Resilience Grants Aim to Help Ohio's Small Businesses

On Saturday March 20, The Plains, OH, announced that its Resilience Fund is offering a new round of grant funding to local businesses and nonprofits that need help with the economic recovery from COVID-19. Ohio's caseload has dropped by 80% since the peak in January, and businesses and organizations look forward to an easing of restrictions and a return to normal operating conditions.

About The Plains' Resilience Fund

The Resilience Fund was formed by six organizations in The Plains. It aims to deliver a rapid response when a business needs funding in a hurry. It serves counties that are in Appalachia and the Mid-Ohio Valley of West Virginia and Ohio. The six participating organizations include Rural Action Ohio, Voinovich School at Ohio University, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, Athens County Foundation, Sugarbush Valley Impact Investments and the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.

Previous Grants Issued By the Resilience Fund

This is not the first round of grants offered by the Resilience Fund. In 2020, the group distributed $107,345 to help local small businesses that were struggling to pay their operating costs. If those businesses had not received the grants, they may have had to permanently close their doors. Even as retail life and commercial operations were able to restart in Ohio and West Virginia, there were new challenges. The fund strives to help local organizations and businesses keep up with new opportunities to serve the community. Small businesses provide a lot of jobs in rural Ohio and West Virginia, and the funds will help keep people employed.

How the Grants Will Be Distributed

A business or nonprofit that needs grant funding can receive up to $3,000 during this round of distributions. The awards will be based on the availability of funding and the ability of the applicant to show how the grant will improve their business's or organization's stability and future sustainability. The Resilience Fund also hopes to add some new community partners. It is seeking more support from individuals as well as corporations and educational institutions in the Appalachian region.

How Businesses and Nonprofits Can Apply

Interested businesses and nonprofits should submit their applications for grant funding no later than 5:00 pm on March 26. Even if a business is not awarded any of the grant funds, the Resilience Fund team will provide it with resources for other loans, capital investments and grant opportunities that might be available to them.

How Grantees Will Be Selected

The Resilience Fund has a grants committee. It includes representatives from each of the partnering organizations. The committee will meet shortly after the application deadline. They will assess the applications and issue awards. Grantees should be notified by mid-April as to whether or not they have been awarded grant funds for this round of distributions.

Why These Grant Funds Are Important

Ohio and West Virginia's Appalachian region has longstanding, high rates of poverty, joblessness, low education and other issues that put residents at risk of poor health, education and fiscal outcomes. The area's once-thriving mining and auto parts manufacturing industries have gone downhill. Many of the area's counties have had chronic problems with the opioid epidemic, which has stretched public resources as far as they can possibly be stretched. There are not a lot of high-paying jobs in the area. The closure of just one small business could have a big impact in a town, which is why these grants are critical to Appalachia's future.

Eligibility Requirements for Resilience Fund Grants

An eligible business or nonprofit must be located in or do significant business in Adams, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey or Harrison county. Other Ohio counties that are eligible locations for these grants are Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mahoning, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike and Ross. A business could also be situated in Scioto, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Vinton or Washington counties in Ohio. In West Virginia, an eligible business or entity should be physically located in or do significant business in the counties of Wood, Wirt, Calhoun, Gilmer or Roane.

Learn More About the Grant Application Process

A nonprofit manager or business owner who wants to contribute to the fund or apply for grant funding should visit the Resilience Fund's website at The organization's website also includes a question-and-answer section with more details on the grant process, what is required, who is eligible and how to apply.

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