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Grant available to help small Pa. businesses

30-day fund made to assist firms struggling from virus

LEWISTOWN — As local small businesses slowly move toward finding a “new normal” for conducting business while under increased restrictions and reduced capacities, many are still struggling financially.

After being challenged with a question from his childhood friend who had created the Virginia 30 Day Fund, a Philadelphia resident and owner of a real estate development business, Jeff Bartos, decided to take action.

His friend had posed the question, “Ten years from now when you look back on this time, do you want to remember that you complained about your own business woes, or instead, do you want to remember that you called the statewide network you built, raised money, and helped save a lot of small businesses and their employees?”

Bartos, inspired by the question decided to take action and with the help of students from Penn Law and a board he assembled he founded The Pa. 30-Day Grant Fund. The program was launched May 7.

In the first eight weeks the Pa. 30-Day Fund has processed and reviewed more than 1,700 applications from small businesses across the commonwealth, raised more than $1.5 million and awarded $3,000 in forgivable loans to more than 360 small businesses in 34 counties with more being added daily.

According to the funds website, the non-profit Pennsylvania 30-Day Fund provides forgivable loans for Pennsylvania-based small businesses. The forgivable loan is intended to provide immediate financial assistance (within maximum three days) to meet payroll, preserve health care coverage for employees and save jobs while they await recently approved federal funding.

Pennsylvania businesses that qualify for assistance from the fund are:

¯Businesses that employ three to 30 people

¯Businesses based in Pennsylvania and have been operating for at least one year;

¯Businesses owned and operated by a Pennsylvania resident.

The funds dispersed to small businesses by the Pennsylvania 30-Day fund do not need to be repaid. If businesses who receive the fund’s assistance do, at a later date, wish to “pay it forward” to another Pennsylvania small business in need of assistance, they may do so by directing those dollars back to the fund, which will disburse the funding to another Pennsylvania business in need.

The Pennsylvania 30-Day Fund is designed to be quick, easy, and free of red tape, as small business owners work to keep employees on board in the near term. All they ask in return: if you can, pay it forward.

“It is a wide range (of businesses that are applying) we have barber shops, vegan bakeries , it’s mom and pop shops,” Shannon Hennessey, Account Coordinator with Slice Communications said. “It is a wide variety which is really great to see that it is able to affect all these different people.”

Bartos said the goal is to raise $3 million and help support 1,000 small businesses across Pennsylvania. So far donors have contributed from $3 to $1 million in a matching challenge grant.

“At this incredibly challenging time for everyone, small businesses are facing an extinction level event. The Pa. 30-Day Fund is an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to saving as many Pennsylvania-based small businesses as possible during this time,” Bartos said. “The generosity of people across Pa. has been awe-inspiring, and we are very grateful to the over 400 donors who have contributed.”

Even if businesses have received other funding they may still qualify for the Pa. 30-Day Fund as well. For more information on how this fund may be of assistance or to make a donation visit pa30dayfund.com or connect through Facebook and Twitter.

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