In an effort to support the storefront small businesses across Boston’s 20 Main Street districts, the Boston Main Streets Foundation (BMSF) has established a $100,000 COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. BMSF is seeking the public’s help to supplement this initiative through online crowdfunding donations.
The Boston Main Streets Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will distribute $1,000 grants to affected small businesses that:
• Are located in one of the 20 Boston Main Streets districts
• Are based around face-to-face/in-person contact (i.e. salons, barber shops, storefront retailers)
• Are “non-essential” businesses as defined by Governor Baker's Emergency Order
• Have ten (10) or fewer employees, with preference given to sole proprietors and “microbusinesses” with five (5) or fewer employees
Grants can be used to pay business rent and/or utilities; buy inventory or goods to resell; pay employees or pay the business owner/manager themselves; or pay other business expenses. Any business that receives a grant must submit a W-9 tax form. Applications opened on April 1; apply online at www.bostonmainstreets.org/covid.
“The impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic have created an economic crisis for the small businesses that are the heart and soul of Boston’s Main Street districts,” said Joel Sklar, Chair of the Boston Main Streets Foundation. “Those small businesses, their owners, and their workers are in need of immediate support to manage through this crisis. We are grateful to our partners for recognizing the need and providing funds to support the initiative so swiftly.”
While the BMSF wishes to support all businesses in need, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund is not currently targeted to bars and restaurants, as there are other emergency funds targeting those sectors such as the Boston Restaurant Strong Fund. Additional resources for small businesses can be found on the City of Boston’s Economic Development COVID-19 Response Page.
BMSF has also partnered with the civic crowdfunding platform Patronicity in an effort to double the funds raised to date. By contributing any amount they can afford to the fund, area residents and organizations will directly support the small business community through these difficult times with their most basic need: immediate cash assistance.
“Over the years our work at Patronicity has focused on building and supporting vibrant communities through community-driven creative placemaking initiatives. Through that work we learned the intense value that small business has on not just local economies but on the social fabric of a community,” said Jonathan Berk, director at Patronicity. “Now, more than ever before, it’s vital for communities to rally around and support, where they can, the neighborhood small businesses community.”
The campaign will raise funds through 11:59pm on April 15, 2020 and distribute funds on an ongoing basis as qualified businesses are identified. Learn more and donate at www.patronicity.com/bmsf.