Joann Launches $100,000 Grant Program For Black Sewers And Crafters

by Kristine Cannon
Jo-Ann store in Lakewood, California.
Juan Camilo Bernal/Getty

The Minority Creative Grant Program will give $5,000 grants to 20 recipients

Joann Stores has committed $100,000 in annual grants to Black entrepreneurs and small business owners. Announced at the end of July, Joann’s Minority Creative Grant Program will give $5,000 in Joann credit to 20 Black crafters and sewists.

“We are proud to support all crafters and sewers and are excited to give this underrepresented community an extra boost,” the Hudson, Ohio-based craft and fabric retailer wrote on Instagram. “We can’t wait to see your work.”

According to Joann’s website, the grant program supports the company’s mission of inspiring creativity in everyone.

“We realize the importance of contributing to Black crafters and sewists who are widely underrepresented in the industry,” the website states. “In its first year, the Joann Minority Creative Grant program will commit $100,000 to Black entrepreneurs, small businesses, and charitable efforts to continue creating, inspiring and finding their Happy Place.”

Grant recipients must use their respective grants by December 2021. They will also have the opportunity to be considered for a paid instructor role with Creativebug, Joann’s online program that teaches participating how to paint, knit, crochet, sew, screen print, and more via video arts and crafts workshops.

“Winners will also be featured in JOANN marketing and social channels, to help gain visibility and support for their work,” Joann states.

Joann Stores began accepting applications Aug. 1; applicants have until Aug. 31 to submit the one-page application as well as a three- to five-minute video explaining what inspired them to start creating; how the grant will benefit their personal life, organization, or business; and the obstacles they’ve faced as a minority sewer or crafter.

Joann’s Minority Creative Grant Program announcement follows news of the store’s new mask policy, which, as of July 25, “respectfully encourages” masks regardless of local mandates. Joann operates about 850 stores across 49 states.

“This is the right thing to do,” CEO Wade Miquelon told CNN. “So, for the very few minority [of people] that don’t want to comply, I think those are probably customers that we’re willing to lose just because of the situation that we’re in.”

In March, Joann provided free supplies to anyone interested in making face masks for healthcare workers and first responders. Since, the craft store met its goal of making 100 million masks as part of its Make to Give mask campaign. At the time of reporting, Joann partners and customer donations exceeded 230 million masks.

Joann’s new campaign? Masks for Schools, which launched June 29. For every mask purchased, Joann Fabric will donate one to a school in need.

“Now, we’re turning our attention to sending teachers and students back to school safely,” Joann says in a prepared statement. “Join us in our new goal of providing masks to every teacher and school-aged child.”

“Let’s continue helping America stay safe!” they added.