H&R Block and Urban League of Greater Kansas City partner to alleviate pandemic-related strain on Black-owned small businesses

February 17, 2021

As Black business owners continue facing disproportionate impacts on their business, H&R Block’s Block Advisors will provide them with free one-on-one coaching and counsel during the pandemic and beyond

KANSAS CITY, Mo., February 17, 2021 — According to new data from its ongoing “Small Business Recovery Series,” Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block (NYSE: HRB), confirms that Black-owned businesses are seeing a disproportionate impact from pandemic-related factors, including more than half of Black business owners reporting a revenue decrease by 50% or more compared to only 37% of white business owners since March 2020. With nearly half (47%) of small business owners not optimistic about success in 2021, Block Advisors is doubling down on its small business focus and today announced a new partnership with the Urban League of Greater Kansas City to improve financial management and confidence among Black small businesses.

 “H&R Block is stepping up to make sure more Black-owned businesses survive and thrive so they can continue to play such an important part in improving local economies and uplifting our communities everywhere,” said Ian Hardman, Vice President and GM of Small Business at H&R Block. “We are proud to partner with the Urban League of Greater Kansas City and continue our goal of reaching and supporting 500,000 small business owners by 2025.”  

From February to April during the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 41% of all Black-owned businesses in America closed their doors for good, and yet less than 2% of the roughly four million small businesses who received loans during the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program went to Black-owned businesses. H&R Block’s most recent data also revealed that Black business owners were also more likely to close out 2020 with less revenue than they expected at the start of 2020 as compared to white business owners.

“The impact of hundreds of years of systemic racism continue to be felt today and especially through the lens of economic prosperity,” said Gwendolyn Grant, President and CEO of The Urban League of Greater Kansas City. “We look forward to working together to break down prosperity barriers and providing financial help where it’s urgently needed.”

The long-term goal is to have Black small business owners from across the country recruited into the program by Urban League affiliates, and this is currently being piloted in Kansas City, Mo. Block Advisors small business certified tax pros will conduct personalized coaching and services designed to improve financial management, tax compliance, bookkeeping and payroll; ultimately increasing business owners’ confidence when they try to gain access to capital. The Urban League will also provide free credit-building services, as needed.

“Black communities revolve around Black-owned businesses,” National Urban League President Marc H. Morial said. “When they thrive, Black communities thrive. By offering coaching and financial counseling to Black business owners, Block Advisors are helping to create an economy that is equitable, robust and resilient for all Americans.”

As the business owners meet with coaches from Block Advisors, additional free services and connections to resources will be provided. H&R Block will also be offering micro-grants to program graduates on an as-needed basis to help bridge to larger and more permanent sources of capital.

Block Advisors is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. Block Advisors small business certified tax pros can offer help with any small business question, and clients can choose how to connect with their tax pro – in person, via phone, chat or secure messaging.

The effort is aligned with H&R Block’s Make Every Block Better community impact platform, and its Equality Action Plan. For more information, visit www.makeeveryblockbetter.com or www.blockadvisors.com. For more information about the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, visit www.ulkc.org.

Our small business tax professional certification is awarded by Block Advisors, a part of H&R Block, based upon successful completion of proprietary training. Our Block Advisors small business services are available at participating Block Advisors and H&R Block offices nationwide.

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About H&R Block 

H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) provides help and inspires confidence in its clients and communities everywhere through global tax preparationfinancial products, and small business solutions. The company blends digital innovation with the human expertise and care of its associates and franchisees as it helps people get the best outcome at tax time, and better manage and access their money year-round. Through Block Advisors and Wave, the company helps small business owners thrive with disruptive products like Wave Money, a small business banking and bookkeeping solution, and the only business bank account to manage bookkeeping automatically. For more information, visit H&R Block News or follow @HRBlockNews on Twitter.

About Urban League of Greater Kansas City 

The mission of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City is to enable African Americans and other disadvantaged populations to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights.The Urban League provides programs and services to:  ensure that youth are educated and equipped for economic self-reliance; help adults attain economic self-sufficiency through jobs, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation; assist in ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare; remove barriers to equal participation in the economic mainstream; and advocate for racial equity and social justice. 

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