CHAMBER OF COMMERCE DOLES OUT FIRST ROUND OF SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF FUNDS

The Small Business Relief Fund awarded more than $60,000 to 18 businesses Tuesday. The fund is a partnership between the Chamber and the Community Foundation of West Alabama.

The Small Business Relief Fund includes donations from a range of entities, including local businesses. Recipients are selected by a committee of business and community leaders. Chamber board president Bobby Bragg said it won’t be long at all until disbursements are made.

“We expect more to be given out by the end of this week,” he said. “We are bringing it in and giving it out as soon as we can. The Community Foundation is really helping on that front. They are tax-deductible dollars going into the fund and we are getting those out into the hands of small business owners.”

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While the Chamber runs a “shop local” campaign year-round, efforts to support local area businesses drastically increased as COVID-19 causes swaths of shutdowns.

“It’s ‘shop local,’ it’s ‘eat local,’ it’s now ‘pick up local,’ you name it. We need to do it local,” Bragg said. “Whether it’s even ‘give local’ for that matter, the more dollars we can keep in our community, the better leverage we have on those dollars to really help out our neighbors. Ultimately, that’s who we’re talking about: friends and neighbors.”

Bragg said the Chamber expects to make additional disbursements later this week. To donate to the Small Business Relief Fund or apply to receive assistance, visit tuscaloosachamber.com.

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