The Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce has launched a grant program to provide relief to small businesses in New Castle that have been hurt financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chamber has kicked off the New Castle ReStart initiative that hopes to help owners of brick-and-mortar businesses located within the town’s boundaries and businesses that have been deemed as non-essential under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive orders.
Applications for the first round of grants are due by Saturday night at midnight at www.newcastlerestart.com.
Chamber President Dawn Dankner-Rosen said that businesses can use any grant money that is received toward reopening expenses, new equipment or to comply with state-mandated safety protocols.
“It costs a lot of money to stay open and reopen, and people just need a little bit of a lifeline,” Dankner-Rosen said.
She estimated that grants would likely be up to the equivalent of one month of expenses.
Much of the initial funding for the effort, which was originally devised over the summer but needed to be postponed after the town was hard hit by Tropical Storm Isaias, was provided after local photographer Randi Childs donated $11,000 that she collected from her participation in the Front Porch Project, Dankner-Rosen said. The project saw Childs take portrait photos of homebound families on their property during the pandemic and donate the money that she collected from local residents.
Dankner-Rosen said the first round of grants will be awarded from the applications received through Oct. 10 from businesses that are most in need. Businesses must present proof of need, whether they have received financial assistance from other sources, including grants, loans and unemployment insurance, and outline how they would use the money.
Donations from the community and applications will continue to be accepted for future rounds of funding, she said.
The program was modeled after a similar initiative was started in Larchmont earlier this year, according to Dankner-Rosen. She said it has been highly successful in that community and the chamber hoped to launch and tailor its effort to fit New Castle’s needs.
While many observers look at restaurants and hotels as the hardest hit industries, many others have suffered during the past seven months.
“We really need to keep businesses open, and that’s not just restaurants,” Dankner-Rosen said. “I’m talking about small businesses. The restaurants aren’t the only ones that are important to our community. It’s other small businesses as well.”
The amount to be disbursed and the number of grants provided will depend on the level of donations along with any money that’s raised through other activities. Donations are tax-deductible and will provide direct assistance to those most in need.
Dankner-Rosen hopes that there can be ongoing community involvement.
“Quite frankly, it’s to everyone’s benefit,” she said. “Everyone’s real estate values will be maintained or go up if few have a thriving town and if we have thriving businesses. If we all let that go, the consequences could affect all of us.”
To learn more about New Castle ReStart, apply for a grant or to donate, visit www.newcastlerestart.com