Weekly Now: Small Businesses Band Together to “Save the American Dream”

A new resource hub has pandemic survival essentials for business owners. Also: Nonprofits led by people of color are wrestling with COVID-19 alongside systemic racism, and the Building Movement Project’s new report reveals the challenges ahead.

The American dream—the ability to build and grow a pursuit that elevates families and communities—has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alliance to Save the American Dream, a coalition of small businesses, hopes to help small-business owners restore that dream with its new resource hub.

“The days where resource planning was an utter nightmare are over,” said Damien Sanchez, an Alliance board member, in a news release. “The Alliance will offer not only more resources, but also content that dials into critical fundamental essentials that nearly every small business owner may need.”

The resource guide consolidates information small-business owners need in today’s landscape, including materials on legal aid, finances, personal protective equipment and sanitation, marketing, and general business. The goal, as stated by the Alliance, is to save business owners time and help connect them with agencies and resources that can help them stabilize.

The Small Business Administration reported that in 2019, there were 30.7 million small businesses in the nation. Along with medium-size businesses, these organizations account for nearly 50 percent of the U.S. economy, reports McKinsey. Even as businesses are reopening, 70 percent of small-business owners are worried about financial difficulties, and 58 percent are concerned that they may need to close their doors permanently, according to a report from MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Female small-business owners have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with 47 percent of female business owners ranking the health of their business as good, compared with 62 percent of male business owners.

Other news highlights:

On the front lines. Just as people of color have faced the dual challenge of COVID-19 and systemic racism, nonprofits led by people of color wrestle with these twin issues too. Building Movement Project’s new report, “On the Frontlines” [PDF], reveals that the long-term financial stability of nonprofits led by people of color is in jeopardy—and that the crisis is about to deepen, among other findings.

Big phish to fry. The American Bankers Association launched a campaign aimed at teaching the public about phishing scams. Nearly 1,500 banks are taking part in the #BanksNeverAskThat campaign, which deploys humor to educate consumers about how legitimate bank requests differ from phishing scams. Videos, GIFs, and a quiz aim to raise awareness in a way that’s more memorable than traditional anti-phishing education.

The Sweet Smell of Democracy

Millions of Americans eligible to vote didn’t do so in the 2016 presidential election. A Day for Democracy—a nonpartisan group of CEOs—is looking to change that. The organization is asking leaders to give employees time off to vote, to support employees in the voting cycle, and to pledge this commitment publicly among their peers.

One way to do that? Dry humor. Andy Freed, CEO of association management company Virtual, Inc., whose amusing out-of-office messages went viral last year, is taking another star turn—this time in a Good Will Hunting-inspired video. In the short spot, Freed sits down next to a stranger in a park and calls him out for his inaction. “I ask you about elections, you could probably quote to me from Tocqueville’s Democracy in America … But you don’t even know what it smells like inside of a voting booth.”

More than 300 leaders in industries as wide-ranging as commerce (Wayfair), education (Harvard University), tech (HubSpot), and health (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) have taken the pledge.


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(Kemal Yildirim/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

By Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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