Friday, April 24, 2020

Help Delivered for Small Businesses

On March 30, Gossips reported about a new fund being created to help small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis: the Columbia County Business Continuity Fund. Today, the Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) and the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) announced that nearly $190,000 has been awarded in 92 grants for local businesses. Gossips has learned that 44 of those businesses are in Hudson; the remainder are located in town and village centers throughout the county. The press release making the announcement reads in part:
The businesses receiving grants are spread out across Columbia County and met key grant-making criteria, including being located in city, town or village centers, open to the public and reliant on foot traffic, and having fewer than 10 full-time employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue. An independent, volunteer committee of local business leaders reviewed and rated each application based on these criteria. The committee had representation from throughout the county and from women- and minority-run businesses.
Award amounts varied based on severity of need and total resources available, with nine out of 10 grants sized at $1,500 to $2,500. These one-time, rapid response grants were designed to help cover costs such as retaining employees, rent and other fixed operational costs. A list of recipient will be released following their acceptance of the grants.
Generous individuals, foundations and businesses made this fund possible. Major gifts came from BTCF's Community Fund and CEDC, BTCF's Fund for Columbia County, the Hudson River Bank and Trust Foundation, Martha McMaster and Sheldon Evans, Berkshire Bank, Henry J. Kimelman Family Foundation, Stephen Mack and Brian Schaefer, Susan Danziger and Albert Wenger/The Spark of Hudson, Linda Gatter/Max Dannis Fund and the Arthur and Eileen Newman Family Foundation. In addition, more than 40 individuals made online gifts totaling over $17,000.
The press release contains quotes from representatives of CEDC and BTCF and elected officials at all levels of government, but this is the quote Gossips found most compelling. It is attributed to Chuck Rosenthal and Monica Byrne of the Hudson Business Coalition:
Truly, small businesses are the heart of every community. They are owned and staffed by our friends and neighbors. They provide service and jobs, and they drive local economies. They are the creative outlets that often define a community's unique personality and culture. We know that when disaster strikes, rebuilding the small businesses is key in rebuilding the community overall. We know that the quicker and more efficiently we get aid to small businesses, the less it costs and the quicker they rebound. When small businesses thrive, entire communities do, too. Rebuilding our small businesses in Hudson is key to rebuilding the community overall. The Business Continuity Fund's ability to distribute aid to small businesses allows these businesses and our community to begin to rebound, and the effects will be exponential.

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