DOWNTOWN AMHERST FOUNDATION LAUNCHES SECOND ROUND OF RESILIENCY MICROGRANTS

Photo: Downtown Amherst Foundation

Source: Amherst Business Improvement District

The Relief and Resiliency Microgrant Program, a program of the Downtown Amherst Foundation (DAF), in partnership with the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, has announced that it has enough funds to open a second round of microgrants for Amherst brick & mortar businesses. The DAF program aims to bring financial relief to as many Amherst businesses as possible. Unlike similar grant programs, this is not a first-come, first-served application process; fully completed applications just need to be received within the application time frame. The Review Committee will make decisions the following week, Foundation representatives will contact businesses, and the microgrant awards will be issued the last week of June. 

Eligible  businesses are: brick-and-mortar stores in Amherst or a business with a location in Amherst and with at least 50% of receipts coming from the Amherst location. A Business is eligible for this round of grants if its 2019 revenues were between $35,000 and $1,500,000 and the current run rate of revenues has been cut by 25% or more due to the state’s current guidelines for business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Note: due to the careful review of our grant committee during the first round, the minimum revenue was reduced to be as inclusive as possible of our smallest business owners. Details and application available here.

A business is not eligible if it based on remote work in Amherst at a coffee shop or a co-working space; if it is a professional service (e.g. medical, dental, legal, business, consulting, accounting, architecture, web design or tech); liquor store or recreational marijuana facility; or a non-profit.

DAF encourages all eligible businesses in Amherst to apply.  Those who applied in the first round but did not receive funding, will have their  application reconsidered again in this round and need not reapply. The Chamber and BID staff will be contacting previous applicants so they can update the information in their application. 

Call For Continued Support 
The Relief and Resiliency Microgrant program has raised $280,000 towards its goal of $500,000 with over 295 generous donors, comprised of individuals, businesses, religious groups and private foundations. “The outpouring of support by our community has given our small businesses hope,” said Claudia Pazmany, Executive Director of the Amherst Area Chamber, “These microgrants have a direct and immediate impact on the vitality of the Amherst small businesses they touch.” 

Upon receiving a Round 1 grant, Faith (of Collective Copies, the worker-owned print shop in Downtown Amherst), remarked, “The support through the Downtown Amherst Foundation has shown Amherst’s commitment to small businesses and workers. This money will help to pay our suppliers and back rent and to keep us moving forward.”

Depending on the amount of money raised, the DAF hopes to hold a third round of funding with potentially different criteria, depending on the success of the phased reopening and the state’s public health indicators. 

Donations continue to be accepted and are tax-deductable. Checks can be sent to the Downtown Amherst Foundation 35 S Pleasant St, Amherst MA 01002 and payments can be made online here.

For more information contact: Gabrielle Gould, Amherst Business Improvement District, 508-901-1180, gabrielle@amherstdowntown.com

or Claudia Pazmany, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, 413-697-9661, claudia@amherstarea.com

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