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West Hartford’s Small Business and Non-Profit Recovery Grant Program Reopens

West Hartford Town Hall. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Town Council approved use of American Rescue Plan Act funds to support a Small Business and Nonprofit Recovery Grant Program, and the next phase of the program will begin Nov. 1, 2022. 

By Ronni Newton

The Town of West Hartford has established a Small Business and Nonprofit Recovery Grant Program to assist local businesses that were adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic or expended resources for new or enhanced programs to directly respond to the negative effects of the pandemic, and because funds remain after the first award period, the program will reopen to applications on Nov. 1, 2022.

In late June, the West Hartford Town Council unanimously approved the allocation of $2 million of the town’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the grant program. West Hartford businesses or nonprofits with 50 or fewer full-time employees, that have been operating in town since at least Jan. 1, 2020, and that meet the other eligibility requirements were eligible to apply for a one-time grant of up to $10,000.

Two information sessions were held over the summer to assist applicants and respond to questions, and thus far there have been 134 grant requests received according to Town Manager Rick Ledwith.

Funds will be distributed soon to all whose requests have been approved, and some applications are still pending following a request for additional information. At least $800,000 will remain in the program, however, and officials plan to continue to award grants and will keep the program open until the entire $2 million allocation is exhausted, so as many businesses and nonprofits as possible can be assisted in their recovery from the pandemic.

“The Recovery Grant program helps our businesses and nonprofits regain their strength so they can thrive and prosper for years to come,” Kristen Gorski, Town of West Hartford economic development coordinator, said in a statement.

“Now that the program has been in operation for a few months, we wanted to reintroduce the grant program to make sure businesses knew they could take advantage of this fantastic financial opportunity,” Gorski added.

“The health and vitality of our community is dependent upon our small business and nonprofit sectors succeeding,” Mayor Shari Cantor said in a statement. “We understand how difficult and unpredictable these past few years have been for these organizations. They have worked tirelessly to keep things going and we hope this grant opportunity will provide some much needed relief.”

The grant program will provide reimbursement in two eligible categories, and businesses and organizations can apply for a total of $10,000 in either category, or both if applicable:

  • COVID-19 Relief Assistance Grant – for businesses of organizations that can demonstrate negative impacts from the COVID-19 public health emergency; and
  • New or Enhanced Program Assistance Grant – A new or enhanced program must meet the criteria of directly responding to the negative impact of COVID-19.

Details about the program, including specific eligibility requirements and the grant guidelines and application can be found on the town’s Economic Development webpage.

In addition, Denise Whitford, business advisor with Connecticut Small Business Development Center, will provide in-person free, confidential, one-on-one advising and assistance with the application process. She is available at Town Hall on Mondays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 860-576-5135 or email [email protected].

Questions about eligibility and program guidelines can also be emailed to [email protected].

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