The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, a pro-business advocacy group representing LGBTQ-owned and -operated businesses, in conjunction with food delivery giant Grubhub, recently honored Pitchers/A League of Her Own as one of three establishments receiving $100,000 through their joint Community Impact Grant Program.
The program, started earlier this year to help LGBTQ-owned businesses recoup money lost to shutdowns and other restrictions imposed as part of the COVID-19 pandemic, seeks to assist businesses with grants ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, based on an establishment’s individual need and circumstances.
Additionally, throughout the month of June, NGLCC was named the official partner of Grubhub’s Donate the Change program, which gave people ordering from Grubhub and Seamless the option of rounding up their order total to the nearest dollar, and donating the leftover change to NGLCC, which promised to use the money to support LGBTQ businesses struggling due to the pandemic.
NGLCC and Grubhub have raised more than $2 million in COVID relief funds through the partnership, with plans to issue more grants to other establishments in late 2021 and early 2022. About 30% of funds given through the program will benefit businesses owned by people of color or transgender/gender-nonconforming individuals.
Pitchers/A League of Her Own was recognized as one of the Community Impact Grant Program’s first recipients during the NGLCC Back to Business Summit, held in Hollywood, Florida, last month. Also receiving $100,000 grants were the Fredericksburg, Virginia-based FOODE + Mercantile, and the Oakland, California-based Café Gabriela.
“The impact of COVID-19 has been debilitating for countless restaurant and bar owners, including the many LGBTQ+-owned restaurants across the country who have persisted through lockdowns, operational changes and labor and supply shortages,” NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson said in a statement. “We’re grateful to have partnered with Grubhub to offer real lifelines to support businesses throughout the nation.”
“COVID has turned the restaurant industry on its head the last 18 plus months, and at Grubhub, we’ve been working hard every day to support our restaurant partners across the country,” said Amy Healy, the vice president of government relations for Grubhub.
“Right now, we’re about $200,000 in debt,” David Perruzza, owner of Pitchers/ALOHO told Metro Weekly. “The $100,000 is going to knock our debt in half, which is amazing.”
Asked why he believes he was chosen as a recipient, Perruzza noted that his establishment is gay-owned and -operated, his status as a veteran, and the fact that ALOHO is one of the few lesbian bars currently in operation at a time when lesbian-centric bars across the United States are closing.
Even as D.C. has lifted pandemic-era restrictions — most recently its mask mandate — business has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, either for Perruzza’s business or for his neighbors on the 18th Street strip in Adams Morgan.
“There’s no foot traffic in Adams Morgan during in week. It’s on weekends, and even on weekends, it’s not as crazy as it once was,” he said.
“We’re only open on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. But I might even close on Wednesdays, because we’re not just getting we’re not getting any business [on that night],” Perruzza said. “People just aren’t going out anymore during the week. You have to rely on your weekends to make all your money.”
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