Grand Foundation grant fund awards almost $400K to small businesses |

Grand Foundation grant fund awards almost $400K to small businesses

When the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered restaurants in Colorado, Fontenot’s co-owner Chris Moore said the Winter Park restaurant had just prepared for spring break crowds by stocking up on food and beverages. 

Facing large food bills on top of regular payments, Moore applied for a small business emergency grant from the Grand Foundation.

“We got on it really quick and I think it was the first time we’ve had to ask for help in 30 years due to the nature of (the pandemic),” Moore said. “They helped pay some outstanding utility bills.”

With the utility bills paid, the restaurant is able to focus on offering take-out during normal business hours and preparing to reopen once allowed. 

The restaurant is one of 191 applications to the small business emergency grant fund, which as of April 24 had given out $391,831 to Grand County businesses.

“We’ve awarded out over $382,000 and that equates to … over 1,100 employees affected by that,” said Megan Ledin, executive director of the Grand Foundation.

So far, the fund has raised $540,000, with Grand County, Winter Park and Fraser contributing $100,000, Mountain Parks Electric donating $90,000, Granby contributing $50,000, Grand Foundation allocating $30,000, Grand Lake giving $25,000 and Kremmling providing $15,000.

Anonymous donors have also contributed money to the fund.

Between three rounds of applications, the fund has awarded $391,831. Businesses in Winter Park received $142,012, those in Fraser received $88,833, Granby businesses got $59,530, Grand Lake businesses got $51,604, county businesses received $27,384 and those in Kremmling received $22,474.

The fund mainly helps businesses with rent, mortgage and utility payments and doesn’t provide money directly to the businesses to ensure accountability.

“I do feel like we’re filling in the big chunks to sustain them through this time,” said Catherine Ross, executive director of the Winter Park Fraser Chamber of Commerce and a committee member for the small business emergency grant fund. “We’re helping them with hard costs and we’re being transparent with public dollars.”

Ledin added that the Grand Foundation continues to try and grow the fund to meet the demand from businesses, especially since the federal Payment Protection Program has run out of funding.

“We have another 25 applications for our fourth round already,” Ledin told the Winter Park Council on Tuesday. “With the PPP being out of money for now… we’ve definitely seen an uptick in applications coming in.”

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