‘Diverse Erie’ Disperses Grants on the Basis of DEI

Evan Poellinger | May 22, 2024
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Pennsylvania’s Erie County Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission, otherwise known as “Diverse Erie,” dispersed $291,500 of grants to 25 minority-owned businesses as part of its Small Business Mini Grant program.

This program in turn draws from Erie County’s portion of grants from the American Rescue Plan fund, which set aside $360 billion in funds for state, territorial, local, and tribal governments which were intended to assist with relief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses selected for the grant dispersal received funds ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.

According to Diverse Erie Chief Administrative Officer Gary Lee, “this diverse set of small businesses will work to promote our county and support future generations. Continued investments, specifically in BIPOC communities, help develop Erie County’s economic growth.”

Of course, it is relatively apparent what the true motivation for the dispersal of these funds was, as the memo space on the checks given to the recipients was filled in with “#DEI” in reference to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ideology. Furthermore, such ideologically-motivated funds dispersals are not foreign to Erie County, as Diverse Erie previously awarded $300,000 to 29 other minority-owned small businesses in 2023.

DEI Grant Check

Erie County is far from alone when it comes to incorporation of DEI ideology into dispersal of government grants to small businesses. The state of New York is giving $2.3 billion in taxpayer-funded grants to minority and women-owned businesses to participate in a reconstruction project at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Of these brazenly racially-motivated funds dispersals, Gov. Kathy Hochul stated, “New York remains committed to providing travelers with a premier experience that includes world-class amenities and record involvement by local minority- and women-owned businesses will ensure just that.”

While some states have taken measures to combat DEI-related policies, it seems that some state and local governments are only seeking to double down further.