STAFF REPORT – With nearly 200 requests for funding continuing to arrive and checks being processed to those in need, the BGWC Emergency Relief Fund is turning its attention to raising additional funds to help the effort.
“We knew the need would be great,” said President Vicky Winterer, “and we are committed to helping as many individuals and businesses as possible.”
The Boca Grande Woman’s Club established the $250,000 Relief Fund in early April to provide immediate relief for the economic hardships incurred due to the shuttering of businesses and all economic activity in order to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Almost immediately following the announcement of the Relief Fund, several generous donors anonymously contributed an additional $125,000 as a matching challenge grant.
To date, more than $100,000 of the challenge has been met through new donations from the community.
“We are now asking your help to meet this challenge,” said Winterer. “Many people in our community are facing tough times as restaurants and retail shops have closed, fishing charters have cancelled, visitors to the island have stopped coming, and a myriad of other services stopped due to social distancing. While the nation is talking about returning to work, our local businesses and employees will not be able to make up for these lost months.”
Contributions may be sent to BGWC Emergency Relief Fund, P.O. Box 65, Boca Grande, FL 33921. Tax deductible contributions must be received by May 1, 2020 to qualify for matching funds.
The Task Force will continue to accept requests for emergency funding until May 1st. The application form on the website bocagrandewomansclub.org must be completed to be considered for financial assistance. It may be submitted by mail to P.O. Box 65, Boca Grande 33921 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals and businesses must have a direct connection to Boca Grande to be considered eligible for funding.
To date, there have been nearly 150 grants approved. There are five levels of grants. These have been awarded to chefs, servers and bartenders, housekeepers, trainers and stylists, shop owners, fishing captains, and other employees who have been laid off during these critical months.
The Task Force recognizes the need for longer-term assistance offered in the programs created by the Cares Act known as the PPP and the EIDL, State of Florida Unemployment Compensation, the Florida Bridge Loan Program. A concise explanation of these programs was drafted along with links to the application process. These have been added to the Woman’s Club website along with a webinar that verbally explains the programs and process. Furthermore, two volunteers have stepped up to assist with these applications. Visit bocagrandewomansclub.org. This comprehensive support is offered to our businesses and workforce along with a grant.