M&T Bank has committed $50,000 to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund to finance its small business and food security initiatives, the bank announced this week.

To support small businesses devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, NJPRF’s Small Business Initiative will give grants to Grameen America, New Jersey Community Capital, Greater Newark Enterprises Corp. and Rising Tide Capital, which have long track records in serving women- and minority-owned businesses.

In turn, the four organizations will use the funding to provide access to capital, technical assistance, financial coaching and education to local businesses that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alle Ries, regional Community Reinvestment Act officer for M&T Bank in New Jersey, said the contributions are a way for the bank to help the communities it serves.

“Repercussions of the pandemic continue to be felt by the most vulnerable in our communities,” she said. “The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund is working hard to identify where relief is needed most and provide tangible support to our community members in need.

“In addition to supporting NJPRF in 2020, we also provided $130,000 in emergency COVID-19 grants to support local anti-hunger and health care initiatives.”

M&T has long supported both Rising Tide Capital and New Jersey Community Capital, most recently providing a $1 million loan for the latter’s Garden State Relief Fund.

Additional funds will help to establish NJPRF’s Food Security Program, where partner organizations, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Fulfill and the Food Bank of South Jersey, will issue grants to ensure small- and medium-sized food pantries and soup kitchens are equipped to address the increased surge in demand amid the pandemic.

Grants between $5,000 and $15,000 will be available to pantries experiencing an increase in demand for emergency food, the need to winterize their outdoor “grab and go” food distribution programs, as well as those in need of expanding their operational capacity.