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‘We Care Grants’ give small businesses shot at earning pandemic recovery grant

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2021 at 4:44 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Select small business owners have a shot at earning up to $10,000 in grant money through the “We Care RVA Recovery Project” to help recover from the pandemic.

On Monday, the application period for small businesses, owned by women and minorities, opened on the Metropolitan Business League’s (MBL) website.

MBL fosters business development and expansion for small, women and minority-owned businesses. They have disbursed more than a half-million dollars in ‘We Care Grants’ since their first round at the start of the pandemic.

This will be the third round of funding through the “We Care RVA Recovery Project,” a community-led initiative. Many of the companies and organizations behind the project have sewn monetary seeds as part of their racial equity and social justice efforts in the community.

Natasha Freeman opened her Lucid Living Wellness Center off of East Grace Street nearly four years ago. She is grateful for the chance to get extra support and plans to apply for the funding.

Lucid Living Wellness Center
Lucid Living Wellness Center(NBC12)

“It’s been a wild and trying time for everyone,” said Freeman, who misses the pre-COVID normal.

When the pandemic triggered the spring of 2020 lockdowns, she was forced to shut her doors and push her services online. It was quite the adjustment, especially since she found out she was pregnant around the same time.

“For me, it was a blessing in disguise so that I could rest. But at the same time, it was traumatic, just like it’s been for a lot of folks,” Freeman said. “I went from a staff of seven to me.”

Fortunately, Freeman has received a lot of support from her clients and is staying afloat, but she is not turning down any helpful resources. She said nothing could have prepared her for a pandemic and some extra money could go a long way.

Melody Short is MBL’s director of marketing and communication. She tells NBC12 that she wants the small business community to know they are not alone and resources are available.

“Businesses incurred expenses that they didn’t even account for last year, so there’s a lot of catching up that’s happening,” Short explained. “Minority-owned businesses have experienced a double pandemic.”

Short said the application process should be relatively easy. Business owners will be required to prove their status as an owner and provide tax returns from as early as 2019, among other requirements listed on their website.

“Having financial resources in a time like this is amazing, and it’s so needed for all businesses,” Freeman said. “We’ve definitely been struggling.”

Once the application period closes, applications will be reviewed. Grant recipients will receive notice by Oct. 22.

Short said disbursements will be given out almost immediately.

You can apply, here.

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