LCCRSF and Start Small Think Big Announce Strategic Partnership for Bay Area COVID-19 Small Business Assistance

Partnership will increase service capacity and speed in matching small business clients with legal, financial and marketing assistance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 7, 2020

Contact: Mark Conley-Buchsieb, mconleybuchsieb@lccrsf.org, (415) 500-5229

SAN FRANCISCO – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF) and Start Small Think Big have entered into a strategic partnership to provide key legal and financial services to Bay Area small businesses who are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The two organizations have agreed to a division of labor playing to each of their strengths. LCCRSF’s Legal Services for Entrepreneurs program (LSE) has agreed to provide 1-hour remote legal consultations on commercial leases, and to provide small business legal advising in Spanish and Chinese. Start Small Think Big will provide remote consultations on COVID-19-specific business loan applications, as well as other financial and marketing assistance. Both organizations have agreed to cross-refer requests for assistance to each other in their respective areas of specialization. In addition, both organizations are leveraging their large base of volunteer attorneys, who provide these services at no cost to small business owners who are financially eligible.

“Start Small Think Big has always been a great partner to us, and we are very excited to deepen our level of collaboration with them to better serve small businesses experiencing the painful financial impacts of COVID-19 and the associated economic downturn,” said Tobias Damm-Luhr, Staff Attorney for the LSE program. “This collaboration is an opportunity for both organizations to expand our reach and support each other in our shared mission to help members of traditionally marginalized communities build locally-held economic assets.”

“Start Small Think Big is excited to partner with LCCRSF on this critical initiative,” said Alex Stepick, Legal Program Director at Start Small Think Big. “By collaborating so closely to leverage our shared network of law firms and corporate partners, we are able to provide as many Bay Area and California businesses as possible with the comprehensive legal, financial and marketing support they need, now more than ever, to weather this current crisis, and rebuild a thriving small business economy.”

About Start Small Think Big: Start Small Think Big is a 501c3 organization founded in 2010. Start Small is headquartered in New York City and has successfully expanded its model to the Bay Area. Start Small’s mission is to help under-resourced entrepreneurs create thriving businesses in underserved areas so owners can build wealth for themselves, their families and communities. Start Small does this by activating and engaging a top-tier network of professional volunteers who provide high-quality legal, financial and marketing services, at no cost. Start Small serves 1,300+ entrepreneurs annually, 95 percent of whom are minority- or women-owned. Most live in 2-person households making less than $30k a year.

About LCCRSF and LSE: The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF) works to protect and promote the rights of people of color, immigrants, and low-income people in California. As one of the oldest nonprofit civil rights organizations on the West Coast, our attorney network has provided free legal representation to communities on the front lines of Racial, Economic, and Immigrant Justice struggles for over 50 years. Legal Services for Entrepreneurs (LSE) is an economic justice and community empowerment program of LCCRSF that was founded in 1997 and provides free transactional legal services to low-income individuals who want to start or develop businesses, businesses committed to investing in economically distressed communities, including hiring people with arrest and conviction records, and mom and pop shops located in areas where gentrification is a force for displacement. LSE provides these services by leveraging a network of over 250 volunteer attorneys at law firms in the San Francisco Bay Area.