Skagit County Commissioners award $809,000 in grant funding to local small businesses

Monday, August 10, 2020

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MOUNT VERNON -- The Skagit County Commissioners today awarded 75 businesses and nonprofits a total of $809,000 as part of the Skagit County Small Business Grant Program, supporting local businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19.

Awards, ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, went to Skagit businesses with 25 or fewer employees, helping them remain open, retain jobs, and comply with COVID-19 prevention public health and safety measures. The Commissioners also made a number of grant awards to nonprofits involved in COVID-19 response efforts.

130 businesses and 20 nonprofits applied asking for a total of $1.5 million in funding.

Skagit County Commissioner Ron Wesen said, “I am grateful to these small business owners who are innovating, sacrificing, and working around the clock to keep people employed, maintain our County’s vibrancy, and ensure customer safety.”

Commissioner Ken Dahlstedt expressed hope that grant funds will support the health and wellness of the community. “We’ve seen too many lives already devastated by this crisis,” Dahlstedt said. “Economic recovery and job retention is key to making sure families can put food on the table, afford their medical bills, and pay for a roof over their head.”

Funding was provided entirely through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, better known as the CARES Act, with the County earmarking a total of $1 million for small businesses. The application and evaluation process was coordinated by the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC).

“We are thrilled to support these vital local businesses and nonprofits, and we also know it is not enough,” said Commissioner Lisa Janicki. “We can all help our community by buying local and donating what we can. It’s more important than ever that when we shop, we shop Skagit.”

Grant recipient Bodi Orton, owner of manufacturer Caliber Precision, said the grant will help keep his 25 employees working.

“We are thankful for this grant and having Skagit County join us in the fight to keep our employees working,” Orton said. “It means the world to us to be able to keep them employed, and keeping their families fed.”

This latest batch of grant funding was the second of two rounds provided by the County. The first went to businesses that had been recommended by EDASC to receive grants from the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant program, but did not receive any funding or received less than the recommended amount due to funding limitations.

For that round, 30 businesses with 10 or fewer employees were awarded a total of $163,884.

The County program was the fifth small-business COVID-19 grant program administered by EDASC on behalf of local governments, including the state and local cities and towns.

“We were thrilled to work with the County to help provide nearly $1 million in CARES Act funding to local small businesses and nonprofits, which make up the backbone of Skagit County’s economy,” said EDASC CEO John Sternlicht. “I’d like to thank the Commissioners for setting aside a generous amount of money for these small businesses who have been impacted greatly by this health and economic crises.”

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