Nearly $5 Million in Pandemic Support

The events of 2020 called for a drastically different grant-making program. As a result, NEI facilitated nearly $5 million of pandemic support. The ways funds were granted needed to change with the threat of COVID-19 and the inequities it made clear that had always existed. This, coupled with the global resurgence in the movement for Black lives, necessitated a new approach.


Loan Relief Grants

The loan relief program provided immediate assistance to existing borrowers of NEI-funded community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and microfinance program providers who are a part of Detroit’s coordinated small business support network. This program relieved borrowers of loan payments for six months, freeing up cash to address other capital needs, protect credit scores, and stabilize the balance sheets of nonprofit community lenders. A total of 260 borrowers received the benefit, at a total cost of $1.1 million.


Rent Relief Grants

The rent relief program provided immediate assistance to existing tenants of NEI-funded community development organizations (CDOs) and landlords associated with Detroit’s Neighborhood Strategic Fund, focusing assistance on high-priority commercial corridors in neighborhoods across the city and in downtown Detroit. This program relieved tenants of rent expenses for up to three months, freeing up cash to address other capital needs, secure their physical locations, and stabilize the balance sheets of CDOs and strategic landlords. Approximately 600 small businesses received this benefit, at a total cost of $980,000.


Metro Detroit PPE Collective

Two grants were made to support the Metro Detroit PPE Collective which provided tens of thousands of FDA approved gowns to medical staff across the city, region and state; preserved some of our most vulnerable workers, recently homeless women, who are employed at the mission-based Empowerment Plan; and demonstrated the exponential benefit of collaborations that engage the innovative talents of nonprofit, small business and corporate leaders.


Stabilization Funds and Technical Assistance Grants

Six stabilization fund programs provided immediate capital to microbusinesses (under 10 employees) that are led by owners who have annual incomes less than 80% of the average median income (i.e., $46,000 for a single person). These programs provided direct grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 for small businesses in five underserved communities in Wayne, Oakland, and Washtenaw counties. Grants were also made to three technical assistance service providers to provide additional resources (accounting, legal/HR, marketing et al) to the small business owners who received grant funded support throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The total cost of this effort was $2.5 million.


BSO COVID-19 Recovery Grants

NEI made 11 grants totaling $760,000 to support business services organizations in 2020 through our traditional grantmaking program. NEI also approved grants to provide support to 16 Business Support Organizations (BSOs) who are providing vital services to the small business community in Detroit and Wayne County during this critical COVID-19 recovery phase. These grants are for four months (January – April) to provide support as a bridge to the next round of NEI funding. The amounts represent the prorated amounts for four months based upon their PY 2020 grant amounts.


Go to for the latest COVID-19 resources for small businesses.Click here for our COVID-19 resource archive.