ENCINITAS — In a swift response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s three MainStreet associations have created a fund to help small businesses stay afloat.
Leucadia 101, Encinitas 101 and Cardiff 101 MainStreet associations, in partnership with the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Foundation and the Harbaugh Foundation, aim to raise $100,000 to create the Encinitas Small Business Support Fund. The support fund was started by Annika Walden, the executive director at Leucadia 101 Mainstreet.
Business owners are encouraged to apply for grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, which will be made available once the fund reaches $100,000.
The Harbaugh Foundation, a grant-making charitable foundation, has pledged a dollar-for-dollar match of the first $30,000 in donations to the small business fund.
“This is an investment right back into our community to ensure our local businesses will survive,” Harbaugh Foundation Director Joe Balla said in a news release. “We anticipate all kinds of donors. It could be a sixth-grader contributing $5 of allowance money because $5 will become $10. Or it could be $2,000 from a thriving local business. We anticipate and encourage wide community support for our small business community.”
The groups say leveraging initial donations with matching funds from the Harbaugh Foundation will accelerate the growth of the Small Business Support Fund. Additionally, the process for applying for a grant was designed to be simple, fast and straight forward.
“To get government assistance, the biggest issue small businesses face is red tape,” Walden said in a release. “This will be different.”
When the application period begins, business owners will complete a single-page online form. Once submitted, a panel of MainStreet representatives and a select committee will score the applications. Reviewers will examine the financial status of the applying businesses and give extra consideration to those most at-risk of closing their doors.
According to Irene Pyun, executive director of Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association, the fund will help businesses with more immediate costs, such as rent, employee compensation and any other costs incurred due to the closure of their business.
Residents have told Pyun they appreciate living in Encinitas because of the unique collection of small businesses that bring life to Coast Highway 101. Pyun said donating to the Encinitas Support Fund will support the longevity of those businesses.
“The business community in Encinitas is experiencing a very big downturn and things are happening quickly,” Pyun said. “If we don’t support them now, it will look like a different town once we are allowed to leave our quarantined spaces. Many businesses will be gone and the fabric of downtown will be changed requiring years of rebuilding.”
In these unprecedented and uncertain times, Pyun wants to remind people to practice thoughtful spending.
“The next time you spend money, think of where that dollar is going and if it will directly contribute to your community,” she said.
Learn more at www.encinitassupportfund.com
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