Two New COVID-19 response funds launch in Columbia County

HUDSON–Two new emergency funds to rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations and small businesses as they respond to the impact of the coronavirus have been established in Columbia County.

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) has launched the Columbia County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. It will provide flexible resources to nonprofit organizations to meet the needs of individuals and families who are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. The fund will prioritize human services and community-based organizations with experience helping individuals and families stabilize their lives in times of crisis. Donations to the fund and applications from eligible nonprofits can be made at BerkshireTaconic.org/ColumbiaCOVID19. BTCF staff and volunteer members of BTCF’s Fund for Columbia County committee will review and award grants.

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), in partnership with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Hudson Business Coalition, have established the Columbia County Business Continuity Fund. It will provide cash grants to small businesses in our city and town centers with fewer than 10 full-time employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue. These businesses can apply for grant funds from $1,000 to $5,000 to cover costs related to retaining employees, rent and other fixed operational costs. Donations to the fund can be made at BerkshireTaconic.org/BusinessContinuity. The fund will accept applications from April 1 to April 15 at www.columbiaedc.com. An independent, volunteer committee of local business leaders will review and award grants based on the availability of funds.

Together, a group of partners has committed over $360,000 for these two funds. One hundred percent of the dollars contributed to each fund will go directly to nonprofits or businesses. The partners encourage individuals, companies and other funders to contribute.

Early support for the two funds has come from Berkshire Taconic, its Fund for Columbia County and donors the Corbin Edsall Fund, Gretchen Stearns and Richard Weininger, Lael Locke/City Child Fund, Linda Gatter/Max Dannis Fund, the Mack-Schaefer Charitable Fund, Martha McMaster and Sheldon Evans, Susan Danziger and Albert Wenger/The Spark of Hudson, and Suzette and Seth Masters; the Dyson Foundation; the Galvan Foundation; the Henry L. Kimelman Family Foundation; Berkshire Bank; and Greylock Federal Credit Union.

“While the outbreak in Columbia County is just beginning, we know that it threatens our neighbors who are already vulnerable and unprepared for its impact. These funds will give an important boost to organizations meeting basic needs and small businesses that are the heart of the local economy, especially during this period before state and federal resources are more widely available,” President of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Peter Taylor said in a March 30 press release.

“Columbia County is fortunate to have many restaurants, coffee shops, retailers and other independently-owned small businesses. These small shops and their passionate owners and employees contribute to our quality of life and the economic vibrancy that makes our county such a wonderful place to live, work and visit. They are also our friends and neighbors, and we believe it is critical to try to help them address the economic challenges the pandemic has caused on their small businesses,” F. Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Columbia Economic Development Corporation, said in the release.

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