By Alyssa Schnugg
Business owners know best how COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the smaller retail stores, restaurants and lawn/home maintenance companies.
Knowing this, the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation in partnership with the Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the Mississippi Small Business Development Center has launched the Oxford Relief Fund, and they are asking Chamber members for help.
The mission of the Oxford Relief Fund is to help small local businesses within Lafayette County recover from the extended shutdown and excessive financial burden caused by COVID-19. The fund will provide $2,000 grants to businesses that meet specific criteria and can demonstrate a business disruption caused by the pandemic.
COVID-19 caused major community and athletic events to be canceled causing an estimated $110 million total sales lost between March and August with an estimated 1,783 jobs were lost, according to the EDF.
The Create Foundation will act as the fund fiscal agent. Donations are tax-deductible.
“After seeing the success of similar funds in North Carolina, Colorado and even here in Mississippi, we knew there was an opportunity to generate local support for our businesses in need,” stated Allen Kurr, EDF Vice President and Oxford Relief Fund Steering Committee member. “What makes this fund unique is that it will not only provide financial support but also provide a connection to our small business development partners. “
The grant application, donation portal, and business resource information can all be found at www.OxfordReliefFund.com.
Applications will be accepted beginning Oct. 1 with a round-one application deadline of Oct. 15.
Following the first round, application deadlines will occur on a rolling basis with applicants being notified of their status within 30 days of the application deadline. Any application not funded but still meet the qualifications will be automatically rolled over to the next round. Rounds will be held on a 60-day cycle pending fund availability.
Donations to the Oxford Relief Fund can be submitted through the website www.OxfordReliefFund.com. Donations can also be mailed to PO Box 1053, Tupelo, MS 38802 and be made payable to CREATE with “Oxford Relief Fund” noted on the memo line.
“If you are seeking a way to make a difference during this time of great need, please consider donating to the fund. Every donation, no matter how big or small, will go towards the benefit of our small business community,” Kurr said. “With your help, we can keep Oxford Stronger Together.”
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.