DFA to launch third round of COVID-19 business grants

Published 4:46 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2020

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Downtown Franklin was among 18 communities across Virginia to receive $278,000 in Virginia Main Street grants as part of the commonwealth’s ongoing COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.

Franklin’s portion of this grant, which Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Aug. 11, amounts to $25,000. The funds will go toward the Downtown Franklin Association’s S.O.S. – Sustain Our (Main) Street program.

According to DFA Executive Director Dan Howe, S.O.S. includes multiple rounds of smaller grants to support downtown Franklin’s brick and mortar businesses.

“We are using DHCD’s Downtown Investment Grant (D.I.G.) funds to distribute S.O.S. Grant Rounds Two and Three,” Howe said. “In addition, we are building downtown’s capacity for economic vitality through marketing upgrades that will benefit small businesses. We are able to accomplish this by leveraging the state funding with other private funders’ gifts and in-kind assistance.”

DHCD refers to Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development, which administers all Virginia Main Street grants.

The Franklin Rotary Club contributed the funds for the first round of S.O.S. grants. In the first two rounds, the grant limit for individual businesses was capped at $1,000 based on available funding and the projected number of eligible applicants. According to Howe, if a business received grant funds in either round, it is still eligible for Round Three.

“It typically takes two to three weeks to receive disbursement from DHCD/VMS,” Howe said. “Once received, DFA will initiate the process and distribute to eligible applicants. Hopefully this will transpire by the end of August or early September.”

The grant money may be spent on a number of authorized uses, including rent, mortgages, utilities, marketing and advertising and other operating expenses.

“It’s fairly broad, due to COVID-19 bringing business to a standstill,” Howe said.