By Ali Hartman Dec 01, 2020

Nothing in life is certain. We build unpredictability into our business models. We factor it into our investments and our personal lives. We live with constant risk. And calculate potential benefits. We try to build flexibility and resiliency. We do our best to plan for the unexpected.

And yet 2020, the pandemic, and the resulting dislocation were nothing we could have planned for and, collectively, they have profoundly altered our way of life, our homes, our work and our communities. The last year has challenged and changed us in ways big and small, in ways still to come. I know it has been hard, and I know you have kept going despite the hardships.

While this year has taken so much from us and asked so much of us, it has also provided us with many opportunities to meet this moment. Opportunities to assess, edit, listen, learn, lean in and show up, not just individually but collectively. In that spirit, I am proud to have helped our Firm launch the KKR COVID-19 Relief Effort earlier this year.

Our $50-million commitment strives to meaningfully help those most impacted by the pandemic and the resulting economic dislocation. It aims to support our KKR portfolio company employees, engage and inspire KKR employees as changemakers, support small businesses around the world and strategically partner with catalytic nonprofits. We are accomplishing this through a series of programs and initiatives including KKR Grants and KKR Small Business Builders, two of our cornerstone offerings.

KKR Grants is a global effort focused on finding the most innovative and effective nonprofits, and then supporting them with meaningful financial grants from KKR. The program strives to help leading local, national and global organizations to do more at a time when the challenges facing our communities are tremendous. Through a series of grants coupled with strategic support, we aim to be true partners to the nonprofits we invest with and are focused on organizations whose efforts align with the following priority areas for KKR:

  • Communities: Support for vulnerable populations through efforts focused on food security, safe housing, public health, and disaster relief
  • Opportunities: Support for innovative pathways to workforce recovery and development
  • Heroes: Support for teachers, first responders, essential workers and front line medical professionals

KKR Small Business Builders is also a grants-based program, created in partnership with small business experts at Hello Alice and GEN Global. This program targets diverse and dynamic small business owners, many of whom are struggling to meet this moment. Through a grant from KKR and wraparound services from Alice and GEN, we are helping them better sustain their operations, maintain or create jobs, and manage or pivot their business model in light of the pandemic. Even when we work with big companies, we never forget that all big companies were once an entrepreneur with an idea who started a small business. We are proud of this program that will allow us to support hundreds of small businesses, many of which are the backbone of their communities and critical to healthy, thriving economies.

Today we announced the first round of awards for both KKR Grants and KKR Small Business Builders. From more than a thousand applicants, we selected 55 small business owners and 25 nonprofits as recipients. Be sure to check out the lists below.

With our busy days and the nature of remote work, it’s easy to feel disconnected. I along with more than 50 other KKR employees had the great privilege of helping to select and notify these nonprofits and small businesses. With each notification we were reminded of what is needed and what is possible. We are so grateful to have been able to notify these grantees and feel the enthusiasm, hear the cheers and share the tears.

The recipients we announce today are only the beginning. If you know of any mission-aligned organizations, please share our KKR Grants program with them. Alternatively, if you know an awesome small business that is struggling right now, please share the KKR Small Business Builders program with them. We are eager to continue to expand our impact to watch the recipients of these efforts survive, recover, grow and thrive – all in their own ways. And we plan to be there every step of the way, because together we can do so much.


KKR Small Business Builders Round 1 Recipients


Nick Anderer
Anton's | New York, NY

Gary Carter
Sitpinyo Muay Thai & Fitness | Hong Kong

Justin Gurland and Zac Clark
Release Recovery | Yorktown Heights, NY

Lisle Richards
The Village Den | New York, NY

Trishala Bhansali
Lekha | New Orleans, LA

Daymara Baker
Rockin' Baker Incorporated | Fayetteville, AR

Hossein Akbari
The Discovery Years | San Jose, CA

Beth Plante
Charleston Power Yoga | Charleston, SC

Warren Norgaard
Milkweed Arts | Phoenix, AZ

Teri Van Goethem
DC Born & Bread | Washington, D.C.

Francine Zodda
A Child's Place | McHenry, IL

Thomas C. Trotman
TNT Construction Training | Denver, CO

Michael A. Robinson
Dallas Costume Shoppe | Dallas, TX

Monica Wong
Little Green Cyclo | South San Francisco, CA

Athanasios Hatzinas
Yetter's Diner | Augusta, NJ

Kareem Badr
The Hideout Theatre | Austin, TX

Tyrone Foster
Precision Landscape Services | Portland, OR

Janie Deegan
Janie's Life-Changing Baked Goods | New York, NY

Lexi Beach
The Astoria Bookshop | New York, NY

Anna Peters
Art Coop | Urbana, IL

Sherille D. Barber
Barber Therapy & Associates | Rock Hill, SC

Brenda Bueno
Little Daydreamers Learning Center 2 | New York, NY

Alina Ackenbom
Camp Friendship | Palmyra, VA

Bridget Manzanares
Flagship Real Estate Group | Encinitas, CA

Melissa Anelli
Mischief Management | New York, NY

Lane Velayo
Synergos Association Management | Indianapolis, IN

Cate Phillips
Capstone Calling | West Bend, WI

Jimmie Richard
Richards Family Group | Willowick, OH

Jessie Lipkowitz
Polarity | Ann Arbor, MI

Charlotte Guyton
Bard & Baker | Troy, NY

Dennis Williams
W.Heir's | Winter Springs, FL

Eric Cruz
Progressive Health & Performance | Murrieta, CA

Jaime Adams
Poshy Paws | Peoria, AZ

Zoe Schuler
ZMD | Madison, WI

Jonathan Byun
Playcenter | Lakewood, CA

Debbie Hall
Century Travel | Austin, TX

Jim O'Connor
Homestead Inn | Wolf Point, MT

Laura Oldaker
Academy for Caregiving Excellence | Tucson, AZ

Nicole Phillips
Inner Me | Houston, TX

Mona Ghattas
Duran Central Pharmacy | Albuquerque, NM

Mary Williams
Urgent & Primary Care Of Clarksdale | Clarksdale, MS

Kyle Black
RollerCade | Detroit, MI

Patrick Lai
Game Theory Restaurant + Bar | Fort Worth, TX

Sandra Stroehmann
Elixir Mind Body Massage | Denver, CO

Deborah Carlin
Debbie's Dance Studio | Williamson, WV

Christian Davis
Supply Locale | Chicago, IL

Tom Rummel
MrCleanSD | San Diego, CA

Sheila Rhodes
Small Batch Kitchen Cafe and Market | Lansdale, PA

Cristina Atencio
Isabel Blackwell | Portland, OR

Sarah Ribner
PiperWai | New York, NY

Evonya Easley
Love E | Atlanta, GA

Kristi K May
Legend Acres | Surprise, AZ

Moiz Bohra
Nova Home Care | Farmington Hills, MI

Alda Escobar
Madre Luna | Corona, CA

Sian DeLuca
SensationAll Kids Gym | Concord, CA


KKR Grants Round 1 Recipients


Communities: Support for vulnerable populations through efforts focused on food security, safe housing, public health, and disaster relief

  • CareMessage
  • Children's Rights
  • Deutsche Franziskanerprovinz KdöR
  • Food Bank For New York City
  • Headstrong Counselling
  • Hour Children
  • Jugendliche in Not e.V.
  • La Casa de las Madres
  • Little Essentials
  • Martha's Table
  • Meals on Wheels of San Francisco
  • New Alternatives for Children
  • North Texas Food Bank
  • SHP
  • The Bowery Mission
  • Women's Aid Ireland

Opportunities: Support for innovative pathways to workforce recovery and development

  • Defy Ventures
  • Eight Million Stories, Inc.
  • Clubhouse International
  • The HOPE Program
  • Year Up, Inc.

Heroes: Support for teachers, first responders, essential workers and front line medical professionals

  • 826 Valencia
  • N.Y. Police and Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund, Inc.
  • Save the Children
  • Small Steps Nurturing Center
  • Southern Area Hospice Services
  • TalkingPoints