Earlier this week, Ezell’s Famous Chicken announced the awardees for the 2021 Rudd’s R.U.B.B. Initiative (Raising Up Black Businesses), a precedent-setting program designed to financially empower Black-owned businesses in the Pacific Northwest.
Rudd’s R.U.B.B., created by Ezell’s Famous Chicken co-founders – Lewis and Darnell Rudd, and their sister, Faye Stephens – selected 20 awardees in this, its inaugural year. The organization selected 12 finalists through the application process, while eight were President’s Choice awardees directly selected by Lewis Rudd, CEO of Ezell’s Famous Chicken.
According to Lewis Rudd, there was a very strong pool of applicants. But the selection committee finally selected the following recipients for the grant awards: Art by Lisette, Chase the Dream Productions, Claudelle Glasgow, PsyD, PLLC, Dotz Allergy-Friendly Baked Goods, Jackson’s Asset Accounting, Jones Computing Industries, Key Connect, Nash Janitorial, Necessary Interruptions, Noir Lux Candles, Restoration of the Arts (ROTA), and The Black Sanctuary. In addition, the following organizations were selected as President’s Choice awardees: Black Dot, Converge Media, Cultivated Roots, Flowers Just 4 You, Inland Northwest Juneteenth Coalition, Look, Listen & Learn, The Copy Spot and The ELEVATE Direct Impact Dollars Initiative.
“We were blown away by the response to the R.U.B.B. Initiative with more than 540 applications received,” Rudd said. “We are so impressed with the diversity in the types of businesses within our community, as well as the generosity of spirit demonstrated in the widespread and committed ways business owners and their employees are ‘giving back,’ or paying it forward with their time, money, hands, energy, heart, and in-kind services and products.”
All Rudd’s R.U.B.B. awardees receive no-strings-attached business grants of $2,500 to help fund sustainability, operations, growth, and success. The Rudd Family contributed $10,000 to the fund, and the family would like to extend a special thank you to DoorDash, which joined Rudd’s R.U.B.B. as a Charter Partner and contributed $40,000 to the fund. Other current Partners in Prosperity include Acme Farms + Kitchen, Bargreen Ellingson, Foodbuy, Len-Can Builders, Inc., National Sign Corporation, PepsiCo, Sysco, and Williams Kastner.
Mary Wesley, owner of Flowers Just 4 U in the Central area, was one of the recipients and said that she is very grateful for the financial support from the R.U.B.B. Initiative.
“It’s a marvelous idea, it’s fantastic,” said Wesley. “I’m very happy to be a recipient, especially with it coming from a neighborhood business. I’m a neighborhood person, and anything that the community can do to help me I’m very grateful and appreciative of.”
According to Rudd, this initiative is only the beginning of a legacy project designed to continue supporting Black-owned businesses for years to come. This was the inaugural round and will return next year. The organization is now exploring ways to make ongoing, direct support available to all applicants, in addition to other Black-owned businesses. For information and updates about The Rudd’s R.U.B.B. Initiative, visit the Ezell’s Famous Chicken Community page.