Information & Resources for Downtowns during COVID-19
Here you'll find funding resources independent from state and local government.
AssistHer Emergency Relief Grant - This fund was designed to assist Texas, woman-owned businesses that have been severely impacted by Covid-19. $1 million (100 grants of $10,000) is available.
Support Local is an initiative by Gannett, a news media corporation that includes USA Today and multiple other brands. Businesses and customers can add businesses located anywhere in the US.
Creative Capital - This organization is supportive of all the creative sectors. Staff have been compiling resources for artists, writers, freelancers, and more. Click here for information
Facebook is offering $100 million in grants for ad credits and cash support. Click here for information
MusiCares - The Recording Academy and its foundation MusiCares have announced creation of the COVID-19 Fund to support the music industry. Click here for information
MainVest - If you have an existing business that has been negatively effected by the coronavirus outbreak, you may be eligible to immediately receive a $2,000 zero-interest loan* when you start a capital raise. You can raise over $100,000 of investment from your community on Mainvest. Learn more
Austin Creative Alliance has established The Artists Emergency Relief Fund to help artists in Greater Austin maintain their personal and financial stability in these uncertain times. Artists may apply for up to $500 to replace verifiable lost income due to the cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity (i.e. commissions, performances, contracts) due to Coronavirus/COVID-19 precautionary measures. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis, and are subject to approval and available funds. Click here for information
Resources for Small Businesses
This section includes links to information about preparedness and recovery, marketing, advice for owners, and more.
Institute for Local Self-Reliance has a small business toolkit.
Corona Virus Main Street Resources - Main Street America
COVID-19 Resources - International Downtown Association
Small Business Relief Programs - Forbes
Google for Small Business has tips for updating digital profiles and communicating with customers and employees.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act - This legislation will take effect on April 1, 2020 and will impact small businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees can apply for exemption.
Kaiser Family Foundation - summary of key provisions
National Law Review - tips for small business owners
US Chamber of Commerce - what you need to know
Temporary Assistance for Restaurant & Bar Employees
Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation – List of resources
Southern Smoke is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit offering support to the food and beverage industry in crisis. The organization was founded in 2017. Application
Furlough Kitchen in Dallas is a nonprofit providing meals to hospitality industry workers.
US Chamber of Commerce
Small Business Preparedness Expanded Guide
Coronavirus Response Toolkit from the US Chamber of Commerce
3/50 Project - Free graphics and information.
American Independent Business Alliance - Free graphics and information.
Ideas from other communities
Historic Downtown McKinney is using their electric passenger shuttle to deliver food and more from downtown businesses to local residents.
Blue Baker in College Station is selling Baker Bonds, to be redeemed in the future, as a way to support their staff and business now.
The Cen-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce in Waco has created a community-wide small business bingo game. Customers are invited to connect 5 squares and be entered into a drawing for a $250 gift basket.
Visit Beaufort (SC) has created a scavenger hunt featuring local landmarks. Find them on Instagram @visit_beaufortsc.
Corinth (MS) has created a mile long walking tour featuring 60 different sights. They've developed a pdf guide that people can download from their website.
Denton Main Street is maintaining a list on their website of downtown business offerings and hours.
Corpus Christi Downtown Management District and the City of Waxahachie are allowing downtown businesses to block spaces for curbside pickup.
CivicBrand has created blank Instagram story templates for both cities/districts and customers of small businesses. Just add your location tag at top and then tag local businesses.
The Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce (IA) started a campaign called Buy-In Clear Lake to encourage support for local businesses. When a customer spends $20 they get a gift card for $30. The program is being supported by other residents and businesses. So far they've raised over $25,000 for small businesses.
The #RustonGiftCardChallenge (Ruston, LA) is an online campaign to support local. Individuals are challenged to buy a gift card from a local business, share on social media, and challenge two friends to do the same.
Forney EDC is sponsoring meals for first responders via local restaurants.
Commercial Bank of Texas is extending payments and working with small businesses owners during the crisis in communities across the state.
A Louisiana grocery chain is featuring dishes from shuttered New Orleans restaurants.
Rally for Restaurants encourages people to purchase gift cards from local restaurants and challenge friends to do the same.
Freckericksburg City Manager Kent Myers has relaxed code enforcement of certain regulationsthat don't impact public health or safety, like allowing businesses to erect banners to advertise to go and delivery food options without acquiring a permit from the City.
Rosalind Coffee in Downtown Garland has started a program that allows customers to sponsor barista shifts or donate tips to staff.
Mexia EDC created a graphic with tips for small businesses and their digital profile.
Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation is splitting the tab on employee lunches for small business for orders of $100 or more. (Does not include alcohol or gratuity).
Something Social in Georgetown is creating prints of the small businesses in the area. All proceeds from sales go to support the businesses.
Another Georgetown resident created an extensive list of what restaurants are offering take out and delivery services.
Multiple cities across the US have developed programs to assist local artists, as outlined in this article from Next City
Round Rock has started a fund to support local small businesses. The City, Round Rock Community Foundation, Round Rock Chamber of Commerce, and Dell Technologies each contributed $25,000 and encourage the community to contribute as well.
Other communities are sharing information about what products businesses have in stock and how customers can arrange delivery or curbside pickup.
We are compiling different ideas that can be shared among downtowns. Email us to share what's working in your community so we can add to the list.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA assistance will be available to municipalities related to costs associated with the COVID-19 response.
Click here to view a presentation (slides) from the SBA about disaster loans, how to apply, and more.
Texas State Agencies & Organizations
Here you'll find links to state agencies and other statewide organizatiaons so you can connect with available resources.
Texas Department of Agriculture
The Texas Department of Agriculture announced deadline extensions on March 18 for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, the Colonia Fund-Construction, and the Texas Capital Fund.