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VIP in Action Published August 6, 2020

Introducing our new partnership benefiting Philadelphia’s small businesses

Philadelphia VIP is partnering with Start Small Think Big on the “COVID-19 Pro Bono Collaborative” to provide free legal assistance to small businesses in Philadelphia during the COVID-19 pandemic, including help with federal assistance, loans, leases, employment issues — and more. 

Working with Melinda deLisle and Kathy Ochroch, co-chairs of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Law Firm Pro Bono Subcommittee and a network of trusted top-tier law firms, corporations and other legal service providers, the COVID-19 Pro Bono Collaborative will provide a highly coordinated, emergency response to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations survive the economic impact of COVID-19.

Any small business owner can complete this form to request a COVID-19 consultation with a volunteer attorney or financial professional. These consultations will be conducted via phone or video. Initial consultations will last 1-2 hours, depending on a business owner’s specific needs, with the option for follow-up consultations, as necessary. 

Created within the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1981, VIP has a 39-year history as the only legal aid organization in Philadelphia dedicated to securing pro bono legal assistance for low-income individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits. The organization recruits, trains, and supports thousands of attorneys who represent VIP clients on civil legal matters in four priority areas — preventing homelessness, supporting family stability, preserving income, and promoting community economic development, including representation for transactional matters affecting small businesses and nonprofits.

We are excited for the opportunity to expand our services and resources to the small business and nonprofit community through our partnership with Start Small Think Big.

Said Ivelisse (Evy) Cruz, Nonprofit and Small Business Coordinator, Philly VIP.

Headquartered in New York City, Start Small Think Big, a small business non-profit, has focused on helping entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities since its establishment nearly 10 years ago. Prior to the pandemic, it operated mainly in New York and California but quickly pivoted to helping all small businesses in other locations when the pandemic hit. 

We’re here to advance social justice by helping small business owners. This program was built to assist anybody who has a small business and is in need of help.

Said Alex Stepick, legal program director, Start Small Think Big

To fill out a request for services, please click here. Government and community organizations interested in connecting with the project can contact Elizabeth Rogers at response@startsmallthinkbig.org. Attorneys interested in volunteering should contact Evy Cruz at icruz@phillyvip.org.