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Small businesses can apply for Nevada County Relief Fund grants

Nevada County small businesses most impacted by the state stay-at-home order and the county’s move into the purple tier will be able to apply for $5,000 micro-loans starting today through Jan. 6.

Nevada County supervisors approved a $100,000 challenge grant to the Nevada County Relief Fund Tuesday that they are hoping will be matched by the community.

People can apply or donate at http://www.nevcorelief.org.

Previous rounds have raised nearly $800,000 in funding, including $100,000 from the supervisors opening grant and $250,000 directed from state Coronavirus Relief Funds.

“The county’s contribution to the Nevada County Relief Fund has really helped us tremendously with our fundraising efforts in our community,” Co-chair Leo Granucci told the board. “What we’ve learned from the first three rounds, is that as we approach a potential donor and they find out that the county and community is working as one team on this project, that really encourages their donations.”

While previous funding rounds were split between nonprofits and small businesses, this time local businesses most in need will be the sole focus. That includes restaurants, wineries, retailers and other industries directly impacted by the most recent COVID-19 restrictions.

The county also provided $1.5 million in grants to seven “anchor institutions” from its $10 million in state coronavirus relief funds in September.

This round will also have a streamlined application process, aided by software meant to distribute grants equitably across industries and throughout the county, Sierra Business Council Executive Director Kristin York said.

“Once we have the results of those applications, we will run the list through the oversight committee for approval at the community level and through community development at Nevada County to ensure compliance with regulations,” York told the board.

Businesses must be in compliance with public health guidelines to be eligible for the grants, which can be used for rent relief or other critical business expenses to keep them operating.

“It is our hope that this ‘challenge grant’ will spur renewed giving to help those businesses who are not only struggling to survive but who have demonstrated their commitment to implementing the necessary public health guidelines to protect their customers, staff, and the larger community,” said board Chair Heidi Hall.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

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