Cambridge Local First

A resource guide for Mass. businesses during coronavirus outbreak

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By Hilary Burns  – Associate Editor, Boston Business Journal

Mar 19, 2020, 5:39am EDT Updated Jul 7, 2020, 4:11pm EDT. Read the full article here.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world swiftly and drastically. Businesses across the commonwealth are doing their best to keep employees and customers safe, but that comes at a price. Companies across industries are bracing for slowdowns in business, which could lead to layoffs or permanent closures. Nonprofits, industry groups, government agencies and other organizations are coming together to support businesses and their employees during this crisis with resources including loan and grant programs, networking and other efforts to offer support.

The Boston Business Journal has compiled this resource list to help businesses during the outbreak, a list that is likely to grow and change over the coming weeks and months. We will update this list regularly, so please check back. And if you come across other resources, email me at hilaryburns@bizjournals.com.


STATE & LOCAL LEVEL

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

  • Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced a $2 million small-business relief fund to assist companies directly impacted by revenue losses and closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Baker-Polito Administration has started a new $20 million, statewide fund to assist low-income households facing difficulty making rent and mortgage payments. The Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance program will provide direct funding to eligible households who have suffered financial hardship during the State of Emergency put in place to combat the spread of Covid-19.
  • The Foundation for MetroWest has granted over $1.25 million in emergency funds to community organizations since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
  • Tufts Health Plan has launched an Employee Relief Fund to support employees who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and are experiencing financial hardship, including the loss of a job by someone in their household. Eligible employees can apply for $1,000 grants to cover essential living expenses, such as rent or mortgage, utilities and certain medical costs. The foundation also approved an additional $900,000 on June 29 for organizations helping with the recovery of the pandemic.
  • After launching her Family Relief Fund, Boston City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia has now secured another $50,000 in partnership with The Shlomo Fund to help support small businesses and families.
  • To inspire support for Massachusetts General Hospital’s Emergency Response Fund, Donald Sussman — founder and chief investment officer of Paloma Partners, a Connecticut-based hedge fund — announced a $1 million challenge, pledging to match donations dollar-for-dollar to provide resources for the hospital’s frontline efforts to combat COVID-19.
  • Cambridge Savings Bank is giving grants to seniors who are unable to leave their homes due to mobility challenges or COVID-19 concerns and to employees who have had their hours reduced or their workplace closed.
  • Delta Dental of Massachusetts announced its contribution of $2 million to the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation COVID-19 Recovery Fund, established to support the continued viability of community dental offices and dentists across the Commonwealth following the extended COVID-19 shutdown.
  • The Delta Dental of Massachusetts Provider Advance Payment Program will provide critical aid to current, independent dentists and oral surgeons working in DDMA network practices across the state. Delta Dental’s commitment between these programs is about $25 million to employers and dentists.
  • The Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts launched the “Futures Fund”, a $3 million COVID-19 Relief Fund for providing financial support to small business members of both organizations. It will be funded and facilitated by Berkshire Bank.
  • The Boston Center for the Arts has partnered with the City of Boston to create a COVID-19 Artist Relief Fund to help artists impacted by pandemic.
  • Boston Singers’ Relief Fund is offering emergency relief for classical singers with gigs cancelled due to COVID-19. Applications are being accepted for a second round of emergency relief funding.
  • Loans of up to $20,000 are available to small businesses reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the North Central Massachusetts Development Corp.
  • MainVest in Salem has launched “the Main Street Initiative“ — $2,000, zero-interest cash loans to small businesses affected by coronavirus-related closures.
  • Tufts Health Plan Foundation is making an additional $1 million available to efforts driven by community and to nonprofit organizations supporting older people affected by the coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut.
  • New Balance Foundation has committed $2 million in nonprofit grants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support local, regional and global communities.
  • Facebook said that the Boston area will be awarded $625,000 of 125 grants for small businesses. Applications will open April 22 for two weeks. Businesses in the Boston area can now go to facebook.com/grantsforbusiness check their eligibility and get more details on the program, including the application guide.
  • Life Science Cares, a nonprofit that organizes biopharma executives and employees to give back to the community, announced $230,000 in grants to support organizations providing food, shelter and medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization later rallied 600 area biopharma executives and employees to raise $1.8 million to be granted weekly to organizations that provide food, shelter and medical care. 33 nonprofits have received between $5,000 and $125,000 each in relief grants. Grant distribution will continue through the summer until the fund is disbursed.
  • State House News Service reported that Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch plans to start a grant program to help small businesses in the city to pay their rents, according to Quincy Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tim Cahill. The City’s Small Business Emergency Grant Program has awarded 376 small business owners with a combined total of nearly $2.5M in grant funds to help pay for rent, mortgage and other operating expenses during this time of need.

SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT

  • Boston’s economic development office has created a number of resources for small business owners, including a financial relief handbook and a coronavirus FAQ for businesses.
  • The AG’s Office launched an online assistance page for small businesses, including information on available grants and loans, guidance on insurance coverage, rent abatements, options to cut expenses, mortgage relief and access to free legal assistance. Small businesses are also encouraged to fill out an online form to share their experience navigating options during this crisis.
  • INFUSEmedia is offering its services free to small businesses that have been impacted by Covid-19.
  • Flywire, a vertical payments company in Boston, announced the Flywire Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit focused on improving equality, access, and affordability for underrepresented individuals in the global communities it operates in.
  • Coverys, a provider of medical professional liability insurance, announced the Coverys Community Healthcare Foundation will donate $2 million to organizations supporting front-line healthcare workers during the pandemic to address food assistance, personal protective equipment, access to emotional support, and availability of childcare for healthcare workers, first responders and their families.
  • Price Rite Marketplace announced its annual Check-Out Hunger fundraising campaign has raised more than $131,000 for area food banks. Price Rite Marketplace of Fall River was the top fundraising store, raising more than $14,000 during the campaign for The Greater Boston Food Bank.
  • SAVVI Financial is offering employees free access to the COVID Relief Planning Assistant which provides short-term financial planning for those who have been laid off, furloughed or working reduced hours.
  • Stop & Shop recently made a $285,000 donation to the Greater Boston Food Bank, as part of its 30th annual Food For Friends Campaign. Throughout the month-long campaign, customers donated at checkout to support local food pantry and food bank hunger relief efforts as a result of COVID-19 across all 400+ Stop & Shop stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. Proceeds from the campaign, which reached over $1 million were distributed amongst Stop & Shop’s 13 regional food bank partners.
  • The New England Consortium is offering free trainings on how to keep essential workers safe. The New England Consortium (TNEC), a model hazardous waste and emergency response worker health and safety training institute based at UMass Lowell, held its first two-hour workshop on April 9 by interactive videoconference.
  • The Massachusetts Building Trades Council (MBTC) has made its covid-19 Resource Center available in Spanish to ensure even more workers and their families have the information they need to mitigate chances of getting infected or spreading the virus while at work.
  • MathWorks, the Natick-based developer of software for scientists and engineers, has donated $1 million to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Combating COVID-19 Fund, a $250 million initiative to work on COVID-19 globally.  
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts started a campaign called “We Are Mighty, Massachusetts,” to showcase the incredible acts of kindness and bravery from healthcare workers on the front lines to those making deliveries to our most vulnerable populations, and invites residents to highlight individuals doing good in their communities by using the hashtag #WeAreMightyMA on social media. The health plan also previously committed over $2 million dollars to COVID-19 community relief efforts across the state.
  • Associated Industries of Massachusetts put together a page with resources and free content for employers.
  • The SBA’s Massachusetts office is hosting training webinars for resource partners/lenders and small businesses on the SBA EIDL loan program, among other resources.
  • The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is asking professionals to donate their skills and time in areas such as legal, financial strategy, accounting, human Resources and marketing and communications to help small businesses during the pandemic. To be matched with a small business in need of help, the Chamber said to send emails to memberservices@bostonchamber.com.
  • ICIC has outlined resources by city and state to help small businesses. It also has a national small business resource center.
  • Mass Cultural Council’s Safe Harbors Initiative is a three-pronged package of support for cultural nonprofits to encourage access to COVID-19 assistance offered through the federal government and help organizations understand their current financial challenges and craft a responsible strategy forward.
  • Syrg, a Boston-based startup, has created a website as a free resource for hourly workers who’ve been laid off or had their hours reduced during the pandemic.
  • Cambridge Local First has organized conference calls for local businesses and launched a petition urging the federal government to help Main Street businesses.
  • A coalition of law firms, nonprofits and government agencies — led by Ropes & Gray and pro bono partners Lawyers for Civil Rights and Lawyers Clearinghouse — has launched the COVID Relief Coalition to provide vulnerable businesses and mission-driven organizations with pro bono legal support. The coalition also launched a new website to help small businesses and nonprofits learn about and apply for emergency loans and other sources of relief.
  • The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network has compiled a list of resources, policy updates, and philanthropy/government-led relief efforts to aid nonprofits in responding to COVID-19. This list is updated daily.
  • For parents caring for children at home, the Boston Children’s Museum is offering free online resources for parents and caregivers to use at home during this time of social distancing. And the New England Aquarium also has online programming, and recently did a live-streamed feeding of Myrtle the Turtle.
  • Curriculum Associates created a new webpage with access to over 350 free reading and math activities for K-8 students. New content will be added frequently.
  • The COVID-19 Response Fund is being set up to provide flexible resources to nonprofits serving those who have been affected financially by the pandemic in the Pioneer Valley.
  • MassMutual launched MassMutual HealthBridge, which will provide free term life insurance to frontline healthcare workers across Massachusetts and Connecticut.

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