By Brandon Martin
The Harvest Foundation is partnering with the Charlottesville-based Virginia 30 Day Fund to provide loans to small businesses struggling from the effects of the coronavirus.
“Help is on its way and it’s coming now,” said Pete Snyder, founder of the fund.
David Stone, chairman of the Harvest Foundation Board of Directors, explained that The Harvest Foundation will invest $1 million in honor of local healthcare workers and front line responders to the Virginia 30 Day Fund. The fund, in turn, will distribute forgivable loan awards of up to $3,000 to qualifying businesses.
“We know our local small businesses may need a small boost to come back,” Stone said.
Snyder said that the loans are forgivable and that they work on a “pay it forward” method.
Harvest Program Officer India Brown said this means that the loans don’t need to be repaid, but if a business would like to spread good will, then they could do so by donating funds back into the Virginia 30 Day Fund.
Brown said there are a
few eligibility requirements for the business loans. The business must be a for-profit business based in Martinsville-Henry County that employs between 3-30 people. Additionally, The business owner must be a Virginia resident able to provide a business license and they must have operated the business for at least a year.
According to Brown, the application requirements will be a one-page application and a brief video describing the business, the employees and how the money will be used.
Snyder said when assessing the applications, partners are looking for employers to meet “the Big 3.” This means making sure people are kept on the payroll, the money will be used for rent and bills, and that the employees maintain their healthcare coverage through their employers.
As far as when the first few loans will be paid out, Snyder said “I have a feeling there will be some very happy people by the end of the day.”
Stone explained that they are partnering with Virginia 30 Day Fund because they do not “directly provide funds for for-profit entities” and that Harvest has had a history of working with partners to provide financial support.
“We couldn’t be prouder to partner with The Harvest Foundation to bring the Pay It Forward movement to Southside Virginia. Harvest’s generosity is also matched by their vision and desire to truly help others in this amazing community,” Snyder said. “To all of the hardworking small business heroes out there, help is on the way, right now. We’ve got your back. Know that we will get through this difficult time and we will come out of it stronger as individuals and as a community in the long run. Together, we are going to make a real and significant difference in Martinsville and Henry County in the weeks and months ahead.”
Allyson Rothrock, president of The Harvest Foundation added, “We are thrilled by the partnership with Virginia 30 Day Fund which makes it possible for Harvest to fulfill its mission of aiding small business growth while helping keep people at work at a time when many businesses are struggling to stay afloat. These forgivable loan awards will give businesses the extra time they need to plan, innovate, and be prepared when additional funding becomes available and our economy rebounds.”
Snyder said that as of June 10, the organization has assisted approximately 350 small businesses.
Apply to Pay it Forward MHC by visiting theharvestfoundation.org and clicking on “How to Apply.” To learn more about Virginia 30 Day Fund, visit va30dayfund.com.