ORLF creates fund to help local business amidst virus pandemic
5 May 2020
CHIARA ELENA ROMERO • COURIER STAFF WRITER
OTTUMWA: Local small businesses experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19 may qualify for some aid. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation used $100,000 to create and manage the Wapello County Small Business Impact Fund to assist local businesses.
ORLF President Steve Dust said creating the fund was important.
"It is obvious to everyone the pandemic has impacted all kinds of people, especially businesses," Dust said. "It is very important ? in some fashion we created this to alleviate some of the impact the pandemic has had. There are stories that aren't told about our neighbors trying to stay open and afloat. We know they are hurting and this is a method that is meant to be a lifeline for them."
"Our local small businesses have always been there to serve us with a rich selection of products and services while additionally providing many employment opportunities," Dust added. "They are part of what makes our community unique and special. This new grant fund is one way that we are attempting to reflect that commitment and help them weather this pandemicdriven economic storm."
While businesses are not able to use funds to pay debts accumulated before the pandemic, the impact fund is able to provide "immediate, short term cash flow assistance." Qualifying applicants may receive up to $5,000.
In order to apply, Wapello County businesses must have experienced hardship from COVID-19, have employed between one to 25 employees starting March 1, and cannot be based out of home with one employee. They must also have an independent business address and location, and "be in good standing with state and local government jurisdictions."
Applications are available at www.orlf.org. The deadline is at 5 p.m. May 15. Due to the urgency of these dollars, Dust said award recipients will be announced prior to May 30.
Applications will be reviewed by foundation staff, banking, small business and economic development professionals and local government representatives. Grants will be awarded based on demonstrated financial need and eligibilityrequirements.
Chiara Romero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.