The Sonoma Valley Rotary Foundation has awarded just over $100,000 to 134 local businesses with grants ranging from $500 to nearly $1,500 to help those businesses cope with the economic effects from the Covid-19 pandemic. The money came from $50,000 raised by Sonoma Rotarians and then matched with $50,000 from Sonoma Valley Catalyst Fund.
For a second round, Rotary has begun raising another $50,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to match an additional $50,000 from Sonoma Valley Catalyst Fund.
Dub Hay, Rotarian and development co-chair of Sonoma Valley Catalyst Fund said, “Grants have gone to companies in a wide range of industries. Not surprisingly, the requests reflected industries hardest hit by the shutdowns. Ten retailers, eight wine-related companies, 10 catering or food services companies, 19 restaurants, 32 beauty service providers top the list of recipients. We’ve also helped massage therapists, fitness professionals, tradespeople, and more.”
The Sonoma Sun received a $1,000 grant, which will be used to cover printing costs for the January 21 issue.
The Rotary grants committee meets twice each week to review applications. The committee emails recipients the following day regarding the amount granted, and mails checks to recipients that day, as well.
Though the foundation has awarded the initial $100,000 for small business grants, Rotary has begun raising another $50,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to match an additional $50,000 from Sonoma Valley Catalyst Fund.
“Businesses need as much help as we can give, so we’re excited to make a second round of funding available,” said Hay. “We’ve already raised almost $30,000 for the Rotary side. We’re asking people in Sonoma to help us help our local businesses. People can contribute two ways—through the website at https://www.gofundme.com/f/rotary-catalyst-fund. Or they can mail a check to Sonoma Valley Rotary Foundation, which is a 501(c)3, at PO Box 923, Sonoma, 95476.”
“Will the money we provide ensure the businesses will still be operating after Covid is controlled? We simply don’t know. What we do know is that we’re offering these small businesses a life jacket of hope. We’re letting them know the community cares about them,” Hay added.
To request a grant, businesses can download and complete a simple one-page form from the Rotary Club website, SonomaValleyRotary.org. Then businesses can submit the application along with a copy of the business license to [email protected]. The Rotary committee responds quickly.