employees are trained in safe sleep, childhood nutrition, medication administration and childhood development. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks and sanitizing supplies to disinfect tables, chairs, and toys. Learn more by contacting them at carolinamejia196@gmail.com

Clara’s Child Careis a Latinx woman-owned childcare business in Providence. They offer bilingual education and stimulating activities in a comfortable home environment. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks and sanitizing supplies. Learn more by contacting them at clarad1126@gmail.com

El Gran Salon is a Latinx-owned barbershop in Providence. They are known for their friendly service and deep ties to the community. The PPE funding will be used to purchase masks, face shields, and disposable capes. Check out their Facebook page. 

Evelyn Home Day Care is a Latinx woman-owned childcare business in Pawtucket. They provide educational activities and services for children, including story time, coloring, free play, transportation, and assistance with homework. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, sanitizing supplies, and to enhance the outdoor play space for social distancing. Check out their Facebook page. 

Home Day Care Silvia is a Latinx woman-owned childcare provider in Providence. Silvia’s at-home day care focuses on fostering a safe learning environment and engaging children in indoor and outdoor activities. The PPE funding will be used to buy hand sanitizer, masks, and plastic toys that can be easily sanitized. Check out their website.

Lira Salonis a Latinx woman-owned hair salon in East Providence. They are known for their high quality services and friendly staff. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and disposable capes. Check out their Facebook page. 

Little Angels Home Daycare is a Latinx woman-owned childcare provider in Providence. Their home setting creates a warm, family-like environment. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, gloves, signs, and to install a hand sanitizing station. Check out their website

Mamá Tati Home Daycare is a Latinx woman-owned childcare business in Providence. Mama Tati’s provides engaging educational activities for children in a nurturing setting. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes. Learn more by contacting them at  margaritatavarez56@gmail.com.

Paola’s Beauty Salon is a Latinx woman-owned beauty salon in Woonsocket. Their friendly, trained experts make sure each customer leaves feeling glamorous. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, sanitizing supplies, and disposable capes. Learn more by contacting them at diazlenny80@gmail.com.

Rosa’s Child Care is a Latinx woman-owned childcare business in Providence. Their warm home provides children with the language and social skills they need when they enter school. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, sanitizer, and thermometers. Learn more by contacting them at rosabrol5252@gmail.com.

VIP Nails is an Asian woman-owned nail care business in Narragansett. A family-owned business open for eighteen years, they are closely connected to the community. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, gloves, disposable sanitized tools, and to install plexiglass to keep customers and employees safe. Check out their website

Food Businesses

Chi Kitchen is an Asian woman-owned business making traditional fermented kimchi in Pawtucket. Their award-winning recipes, featured in the Boston Globe, support the well-being and vitality of their customers and community. The PPE funding will be used to purchase masks and hand sanitizer. Check out their website and Facebook page. 

Ja Patty is a Black-owned food truck selling authentic Jamaican patties. Founded by a Jamaican immigrant, their patties are handmade with all natural ingredients. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, gloves, safety signage for their commercial kitchen and food truck, and new touchless packaging equipment. Check out their website and Facebook page. 

Le Parch Lounge is a Latinx woman-owned lounge and bar in Cumberland. They host live music, dance, and sports events for the community. The PPE funding will be used to buy partitions, gloves, hand sanitizer, and a new air filter. Check out their Facebook page. 

Meal Mantra is an Indian-owned line of authentic, all-natural dips, chutneys and simmer sauces. Their sauces are crafted in small batches using heirloom family recipes and simmered to perfection. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, as well as resources that allow them to work remotely. Check out their websiteand Facebook page. 

Ming’s Asian Street Food is an Asian woman-owned food truck based serving Asian fusion made from local ingredients in Pawtucket. They specialize in banh mi and Korean fried chicken sandwiches. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks and wipes, which will be offered to customers. Check out their Facebook page. 

Rebelle Artisan Bagels is a Latinx woman-owned bagel store in Providence. Featured in Eater, they are a Providence staple known for their hand-rolled and cold-fermented bagels baked fresh daily. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks and install hand sanitizing stations. Check out their website and Facebook page. 

Sarcastic Sweets is a Black woman-owned desert and brunch food truck based in Providence. Their signature products are cocktail, beer and wine-infused cupcakes and cakes. They are donating their products to first responders to provide them with a sugary treat and coffee boost. The PPE funding will be used to buy security seals, labels for packaging, sanitizing wipes, and masks. Check out their website

Other Businesses

Alex Drain Cleaning & Plumbing is a Latinx-owned plumbing business located in Providence. They are known for their high quality services and commitment to the community. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, gloves, and sanitizer. Learn more by contacting them at alex_moreta@yahoo.com.

Almanazar Construction is a Latinx-owned construction company located in Providence. Specializing in home repairs, they are known for providing reliable services for a wide-range of residential properties. The PPE funding will be used to buy masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and shoe covers. Check out their Facebook page. 

King’s Men Corp. is a Black woman-owned construction and paint service company based in East Providence. They offer a wide-range of home repair services dedicated to building and improving residential and commercial structures, including drywall, paint, carpentry, and custom furniture design and building. The PPE funding will be used to buy N95 masks, gloves, cleaning solution, and shoe covers. Check out their website and Facebook page. 

Steer is a Latinx-owned community-driven video production studio based in Providence. Their projects have included videos for the Rhode Island Department of Health, the New England Aquarium, and Brown University. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been creating multilingual public service announcements to ensure that immigrant communities receive life-saving public health messages. The PPE funding will be used to buy glass partitions to ensure they have a safe work environment. Check out their website

About Lawyers for Civil Rights

LCR | BizGrow provides free legal assistance, business support, and technical assistance to minority, immigrant, and women business owners—ensuring they encounter fewer obstacles and more opportunities. For nearly 20 years, LCR | BizGrow has helped close the wealth gap by fueling equitable economic growth and increasing access to economic justice. Programs include free legal representation, technical assistance, and workshops for small business owners on subjects such as entity formation, contracts, taxes, leases, and intellectual property.