As the COVID-19 pandemic continues through the year, small businesses have continued to struggle. Lower revenues caused by less people going out to spend their money have caused many negative consequences for businesses. Many local businesses, including Arlington businesses, have been forced to shut down temporarily in order to save money while others have closed indefinitely. Businesses seem to be doing everything they can in order to keep their doors open.
One Arlington business in this dire situation is Busy Bee Workshops. Busy Bee Workshops is a small studio that hosts instructor-led classes where guests can work on fun do-it-yourself projects like string art, paintings, and home décor. Before COVID-19, the studio hosted weekly classes where anyone was welcome to join in the fun. In an effort to stop the potential spread of the virus, Busy Bee has taken some of the focus away from their in-person classes. However, Busy Bee Workshops has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by creating their own take-home projects available for curbside pickup. Each “Busy Bee Box” is unique and contains everything you need to start a fun DIY project.
Unfortunately, Busy Bee Workshops continued to struggle financially despite these changes. Their businesses expenses were getting too difficult to deal with and so Busy Bee began to look for some financial relief. They eventually found that relief in the form of a $5000 grant from The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation. The foundation was created by the CEO of Spanx, a popular women’s clothing company, and serves to alleviate some of the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic. By partnering with GlobalGiving, a nonprofit organization that helps companies and individuals create their own charitable projects, The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation has been able to provide $5000 grants to 1,000 female-owned businesses across the country.
The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation has named this grant the “Red Backpack Fund”. The name of the fund is a reference to a red backpack that Sara Blakely’s mother used while she was in college. After starting Spanx, Blakely felt as though the backpack was a symbol of luck for her. Even as her company began to grow she refused to buy a purse or handbag, insisting that her lucky red backpack was the key to her success. Each recipient of the Foundation’s $5000 grant also receives a red backpack as a reminder of this story. Now, looking back, Blakely sees her red backpack as a symbol of women’s potential and inner strength. The Foundation has donated millions to charities around the world since 2006, and in 2013, Blakely signed the Melinda and Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, a promise to give half of her wealth to charity.
Busy Bee Workshops was chosen for the grant due to its “outstanding application, its urgent need for COVID-19 relief, and its demonstrated capacity to overcome COVID-19 setbacks.” One of the primary goals for GlobalGiving and Spanx, both women-owned companies, is to help other women-owned companies succeed as they have. In the difficult times of a global pandemic, this goal is as important to reach as ever. As GlobalGiving CEO Alix Guerrier states, “We’re proud to announce the grantees of The Red Backpack Fund. They have successfully undergone GlobalGiving’s rigorous vetting process, and we believe this grant will help them continue to thrive, despite the shifting economic circumstances brought on by this crisis. The world needs more women-led organizations who are a key force in overcoming COVID-19 and establishing a better normal.”
As the year closes out, we continue to see the effects of the pandemic on businesses. Some have struggled to stay open while others have closed altogether. Supporting local business is more important now than ever before. Grants like the ones provided by The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation and others like it will be essential to relieve the stress caused by COVID-19.
For more info on Busy Bee Workshops, visit https://busybeeworkshops.com/
For more info on The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation, visit http://www.spanxfoundation.com/
For more info on GlobalGiving, visit https://www.globalgiving.org/