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Santa Maria contributes funds for grants to small businesses
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Santa Maria contributes funds for grants to small businesses

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The city of Santa Maria has partnered with the Santa Barbara Foundation to launch a grant program to help small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a foundation spokesman said.

Santa Barbara Better Together Fund Small Business Grant Program will provide up to $7,500 per grant to qualifying small businesses located within the city of Santa Maria as they reopen and adapt to County Public Health Department guidelines.

The city is committing $125,000 to the program, and grants will be available until available funds have been depleted, the spokesman said.

Applications are available through Wednesday, Sept. 9.

“These efforts to support local businesses today will help many to survive these tough times and help ensure a strong community in the future,” Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino said.

“We need to help our neighbors when times are tough, and we all look forward to returning to normal,” she added.

In August, the Santa Barbara Better Together Fund provided grant programs for small businesses in the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria and unincorporated areas of the county, and its committee members now want to do the same for Santa Maria.

“The long-term effects of COVID-19 pandemic are yet to be known,” said Jessica Sanchez, director of Donor Services at the Santa Barbara Foundation. “We are collaborating with [Santa Barbara Better Together] and Santa Barbara County cities to ensure small businesses thrive for the long term, so that they, in turn, can help sustain the vitality of our community.”

Business owners interested in applying for a grant are being advised to first review the grant program guidelines in English at SBFoundation.org/covid-19-business-community-resources/sbbt-small-business-grant-program-guidelines-santa-maria/ and in Spanish at SBFoundation.org/covid-19-business-community-resources/sbbt-small-business-grant-program-spanish-guidelines-santa-maria/.

Santa Barbara Better Together was set up in March at the Santa Barbara Foundation as a committee-advised fund with an initial $500,000 donation from Deckers Brands.

Funds are distributed based on a vote by committee members made up of representatives from Deckers and the foundation and other local experts, the spokesman said.

The fund provided its first grant for $125,000 to Women’s Economic Ventures for financial support to the county’s small business community through WEV’s ReStart Loan Program.

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