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Open Letter from the LVCC : Tools to help businesses deal with COVID-19 shutdown

Information is key during any crisis, and the current COVID-19 pandemic is no different.

Finding accurate and relevant resources during a crisis can be a daunting task, especially for individuals and businesses already overwhelmed with new concerns and problems. To support local businesses, the Lincoln Valley Chamber of Commerce has compiled the following list of resources and tools to help weather the crisis.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, offers unprecedented unemployment insurance for self-employed workers and freelancers. Individuals can sign up for unemployment insurance on the MontanaWorks site through the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. This same act offers a stimulus package that will provide adults with up to $1200 and makes changes to rules for students loans and retirement accounts.

Several companies are providing grant opportunities to small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. GoFundMe is working with partners to provide $500 matching grants. Local Initiatives Support Corporation is teaming up with Verizon to offer grants of up to $10,000 on a lottery basis. The James Beard Foundation has established a fund to support restaurants and expects to open applications for those grants this week. Facebook has announced plans to offer grants to small businesses in the coming weeks, and Hello Alice is offering $10,000 grants for small business owners.

The Otto Bremer Trust has established an emergency fund designed to support community and nonprofit organizations responding to the pandemic in Montana, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Individuals affected by COVID-19 can apply for support from similar funds. Organizations like the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation are offering financial support for restaurant workers through their emergency relief program. The Freelancers Relief Fund is slated to open grant applications for up to $1,000 per household on April 2.

Organizations like GoFundMe and Intuit Quickbooks are offering to help small businesses organize fundraisers to request financial support for employee-related and business expenses.

Loans are available through a variety of sources, most notably the Small Business Association. Other banks and lenders are also offering loans related to COVID-19, including Mainvest and WaFd Bank.

Thousands of webinars, articles, and toolkits are available to help businesses learn more about persevering through COVID-19. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Inc. recorded a National Small Business Town Hall to share information and answer questions about the CARES Act. The CDC is providing documents to support businesses and employers in planning and responding to coronavirus. The National Federation of Independent Business recorded a webinar on March 20 discussing Congressional and legal updates for small businesses. The Small Business Development Center has compiled a booklet of business resources and has additional tools on their website. SCORE offers articles and webinars covering everything from applying for loans and grants to marketing during an economic downturn to tax help.

Links to these resources can be found below.

The Lincoln Valley Chamber of Commerce is here to help Lincoln's businesses survive this period. Please don't hesitate to reach out to any Chamber Board member with questions, requests for support, or concerns.

Your LVCC Board Members are Kate Radford, Tammy Jordan, Emilee Rivera, Bob Weatherston, Greg Smith, Erin Dey and Whitney Woodland.

Chamber Resource Links:

CDC guidance documents:

Facebook Grants:

Freelancers Relief Fund:

GoFundMe matching grants:

GoFundMe + Intuit Quickbooks fundraisers:


James Beard Foundation:

Local Initiatives Support Corp + Verizon grants:

Mainvest loans:

Montana Department of Labor and Industry:


National Federation of Independent Business

National Federation of Independent Business Congressional and legal updates webinar:

National Law Review CARES Act summary:

Otto Bremer Trust:

Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation Fund:

SCORE tools:

Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act:

Small Business Association Loans:

Small Business Development Center

Small Business Development Center Business Resource booklet:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce + Inc. Town Hall webinar about CARES Act:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

WaFd Bank loans:


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