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Westchester County Awards $10 Million to Local Businesses, Nonprofits

County’s Business FIRST grant program supports organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may also go to YouTube to watch the full briefing.

White Plains, NY - The Westchester County Office of Economic Development has awarded a total of $10 million to 262 county-based small businesses and nonprofits facing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Recipients are located throughout cities, towns and villages in Westchester and include industries such as restaurants/food service; arts, entertainment and recreation; social services; education and more.

The funds are part of Westchester County Business FIRST: Financial Investments for Recovery and a Sustainable Tomorrow, a new grant program designed to offer immediate financial relief to organizations in Westchester County that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Latimer said: “These are difficult times and we recognized the need to be innovative to support our vital small-business and nonprofit communities. The tremendous response we received to this grant program is testament to that, and by providing this urgent financial assistance today we can help set the foundation for a sustainable future.”

Joining Latimer at the awards announcement were two of the recipients: Ellen Prior and Mark Morganelli of Jazz Forum Arts, a not-for-profit arts presenting organization in Tarrytown; and Maryanne Reda and Karen Bertolacci, owners of Clubhouse Social Stars LLC, an after-school social skills program in Hartsdale.

Jazz Forum Arts Associate Director Ellen Prior said: “Thank you to Westchester County and particularly the Office of Economic Development for this generous Business FIRST grant to Jazz Forum Arts.  We’re so grateful for the recognition that music - especially Jazz! - matters to Westchester’s quality of life during this challenging time.  Arts organizations everywhere are suffering and we are no different - our jazz club has been closed for eight months. While we’ve sustained our Westchester audience with livestream shows since the start of the pandemic, this grant will enable us to expand our online capacity - paying for world-class jazz and Brazilian musicians, technical staff and equipment - to provide joy and solace to folks throughout the county.  Again, thank you to our great County Executive, George Latimer and Bridget Gibbons, Director of Economic Development and their excellent staff for this generous grant.”

The grant program, launched in September, was open to businesses and nonprofits with 99 or fewer employees. Eligible entities could apply for up to $49,000 to cover expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, employee salaries or benefits, working capital, equipment and other COVID-19-related expenses. Applicants needed to meet a number of eligibility requirements and applications were accepted between Sept. 21 and Sept. 30, 2020.

Westchester County Director of Economic Development Bridget Gibbons said: “Westchester County values our small businesses and nonprofits and recognizes the many contributions they make here. As ‘The Catalyst’ for economic growth and vitality, the Office of Economic Development is here to support these organizations and help get our economy back on track.”

The Westchester County Business FIRST grant program is being administered by the County Office of Economic Development through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The County aims to provide more grants to local small businesses in the near future.

For more information on available county programs and assistance, go to westchestercatalyst.com/business-first-programs/