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In April, the City of Hartford, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, HEDCO, Inc., and Capital For Change launched a $1 million Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. The aim is to provide at least 100 small Hartford businesses with a grant of up to $10,000 to make lease or mortgage payments, pay salaries, make vendor payments, pay taxes, or make modifications to their physical space or technology to comply with social distancing guidelines. In an effort to support additional Hartford small businesses, Bank of America and Travelers have each made grants of $125,000 and the City of Hartford has allocated an additional $125,000 to the initiative.

The Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program is aimed at small businesses that may have difficulty obtaining funding from other federal or state initiatives, with a particular focus on providing assistance to small businesses owned by women and people of color, located in low-income neighborhoods in Hartford. Administered by Capital For Change, more than 300 applications for the program have been received online since May 4, 2020. The application window is now closed and most grant awards are expected to be made on or before May 22, 2020. The Hartford Foundation and the City are working to raise additional funds to meet the high demand from neighborhood businesses as current funding will allow the program to award grants to approximately 175 applicants.

“Support for neighborhood businesses is an important component of Bank of America’s $100M commitment to support local communities facing unprecedented challenges from the coronavirus”, said Joe Gianni, Market President, Bank of America. “Partnering with the City of Hartford and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving on the Small Business Grant program is a great complement to our increased support to help eradicate food insecurity and homelessness.”

Businesses that applied were able to access technical assistance through partner organizations including the Blue Hills Civic Association, Upper Albany Merchants Association, Upper Albany Main Street, Spanish American Merchants Association, HEDCO, Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center at the University of Hartford, Minority Construction Council, and the Hartford Chamber of Commerce. These organizations focused their outreach on small businesses in the food industry, construction, retail and other services, including childcare.

“Hartford has been our home for more than 150 years, and supporting the community is a key element of our culture,” said Marlene Ibsen, President and CEO of the Travelers Foundation and Vice President of Community Relations at Travelers. “The Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program is an important way we are honoring our commitment to charities that are providing essential services to address urgent, unmet needs during this time.”

Funding will be targeted to businesses located within the City of Hartford with revenues not exceeding $500,000.

“We are trying to get as much grant funding to our neighborhood small businesses as possible, and we are very grateful to Bank of America and Travelers for their generous contributions to our Small Business Emergency Grant Program,” said Mayor Luke Bronin. “We will continue to build new partnerships to expand this program, and we’re also committing an additional allocation of grant funds from the city today. I want to thank the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, HEDCO, and Capital For Change and all of our local technical assistance providers for their continued partnership.”

“The public health and economic crisis has had a devastating impact on many of our local small business owners and staff as well as the residents who rely on their services and the vibrancy they bring to their neighborhoods,” said Jay Williams, President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. “As we have seen from the overwhelming number of applications, there is a significant need for this type of support for our small businesses. This is particularly true for businesses owned by women and people of color that do not always have access to the capital they need to survive and thrive. We are so grateful to receive this generous support from Bank of America and Travelers, the City and the other partners collaborating in this vital effort.”