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The process is not preferential but strictly qualifications-based

Last week Businesses of Rappahannock announced the rollout of “Rappahannock CARES,” a $90,000 grant program to help local businesses that have been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting around Oct. 5, Rappahannock County’s numerous nonprofits and small businesses will be eligible to apply for up to $15,000 of non-repayable grant money to offset revenue loss and other coronavirus-related expenses. Funding comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Of the total amount that Business of Rappahannock plans to award, $30,000 has been earmarked expressly to aid non-profits and local private schools. 

Businesses with 1-10 employees will be eligible for up to $5,000; businesses with between 11 and 25 employees can apply for up to $10,000; and businesses with 26 to 50 employees can apply for up to $15,000. Funds can be used for rent or mortgage expenses, utilities, insurance, payroll and other critical operating expenses.

“Businesses of Rappahannock believes that all businesses in the community support one another, from the dogwalker to the accountant to the landscape and maintenance people,” said Businesses of Rappahannock President Theresa Wood. “So this grant program is open to everyone, not just tourism-based businesses.” 


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 Applications will be reviewed by the Community Investment Collaborative (CIC), an impartial third-party nonprofit based in Charlottesville. “Primarily their mission has been to help small businesses through all sorts of training programs and they’re … a local type of small business association,” Wood said.

Over the past several months CIC has helped close to a dozen counties in the Commonwealth disburse their CARES Act monies to small businesses in need. To help safeguard sensitive financial information, CIC will also administer all grant awards to local businesses on behalf of Businesses of Rappahannock. 

Wood stressed that the process is not preferential but strictly qualifications-based. Businesses of Rappahannock will set the parameters for eligibility and CIC will score applications accordingly. “CIC will review in house that [applicants] have demonstrated a 25 percent loss in revenue,” Wood said. “Businesses of Rappahannock will never see that financial documentation and once the program closes, all of those documents will be destroyed.”

As for award decisions, Wood said Businesses of Rappahannock plans to fill all applications that are eligible for grant money. “If we have more dollar demand than we have actual dollars, then we’ll just reduce [awards] by a percentage across the board,” Wood said. 

Those who are interested in applying for a grant through the program can find an online request form at www.rappahannock.com to be notified when applications open. Questions and comments can be directed to Theresa Wood by phone at (540) 227-4845 or via email at relieffund@rappahannock.com. Applications close two weeks after they open.


 

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