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American Express and Main Street America Award 350 Recipients across US with Second Annual “Backing Small Businesses” Grants

Photo: Courtesy of American Express
Photo: Courtesy of American Express

American Express, in partnership with Main Street America, announced the 350 recipients of the second annual Backing Small Businesses grant program. The small businesses represent 45 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each recipient will receive $5,000 to help them cover marketing expenses, capital improvements, and physical and technological upgrades and other costs. In the fall of this year, 25 of the grantees will also receive additional enhancement grants of $25,000 to fund innovative revitalization projects such as business expansion, capital improvements, or investment in technology that would further improve their businesses, while providing goods or services that address cultural, environmental, and/or access needs in their local community. With the grants announced, including the additional enhancement grants, the program will provide more than $2.3 million in grant funding this year.

“This program is designed to help small business owners succeed when they need it most.  These owners are pillars within their local communities and drive the economies along our main streets and many are facing financial hardship that impacts their growth,” said Madge Thomas, President of the American Express Foundation.

The businesses benefitting from the grants agree – including Last Minute Gear, an outdoor gear shop in San Francisco, California, a 2022 recipient.

“We are a gear shop where you can buy, rent or borrow gear for camping, climbing or snowing,” said James Dong, owner of Last Minute Gear. “This is how I support my niche community, and I love that Amex has similar values of supporting the overall community.”

Community is what keeps Tammy Hauser’s business, Discover Sarasota Tours, rolling, with entertaining and informative tours of Sarasota, Florida. Hauser says the business received its American Express-backed grant in 2022 during a time when they and the community needed it most.

“Not only did the grant funding come at the slowest point of our busy season but Sarasota was hit by Hurricane Ian as well,” explained Hauser, owner of Discover Sarasota Tours. “The airports were closed for days, some of our staff’s homes were damaged, and refund requests were flooding our inbox. In the end, we had to cancel about a month’s worth of tours, taking on a lot of financial stress. This grant helped us immensely!”

Including the awards announced today and the awards to be granted in the fall, the program will have provided nearly $4 million in grants to 680 small business owners nationwide.

Click here to see the full list of this year’s “Backing Small Businesses” grant recipients on Main Street America’s website.


This release includes forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contain words such as “expect,” “goal,” “commit,” “plan,” “will,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “likely,” and similar expressions. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including those described in the 2021-2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Report and American Express’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. American Express undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

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