Facebook pledges $40M for small businesses, introduces new fundraising tools and digital gift cards

Facebook announced Thursday new updates to its small-business grant program introduced on March 17, including $40 million in grants for small businesses. 

The grants will go to 10,000 U.S. small businesses in 34 locations that Facebook employees live and work. Those in New York and Seattle will be the first to receive funds starting next week.

“In this challenging time, when information is changing daily, we are listening to and learning from scores of small businesses to understand what they need now and what they will need down the road,” said Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, in a blog post. 

Facebook says it’s also collaborating with small-business partner Ureeka to invest in eligible minority and women-owned businesses. Local businesses can go to facebook.com/grantsforbusiness to check their eligibility. 

New tools for businesses

The tech conglomerate is also introducing new tools for small businesses in its social media platform, including digital gift cards, expanding its fundraising portal and easier ways for businesses to communicate service changes such as delivery and pickup to their customers. 

Businesses who use the fundraising tool will have the opportunity to create personal campaigns to raise money directly from supporters and customers. Facebook’s new digital gift cards are available starting Thursday in the U.S. Facebook says Instagram is also working on offering digital gift cards. 

According to a survey by Goldman Sachs, 96% of U.S. small businesses say they have been affected by COVID-19. 

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of their communities. We are determined to help, and we know the road ahead will require a lot more from all of us,” said Sandberg. 

Follow Jazmin Goodwin on Twitter: @jazminkgoodwin.