NBA player to provide relief funds for businesses
COMPTON — NBA basketball player Jrue Holiday and his wife Lauren have pledged the remainder of his 2020 NBA salary to the newly created Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Impact Fund to assist Black-owned businesses left devastated by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The Holidays have partnered with several cities, including Compton, Los Angeles, Indianapolis and New Orleans, where Jrue plays for the Pelicans. The foundation has worked with the office of Compton Mayor Aja Brown to spread the word for local businesses to apply. Holiday estimated the fund would be created with upwards of $5.3 million.
Less than 2% of the Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government were provided to Black-owned businesses. Under the program created by the Holidays, applicants must be local, have a maximum of 250 employees, could be tax-exempt nonprofit organizations or a national organization fighting social injustice.
“With everything going on in this world, it made me and my wife realize that we aren’t invested in our community as we feel we should be. … Even though it’s kind of a kick in the pants, you kind of feel like I should’ve known this or I should’ve been doing this before,” Jrue Holiday told ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “But you’re never too late.”
After Mayor Brown posted the flyer announcing the program, the community began to immediately apply to meet the deadline. Although many local Compton businesses applied, some have reached out to 2UrbanGirls to share their excitement at being selected.
Lemel Durrah received a grant from the fund to further his quest of providing healthy food options to the Black community.
“I’m truly honored to be selected for the JLH Fund Grant and its pretty amazing that a Black man living his dream was able to provide the opportunity for another Black man trying to live out his,” Durrah said.
Durrah is known in his community as the Compton Vegan and is excited about expanding his brand to the urban consumer.
“The Black community has embraced my concept because they truly recognize that I’m tyring to help us as a whole,” Durrah said, “by being an option to the unhealthy foods in our communities that are causing cancer and other diseases.”
Durrah is using the grant to continue operating his existing business and gear up to open a location in the city of Compton.
The Pucker Up Lemonade Company also was selected for the JLH Fund Grant. The company is well known for providing fresh drinks at many community events and is located in Compton.
“As recipients of the JLH Fund grant, Pucker Up Lemonade Company will be able to not only survive the challenges of COVID-19, but thrive,” said CEO Karneisha Christian-Stewart. “This grant makes it possible for us to put the finishing touches on our second location, the Pucker Up Lemonade Truck, slated to hit the streets early next year.”
Christian-Stewart was also excited that her store was the site of a visit from the Holidays.
“Jrue and Lauren Holiday visited our brick and mortar in Compton and shot a documentary with @Complex about their mission to strengthen Black-owned businesses and HBCUs and we appreciate their generous donation,” said Christian-Stewart.
The Holidays used the pandemic to reintroduce themselves to the community and found the time was right to strengthen ties with not only the Black community, but to Black-owned businesses as well.
“A couple of things that are important are time and money, and right now, we have both,” Jrue Holiday said. “To be able to give away our money to help further this movement and Black-owned businesses that have taken a hit in COVID-19, to us, it felt like the perfect time and opportunity.”
2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood area. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.