For nearly three years, basketball star Jrue Holiday, and his wife, Lauren, have been consistently pouring into Black entrepreneurs.
As previously shared by AFROTECH, the couple’s Jrue And Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund started after Holiday pledged to donate the remainder of his 2020 NBA salary to Black-led nonprofits, programs, and institutions of higher education in New Orleans, LA; Compton, CA; and Indianapolis, IN. Additionally, the donation went toward Black-owned small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the numerous businesses that the JLH Social Fund has supported is Viola’s Heritage Breads. Carla Briggs, the business’ owner and a New Orleans pastry chef, shared that the grant she received was the lifeline to keeping her business afloat following the destruction of Hurricane Ida in 2021, USA Today reports.
On top of overcoming Hurricane Ida, Viola’s Heritage Breads was birthed in the midst of the pandemic. Founded by Briggs and Kathryn Conyers, the duo launched the business because they saw a void of fresh, healthy whole-grain bread, per New Orleans and Company.
“After gathering the essential ingredients to make and share a brioche with friends we realized we could be on to something,” Briggs shared, according to the outlet. “In March of 2020, COVID-19 changed our lives and bread was missing from the shelves. So we began to fill a need with something we loved.”
In addition to funding, Briggs told USA Today that the JLH Fund has helped her gain overall business knowledge. The fund is said to provide grantees access to coaching sessions, software and technical assistance, and additional funding resources.
“As a Black business and a woman-owned business, there’s a lot of education and support needed to cover some gaps when throwing money at it doesn’t fix it,” Briggs said. “It’s, ‘How do I use the funding to grow my business?’ They do more than just write the check. They help you get the resources. They create a community.”