Partnership to invest in local businesses reaches milestone

Harvest Foundation Program Officer India Brown announced Wednesday that 100 Martinsville-Henry County businesses have been helped through a partnership with the Virginia 30 Day Fund.

By Brandon Martin

The partnership between The Harvest Foundation and Charlottesville-based Virginia 30 Day Fund is paying dividends, with 100 businesses in the Martinsville-Henry County community receiving assistance less than a month after the initiative began.

India Brown, program officer for the foundation, made the announcement during a zoom call marking the occasion.

The Harvest Foundation initially invested $1 million in the Virginia 30 Day Fund, to honor local healthcare workers and front line responders. The fund distributes that investment in forgivable loan awards of up to $3,000 to qualifying businesses.

Pete Snyder, founder of the Virginia 30 Day Fund, said that the 100 business milestone was reached at “a neck-breaking pace.” He applauded Harvest and other community leaders for its success in the area.

He said the milestone comes at a time where overall “in some cases it’s not getting better,” adding that many businesses across the country didn’t receive any federal assistance during the pandemic, underscoring the importance of the fund.

“We are just getting started,” Snyder said. “If you are hurting and need help, please reach out to us.”

Snyder said that the fund has helped 500 businesses across Virginia, which means the amount from the MHC businesses makes up around one-fifth of the overall number.

Snyder said the funds have been distributed to a variety of businesses such as beauty shops, builders, diners, plumbers and even wedding planners.

The 100th recipient in Martinsville was Dr. James Wilson, a local dentist with an office on Cleveland Avenue.

Because of the fund, “we keep employees on the payroll, we keep the doors open, and we keep Martinsville-Henry County a great place to live,” Brown said.

The Virginia 30 Day Fund works on a “pay it forward” method, meaning 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 to 30 people. Additionally, the business owner must be a Virginia resident able to provide an up-to-date business license, and they must have operated the business for at least a year.

According to Brown, the application is short – a one-page document. Applicants also must include a brief video describing the business, the employees and how the money will be used.

The Virginia 30 Day Fund was created by Snyder, a Virginia technology entrepreneur, and his wife, Burson, in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The fund’s goal is to save as many Virginia jobs as possible while many small businesses wait for mandated shutdowns to end and for federal funding like the Paycheck Protection Program to hit their bank accounts.

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