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Ezell’s Announces $30,000 in Grants for Black-Owned Businesses

Seattle’s epochal fried chicken purveyor funds 24 Pacific Northwest businesses via its 2023 Raising Up Black Businesses Initiative

Two brothers standing on either side of their sister with their hands resting on her shoulders
Ezell’s co-founders Lewis and Daniel Rudd and their sister Faye Stevens launched the R.U.B.B. Initiative in 2021
Courtesy R.U.B.B Initiative

Seattle institution Ezell’s Famous Chicken announced via a press release yesterday that, for the third year in a row, it will provide a total of $30,000 in no-strings-attached grants to six Pacific Northwest organizations dedicated to boosting Black-owned business owners.

Ezell’s co-founders Lewis and Daniel Rudd, alongside their sister Faye Stevens, launched the Rudd’s Raising Up Black Businesses (Rudd’s R.U.B.B) initiative in 2021 in partnership with DoorDash, with the intention of buoying local businesses that had been swamped by the pandemic.

In its inaugural year, R.U.B.B. distributed $50,000 in grants to 20 regional businesses, ranging from a burgeoning candle company to a longstanding Central District flower shop. This year, the grants will go to six Black-owned business organizations and 24 sub-grantees, which the press release says is a 20% increase in the number of businesses receiving grants from 2022.

Lewis Rudd told the Seattle Times in 2021 that the initiative was inspired by his own struggles as a Black business owner when he first opened Ezell’s in the ‘80s. He said that the launch of the restaurant’s second location, in the University District, “was held up due to redlining,” and that it’s thanks to community support that Ezell’s grew into the legendary status it enjoys today.

Seattle’s Black Owned Business Excellence (BOBE), a collaborative dedicated to uplifting underserved businesses in Washington state, will receive five $1,000 grants. Pitch Black of Portland, an organization which provides Black entrepreneurs with support to enter the startup space, will collect two $2,500 grants. The Tacoma Pierce Black Collective, a Tacoma-based organization which provides resources to local Black business owners, will be awarded five $1,000 grants, as will Urban Impact, which was founded in 1987 to address issues arising from poverty in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood, and Black Dot, which focuses on supporting Black entrepreneurs and creatives. The Northwest Institute for Leadership and Change, an Olympia-based nonprofit, will receive two $2,500 grants.

Each of these organizations will distribute awards to a total of 24 sub-grantees, many of whom will be in attendance at Rudd’s R.U.B.B. Initiative Black Leadership Conference, which, in its second year, is scheduled for August 19, 10 a.m-4 p.m. at the University of Washington Seattle campus. Mayor Bruce Harrell will keynote the conference, and Black Coffee Northwest owner Darnesha Weary is among the scheduled speakers.