The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and Saginaw Future Inc. (SFI) have announced the Consumers Energy Foundation will contribute $200,000 to assist Saginaw County small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Grants between $1,000 and $2,000 will be made to as many qualifying businesses as possible.
“The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Saginaw Future Inc. to help provide vital financial aid to Saginaw County’s small businesses. The additional support provided by the Consumers Energy Foundation is an inspirational example of how the Saginaw community has always rallied during difficult times to support each other,” said Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce President Veronica Horn. “We are happy to be able to continue funding some additional grant applications from the previous process because of the very generous contributions of the Consumers Energy Foundation.”
In mid-March, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved the Michigan Small Business Relief Program and 125 Saginaw County small businesses received grants. The Saginaw Community Foundation and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) have also provided loans to a group of small businesses, leaving approximately 550 applicants. These applicant scores will be reviewed and targeted for the Consumers Energy Foundation funds.
“Saginaw Future was honored to help the MEDC with the Michigan Small Business Relief program process, which provided 125 small businesses in Saginaw County with an average grant of $1,600 per business,” said Saginaw Future Inc. President JoAnn Crary. “We are grateful to the Consumers Energy Foundation, which will enable us to provide funds to grant applicants from that process. SFI will continue to serve the business and economic development of Saginaw County through innovative partnerships, access to information, reopening strategies and support programs designed to help the community and region through this pandemic and beyond.”
In total, the Consumers Energy Foundation is donating $1.8 million to nine organizations to provide a lifeline to small businesses across Michigan – focusing in particular on helping female- and minority-owned businesses. In all, the Foundation has given over $3 million to meet the needs of Michigan residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and have been significantly impacted during this unprecedented time,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “Consumers Energy is committed to helping Michigan’s small business community succeed now, more than ever. We are making an investment in our communities, business owners, workers and their families, and a commitment to help power through together.”
The Consumers Energy Foundation’s contribution is part of an effort to help small business customers in this time of need. Consumers Energy is promoting a hotline, 800-805-0490, and www.ConsumersEnergy.com/smallbusinessrelief to provide meaningful and immediate help.