April 30 – During this time of unprecedented economic hardship, local banks and community organizations have banded together to launch a new grant program in order to stabilize Capital Region small businesses.

The COVID-19 Small Business Continuity Grant Programwill award small businesses up to $20,000 to help them stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. Small businesses can use the grant funds to make payroll, pay bills, and keep their operations going.

The program has been funded through generous donations from Neil and Jane Golub, the Capital Region Chamber, Berkshire Bank, Citizens Bank, KeyBank, as well as other municipalities and community organizations. The grant program will be administered by the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region.

“This pandemic has directly impacted our entire community,” said Neil Golub. “Maintaining the strength of our small business community through this health and economic crisis will help ensure the Capital Region’s sustainability now and over the long-term.” Golub continued, “We are honored to support the Small Business Continuity Grant Program.”

“Small businesses are particularly hard hit by the economic shutdown driven by COVID-19. This grant program will provide direct assistance to small businesses that need it the most.” said Mark Eagan, president and CEO of the Capital Region Chamber. “We are in this together and the Capital Region will rebound with strength and vitality.”

“We are so pleased to assist the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region with its efforts to support small businesses with critical grant funding during this unprecedented crisis. We applaud the Community Loan Fund for always supporting our small business community, especially underserved populations, as they are the economic lifeblood of the Capital Region. We look forward to continued partnership,” Lori Kiely, director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation.

Unlike other assistance programs, which have tended to favor bigger companies, this grant program focuses exclusively on businesses with 50 employees or less, right in the Capital Region. Small businesses with a physical commercial storefront located in the Capital Region, or contractor/gig workers who are based in the area, who have experienced at least a 10-25% revenue loss due to COVID-19 are encouraged to apply.

“Every business in our community is important,” says Linda MacFarlane, Executive Director of the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region. “We know businesses owned by women, minorities, and people of low-income have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic and we want to ensure that every business gets the support it needs to stay open and contribute to the success of this region.”

“Small businesses are a vital engine of the Upstate New York economy so it is critical that we both give them an immediate leg up and bolster their long term viability,” said Ted Smith, President, Upstate New York Region, Citizens Bank. “We are pleased to join with the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region to provide much needed support to help businesses stabilize amidst the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“The spread of COVID-19 is impacting all of us in all of our communities,” said Ruth Mahoney, president, Capital Region, KeyBank. “Together we must stand up to help protect and support our region’s small businesses and nonprofits. KeyBank is proud to join other regional partners in contributing to the Community Loan Fund’s effort to ensure that those who need relief in our communities have access to it.”

Small businesses can apply for the grant program through the Community Loan Fund website. Applications will be reviewed by a local steering committee, and decisions will be made as quickly as possible to ensure swift delivery of funds. To learn more and apply, please visit: https://mycommunityloanfund.org/covid-emergency-grants/

About the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region:The Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region is a non-profit community development financial institution serving the Capital Region of New York State — Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington Counties. Incorporated in 1985, its mission is to promote sustainable community development efforts for economically underserved people and communities with a focus on women, minorities, and people of low-income.