Seattle’s iconic fast food restaurant Ezell’s Famous Chicken has announced 20 recipients of its Rudd’s R.U.B.B. (Raising Up Black Businesses) Initiative grant program, which awards $2,500 no-strings attached grants to 20 Black-owned businesses.
The grants are intended to help fund operations, growth, and success for businesses that may have struggled during the pandemic. Officially launching on August 30, 2021, the initiative drew over 540 applicants from the Pacific Northwest.
Twelve awardees selected through the application process include Art by Lisette, Chase the Dream Productions, Claudelle Glasgow, PsyD, PLLC, Dotz Allergy-Friendly Baked Goods, Jackson’s Asset Accounting, Jones Computing Industries, Key Connect, Nash Janitorial, Necessary Interruptions, Noir Lux Candles, Restoration of the Arts (ROTA), and the Black Sanctuary. Eight President’s Choice awardees selected by Lewis Rudd are Black Dot; Converge Media; Cultivated Roots; Flowers Just 4 You; Inland Northwest Juneteenth Coalition; Look, Listen & Learn; the Copy Spot; and Elevate Direct Impact Dollars Initiative.
Ezell’s founders — Lewis and Darnell Rudd and their sister Faye Stephens — created Rudd’s R.U.B.B. Initiative as a legacy project designed to support Black-owned businesses for years to come. Lewis said the origin of the R.U.B.B. acronym was partly from his childhood in East Texas where he would often hear elders say “Let me rub that for you,” whenever he had an injury or ailment. The R.U.B.B. initiative was designed to help Black-owned businesses get back into the swing of post-pandemic life after facing challenges like lost income or temporary closure.
The Rudd family contributed $10,000 to the fund, and partnered with DoorDash. The delivery service contributed $40,000. Other Partners in Prosperity include Acme Farms + Kitchen, Bargreen Ellingson, Foodbuy, Len-Can Builders, Inc., National Sign Corporation, PepsiCo, Sysco, and Williams Kastner.
“We were blown away by the response to the R.U.B.B. Initiative,” Lewis Rudd, CEO of Ezell’s said in a release. “We are so impressed with the diversity in the types of businesses within our community, as well as the generosity of spirit demonstrated in the widespread and committed way business owners and their employees are ‘giving back,’ or paying it forward with their time, money, hands, energy, heart, and in-kind services and products.”
The R.U.B.B. Initiative will return next year, and Ezell’s is currently exploring ways to provide ongoing support to all applicants, as well as other Black-owned businesses.