Major League Soccer has not finalized a schedule for 2021, but FC Dallas is making plans to partner with local, minority-owned businesses. The club in Frisco is launching the "Homegrown Partner Program."
"These small businesses make up a lot of our economy," says FC Dallas President Dan Hunt. "They were disproportionately affected [by COVID-19], especially the minority-owned businesses."
Hunt says FC Dallas had formed a committee last year to focus on diversity and inclusion; they had been looking at several initiatives.
"We spend a lot of time on diversity and inclusion at FC Dallas," he says. "It's incumbent upon us. There's no more talking about it. It's action now, and I'm really proud of the people I get to work with here."
Five businesses will be accepted. Each will receive a $100,000 sponsorship package.
"That could be everything from tickets to entertainment to commercials," Hunt says. "We're going to help five Black or minority-owned businesses try to grow their business in 2021."
To be eligible, a business must hold Minority-Owned Business Certification from the Texas Small Business Administration. Requirements can be found online.
Applications will be accepted through Friday, January 29. The application can be found here.
The Homegrown Partner Program is open to for-profit businesses. FC Dallas has information about grants available to non-profits at FCDallas.com/Community/Grants .
Businesses that apply for loans must be within 75 miles of Toyota Stadium at 9200 World Cup Way, Frisco, TX 75033.
"I love this program," Hunt says. "I'm proud of our partners, our corporate partners at FC Dallas, because they want to be involved in this."
Hunt says the program can help small businesses survive the pandemic, but he also hopes the program will help owners network with each other.
"Jobs are really what change the trajectory of people's lives," he says. "Look at what you can do for your family with a great job, what you can do for your children and how uplifting it can be for the community. As they grow and have success, they reinvest. It's not just the dollars they reinvest. It's the social impact, too."
Hunt says he hopes the program will not end with the pandemic.
"I love this program. I'm proud of our corporate partners because they want to be involved in this," he says. "I think it's a great way to reach out. This is a program that's starting in 2021, but we're hoping to carry it beyond."