TRAVERSE CITY — Venture North received a $50,000 award from the Consumers Energy Foundation to support small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Venture North’s Regional Resiliency Fund began with a $200,000 award from the Foundation, the charitable arm of Consumers Energy. The Regional Resiliency Fund provides grants of up to $5,000 to area businesses with nine or fewer employees for a wide range of expenses.

The fund recently awarded a fourth round of grants, according to a release from Traverse Connect. Awards from the Consumers Energy Foundation, businesses and individuals have allowed the fund to award $348,515 to 139 small businesses.

“We cannot sufficiently express the gratitude of our entire region to the Consumers Energy Foundation,” Venture North Executive Director Laura Galbraith said in the release. “We will expand the Resiliency Fund, with additional support from our founding funder, to additional areas in the region and provide resources to help connect small businesses with other sources of financial and technical assistance.”

“Since March, the Consumers Energy Foundation has provided over $3.8 million to Michigan nonprofit organizations to respond to COVID-19,” Consumers Energy Foundation President Brandon Hofmeister said in the release.

“When Venture North came to us with ideas for expanding services, we wanted to support them while encouraging other funders to collaborate with us to expand their impact.”

According to the release, more than 300 businesses in 10 northern Michigan counties have sought more than $1.3 million in grants from Venture North, which Galbraith said shows “the severity of the crisis.”

More information about Venture North is available at www.venturenorthfunding.org.

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