Atlanta billionaire donating $5 million to aid female-led small businesses

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: Founder of Spanx Sara Blakely speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit on October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for FORTUNE)

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: Founder of Spanx Sara Blakely speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit on October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for FORTUNE)

Atlanta entrepreneur Sara Blakely announced plans this spring to donate $5 million to female entrepreneurs struggling to stay afloat in the turbulent coronavirus economy.

The billionaire founder of Spanx said the help would come in the form of $5,000 grants to 1,000 female-owned small businesses.

"My hope is that this gift will help alleviate some of the pressures caused by this horrible pandemic," Blakely said in an Instagram post. "As a woman it can be lonely and scary, especially during a time like this."

The grant size is symbolic for Blakely, who started her shapewear company 20 years ago with $5,000 in seed money. In March 2012, Forbes Magazine named Blakely the world's youngest, self-made female billionaire.

Global Giving is accepting grant applications through noon on May 11. The organization said ti will accept additional applications monthly, beginning on June 1, July 6 and August 3.