Business Briefs: April 7, 2020

Free tax preparation sites are closed

Due to concerns about the new coronavirus outbreak, the 27 free tax-preparation sites associated with the City of Philadelphia’s Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) campaign are closed until further notice.

The tax preparation partners — Campaign for Working Families and Ceiba — are taking steps to minimize health risks at this time. The Philadelphia Department of Revenue share updates via its social media channels. Consumers can still file for free in the absence of an open tax prep site by going to

Merakey hosts online hiring fairsMerakey, a developmental, behavioral health and education provider, seeks to fill more than 600 positions across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware by holding telephone-interview hiring fairs.

Throughout April, Merakey will hold several tele-interview hiring fairs where staff will dedicate full days to hold phone screenings for full- and part-time positions and casual shifts for direct support professionals, registered nurses and psychiatric technicians across the tri-state area. For information, visit

Wakefern Food Corp. announces major hiring initiativeWakefern Food Corp. is filling hundreds of positions at its warehouses and stores, including ShopRite, the Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace, Dearborn Market and Gourmet Garage.

Essence, Pine-Sol host contest for female entrepreneursEssence and Pine-Sol are hosting the Build Your Legacy Contest for Black female entrepreneurs. One female entrepreneur will win a $100,000 grant.

To enter, entrepreneurs must have a registered business. Participants can visit to submit a video that introduces themselves and their business, explains why they started the business, and tells how they would use $100,000 to grow it.

Business owners must apply by April 15.

Ballard Spahr launches entrepreneur legal relief program Ballard Spahr has established the Entrepreneur Legal Relief Program (ELRP) to ensure that entrepreneurs have the resources and counsel required to endure the coronavirus crisis.

Through ELRP, Ballard Spahr lawyers will provide discounted legal services and other business support to entrepreneurs and emerging growth companies.

The law firm will also engage its vast network of contacts from the business community to provide mentorship, pitch workshop assistance, and make connections to investors and the firm’s technology platforms.

COVID-19 fund to help construction businesses recoverThe Enterprise Center, funded by a $350,000 grant from Brandywine Realty Trust, has launched the Grow Philadelphia Small Business COVID-19 Resilience Fund to relieve small and minority-owned construction and construction-related businesses struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund provides low-interest loans with flexible payment terms to eligible businesses.

Bank of America donates $100K for student laptopsBank of America has donated $100,000 to the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia to buy laptops for Philadelphia students to use to learn from home.

According to a 2019 school district survey, only about half of 3rd-12th grade students have the equipment needed to participate in remote learning. School district officials already have approved the expenditure of more than $10 million for laptops.

Comcast NBCUniversal, Telemundo launch census campaignComcast NBCUniversal and Telemundo have launched a comprehensive campaign to educate people about the importance of the 2020 Census and lower barriers to online participation.

Comcast will invest more than $2 million dollars in grants and in-kind contributions to support the effort.

The 2020 Census is being called the first digital census because people are being encouraged to participate online instead of with traditional pen and paper, which will continue to be an option.

— Compiled by Ayana Jones

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