On Tuesday, January 30th, the Birmingham City Council will be holding a press conference with representatives from the Penny Foundation to discuss the 2024 Future Forward Grant Cycle. The press conference will begin at 9 a.m. on the second floor of Birmingham’s City Hall (Gallery of Distinguished Citizens).
Council President Darrell O’Quinn, President Pro Tem Wardine Alexander and Councilors Clinton Woods, Crystal Smitherman and LaTonya Tate all contributed $27,500 from their office’s American Rescue Plan Act funding. The Penny Foundation will disperse more than 11 business grants per district in contributions of $1,000 and $2,500 to each organization. The initiative is aimed to assist small businesses respond to the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Proposed use of the grants include:
• Portion of costs to retain employees.
• Mortgage, rent, utilities.
• Design services for future building improvements and developments.
• Building improvements and developments.
• Business Capacity Building – Adaptation
• Other operating costs.
“It’s hard to imagine where we would be as a society without small businesses that are owned and operated by members of our community,” Council President Darrell O’Quinn said. “It’s no secret that these businesses have faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. It’s crucial that we continue to rally behind these resilient entrepreneurs, providing them with the support and resources they need to rebuild and thrive once again. Investing in small businesses isn’t just an economic imperative; it’s an investment in the heart and soul of our communities.”
Eligible business applicants must:
• Own a small business with a valid business license in Birmingham’s District One, District Five, District Six, District Seven, or District Nine.
• Be currently active and open for business, and able to show proof of operation before February 15, 2020.
• Agree to implement proposed services or upgrades within one month of the awarded grant.
• Have less than 25 employees (micro-business or small business).