Help is coming to the 538 Bethel businesses hurt in the pandemic in the form of $1 million in CARES Act funding from the city, but the businesses will have to act fast. Michelle DeWitt, the executive director of Bethel Community Services Foundation, the organization managing the funding in the form of grants, says that the deadline for applications is Aug. 10.
“Business shouldn’t delay. They have until the Aug. 10, 5 p.m. deadline,” said DeWitt. “But if you’ve been harmed, if you need to make some modifications to your business to respond to the pandemic, apply for the money. This is how it was intended for the money to be used, and we want to get it out in the community.”
The grants are not competitive. If a business qualifies, DeWitt says that they will receive the funding. The amount of the grant is based on the size of the business.
“A business, for example, that had gross revenue of $5,000 to $24,999 would be eligible for a grant of $1,500. And those tiers increase by steps all the way up to a business that would have gross revenue of half a million dollars and above, which would be a grant of $25,000.”
There’s a lot of leeway in how the businesses in Bethel can use the money. DeWitt says that they have designed a grant program with a minimum of paperwork. Businesses are not being asked to provide paperwork on how they spent the money, but DeWitt says that they do need to keep records.
“Every business will not be required to submit a report at the end, but every business should be ready to prove, if asked, how the funds were used,” explained DeWitt.
Acting City Finance Director John Sargent said that the application is meant to be simple and quick to fill out.
“We estimate 20 minutes to fill it out,” Sargent said. “We are going to mail every one of those 538 businesses a copy in the mail, so everybody will have an opportunity to apply.”
Information about the grant program can be found on Bethel Community Services Foundation’s website and the city’s website. If local businesses have questions, they can contact Kate McWilliams at the community foundation’s office at 543-1812 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, the deadline for application for this aid for local businesses is Aug. 10 at 5 p.m.