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American Express and Main Street America Announce More Than $2.3 Million in “Backing Small Businesses” Grants for U.S. Small Business Owners

March 20, 2023

American Express and Main Street America Partner for Second Year to Offer Financial Support to Economically Vulnerable U.S. Small Business Owners

NEW YORK, NY. – March 20, 2023 – American Express (NYSE: AXP) today launched the second year of the Backing Small Businesses grant program* in partnership with Main Street America. This year, American Express is increasing the number of grants awarded and total funding to more than $2.3 million to further support U.S. small business owners in addressing critical needs.

Starting today, eligible business owners can apply for
$5,000 grants to cover costs, such as marketing expenses, capital improvements, and physical and technological upgrades.

American Express, Main Street America, and select community partners will select 350 grantees, who will be announced in June 2023, and prioritize candidates that have the potential to improve, revitalize or expand an existing small business in older and historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts nationwide.  

In the fall of this year, 25 of the grantees will also receive additional enhancement grants of $25,000 to fund innovative revitalization projects such as business expansion, capital improvements, or investment in technology that would further improve their businesses, while providing goods or services that address cultural, environmental, and/or access needs in their local community.

“We are proud to work alongside Main Street America to support small business owners as they navigate current economic challenges.” said Alice Lin Fabiano, Vice President, Community Impact at American Express. “Small business owners are at the heart of local communities, and since the launch of our grant program in 2021, it has been inspiring to see the positive impact they have made in communities across the country.”

American Express and Main Street America created a small business grant program in 2021 to support U.S. small business owners as they recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and looked to grow their businesses. To date, the program has provided $1.65 million in grants to 330 small business owners nationwide.

Past Grant Recipients

Photo Courtesy of Capone's Hoagies

“Community to us is everything,” said Robert Capone, co-owner of Capone’s Hoagies, a local sandwich shop in Newkirk, OK. “Between the pandemic and the current challenges met by inflation and labor shortage, this grant has been incredibly encouraging. We’ve since used the funds to improve the insulation and re-siding of our back office and storage area to help make the shop more energy efficient.”

Photo Courtesy of The Funky Frog

“I am very appreciative to have been awarded the Backing Small Businesses grant to help increase online sales for my business,” said Renee Perkins, owner of The Funky Frog Children’s Resale Boutique in Rochester, MI. “With the grant I was able to hire a local, woman-owned advertising agency to handle all of my e-commerce advertising and ultimately increased the orders from only three states to 26 in just six months.”

Photo Courtesy of Anew Life Prosthetics and Orthotics 

“It is my passion to help every amputee or person with a limb loss to live their life with strength, courage, and confidence, and give them the motivation and determination to do whatever they put their mind to,” said Chris Casteel, co-owner of Anew Life Prosthetics and Orthotics in Detroit, MI. His wife and co-owner, Kim added: “This grant has allowed us to purchase digital ads to greatly increase our online outreach among our community. Our phone has been ringing off the hook!”

Photo Courtesy of Hideaway Cafe

“Our cafe serves as a local hub for our community in our historic downtown area,” said Victoria Armstrong, owner of Hideaway Cafe in Winchester, VA. “But our deteriorating floor and outdated electric system was making it difficult to create a warm and inviting space. We were able to replace the deteriorating floor and shore up some electrical issues that now allows guests to plug in and work remotely from our café. This grant has had an enormous impact on our business, increasing traffic significantly and making our spot a real ‘place to be’ in the community."

Applications for the Backing Small Businesses grant program are open now through 11:59 p.m. CT on April 7, 2023. Small business owners can see eligibility requirements and apply

Backing Small Businesses is part of American Express’ Backing Small initiative, which was created to provide financial support and other resources to help small businesses. With a commitment of $17 million in funds through 2024, the initiative will offer continued support to economically vulnerable small business owners and entrepreneurs through grant programs, mentoring support, and technical assistance through established community partnerships.


*Formerly known as Inclusive Backing


This release includes forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contain words such as “expect,” “goal,” “commit,” “plan,” “will,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “likely,” and similar expressions. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including those described in the 2021-2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Report and American Express’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. American Express undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

 Media Contact:

Ashley Tufts-Freimuth

Source: American Express Company

Location: U.S.

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