Continuing to take aggressive steps to deliver relief to San Diegans affected by COVID-19, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry announced on April 13 over $300,000 in private donations to kick start a new partnership that will expand the City’s Small Business Relief Fund and encourage more community support for small businesses as the demand for economic relief rises.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, and these businesses need our support more than ever,” Faulconer said. “With the help of generous corporate partners and San Diegans alike, we are expanding our Small Business Relief Fund to keep more businesses afloat during these turbulent times.”
Cal Coast Credit Union, GoFundMe and Qualcomm have each contributed $100,000 to launch a new initiative between the City, Cal Coast Cares Foundation and San Diego Grantmakers to encourage corporate partners and individual San Diegans to donate to the Small Business Relief Fund. The fund was created at Faulconer’s urging to provide grants and microloans to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Cal Coast is honored to partner with the City of San Diego to help local small businesses that are struggling with the fallout from the pandemic,” said Todd Lane, president and CEO of California Coast Credit Union. “Our community thrives when small businesses thrive. As the longest-serving financial institution in San Diego and the City’s financial partner, this relief fund is another way for us to continue giving back to the people, businesses and communities we serve.”
The announcement comes less than two weeks after thousands of business owners flooded the City’s website to apply for economic assistance made possible through the Small Business Relief Fund. More than 9,000 small businesses submitted applications for economic relief recently. The funds raised through this partnership will supplement the City’s contribution of more than $6 million.
Corporate partners and San Diegans are encouraged to make a contribution in any amount to the Cal Coast Cares Foundation and the funds will be distributed to small businesses in partnership with SD Grantmakers. The Cal Coast Cares Foundation is making its online giving platform available at no charge so 100 percent of the money collected goes to eligible businesses in need. San Diego Grantmakers will evaluate unfunded grant applications and administer the funds on behalf of Cal Coast Cares Foundation, in partnership with the City.
“Last week I spoke with a diverse group of small business owners including a toy store, restaurant and property owner,” said Councilmember Barbara Bry. “Right now, it's important to enhance the city's economic relief package to help more small businesses, the backbone of our economy, and to include those who are based and operated from their homes. COVID-19 is a health emergency that has created a financial emergency for many small businesses. That is why I'm asking those who can to consider donating to this fund. By uniting to help those in need, we set the foundation for a stronger San Diego.”
Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry’s complete remarks available here.
GoFundMe, the online philanthropy platform founded in San Diego, will amplify the initiative on its site to increase awareness and encourage more giving. Deloitte has contributed $25,000. Sweep, a local scooter management company with just 25 employees, has pledged $500 per month for a year. Chatmeter, another local small business, has also contributed $1,000.
“In times like these, philanthropic efforts lift up the generosity of our region,” said San Diego Grantmakers president and CEO Debbie McKeon. “San Diego Grantmakers is thankful for the mayor's leadership in launching San Diego's small business grant fund, such a critically important initiative. We are honored to join in support of small businesses, especially in communities most impacted, as they are essential to recovery efforts.”
The joint effort allows the City to expand the eligibility criteria for businesses that would otherwise not have been eligible under the City’s initial program due to stringent state and federal requirements. This new program will honor the eligibility criteria with several new options to allow relief for entrepreneurs and sole proprietors without employees.
The Small Business Relief Fund was created to provide certainty and offer support to local employers to sustain operations, retain employees and address unforeseen reductions in consumer demand and production. Financial assistance for the new program will range from $1,000 to $10,000 and will be allocated to eligible small businesses based on the availability of funds and program guidelines. To be eligible, businesses must meet the following requirements:
- Employ less than 100 full-time equivalent employees or independent contractors;
- Have a City of San Diego business tax certificate;
- Provide documentation that shows the business has been operational for at least six months;
- Provide proof of economic hardship due to COVID-19;
- Not have engaged in any illegal activity per local, state or federal regulations.
“It has always been our mission as a company to go the extra mile for this city. We believe that given the current trials facing San Diego and our world today it is more important than ever to honor this commitment,” said Sweep CEO Rich Branning. “In this spirit, Sweep has decided to pledge a monthly donation for the next year to the San Diego Small Business Fund to provide financial aid to small businesses during this crisis. San Diego is built on the backs of these great small businesses. Stay strong, San Diego!”
San Diegans interested in joining the California Health Corps are encouraged to visit sandiego.gov/coronavirus.
For more information on the California “Stay At Home” order, including what’s closed, what’s open and which industries are exempted by the state, please visit COVID19.ca.gov.
For information regarding COVID-19 cases and directives from County of San Diego public health officials, visit coronavirus-sd.com. Text “COSD COVID19” to 468-311 for text alert updates.