TRAVERSE CITY — The newly-formed Regional Resiliency Fund received more than 250 grant applications from small businesses in Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a release, 262 grant requests were submitted seeking $1,117,862. The initial fund balance is $200,000.

The Regional Resiliency Fund was formed to “provide a financial lifeline with grants of $5,000 or $2,500” to businesses with nine or fewer employees three counties. The fund was created from a grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation.

Venture North and advisers from the three counties plan to make grant awards for the initial round of funding the week of June 15.

“We were not surprised by the need for help,” Venture North Executive Director Laura Galbraith said in the release. She added that the “pandemic hit those businesses like a tsunami that no one could have anticipated.”

Grand Traverse County businesses submitted 150 grant applications totaling $657,362. Leelanau County businesses submitted 60 applications for $272,500 and Benzie County had 52 applications seeking $188,000.

According to the release, grant funds were requested for staffing expenses, new equipment, software for online ordering, personal protection equipment and inventory.

Regional Resiliency Fund officials made an appeal for additional funding in the release.

“While times are tough, we are seeking to raise more funding from all sources, ranging from foundations to businesses to private donors,” Galbraith said in the release. “All funds donated or awarded are dedicated to the needs defined by small businesses.”

“We hope that organizations and individuals will seriously consider financial contributions to the Regional Resilience Fund at a level that is comfortable for them,” added Emily Heston, program advisor from Leelanau County.

Even without a guarantee on funding available, Galbraith encouraged businesses to keep applying for assistance from the Regional Resiliency Fund as well as federal programs like the Paycheck Protection Program.

More information about the Regional Resiliency Fund is available at https://traverseconnect.com/our-region/regional-resiliency-fund.

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