Round One Application Window is Now Closed

Thousands of businesses across the region are deeply impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19. These businesses are the leaders, job creators, community builders, and the engines of our economy. They are crucial to our communities’ long-term economic stability, and we are committed to doing all we can to help.


RVA Small Business Relief Fund

As part of our dedication to building a thriving regional community, ChamberRVA and Facebook have announced the creation of an RVA Small Business Relief Fund, a new program intended to provide immediate grants to qualifying small businesses in the region impacted by COVID-19. The Relief Fund is open to all qualifying applicants; applicants do not need to be Chamber members to apply. The Relief Fund received initial seed funding of $250,000 from Facebook and is open to additional contributions.

Our goal is to provide immediate relief to our region’s small businesses in the form of unrestricted grants as a stop-gap relief pending the release and distribution of anticipated federal and state aid. The process is designed to be quick, as small business owners work to keep employees on board in the near term. We intend to stand up a series of funding rounds and to disburse funds in phases as they become available. Funding rounds will distribute available funds to qualifying applicants in equal amounts.

The Greater Richmond Chamber Foundation will act as the fiscal agent for the Relief Fund and will manage all contributions. A grant advisory committee will monitor the unbiased process of awarding grants.

About the Partnership

This effort is a partnership between ChamberRVA and Facebook. The first round of funding comes exclusively from Facebook, as part of their COVID relief efforts, which has generously contributed $250,000 to seed the fund. We extend our deepest gratitude to Facebook for stepping up to help small businesses in need. Facebook has been a member of the Richmond community since 2017 when they broke ground on their data center in Henrico County.

It is expected that the Relief Fund will disburse grants to applicants in successive funding rounds, as contributions allow.

Criteria and Application

For-profit businesses that fit the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  1. Based in Richmond Region and have been operating at least one year
  2. Employ between 2 to 25 FTE (full time equivalent) employees
  3. Have demonstrated negative financial impact from COVID-19
  4. Have demonstrated need for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business
  5. Have demonstrated a focus on reopening as COVID-19 guidance and restrictions change

Applications for Round One are now closed.

In order to move resources quickly, businesses can share their needs through a simple application form, which will be reviewed by the grant advisory committee. All applicants will be informed of a decision by Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

RVA Relief Fund Q&A

The nine localities of the greater Richmond Region include Ashland, Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan and Richmond.

No, small businesses must have at least 2 FTE (full time equivalent) employees to be eligible for grant funding.

$250,000 seeded by Facebook is available for funding Round One. The fund hopes to have successive funding rounds as money is contributed. Contributions are actively solicited.

No. You may apply anytime during the application window of May 13 – May 19, 2020. The timing of your submission during this window will not affect your ability to be awarded a grant.

Unfortunately, we expect the need is far greater than the amount of funds that will be disbursed in Round One. If applicants don’t receive funding in Round One, they will be eligible for it in subsequent rounds.

There will be 100 grant recipients in Round One.

Round One grant awards are $2,500.

Grants are unrestricted and are intended as a stop-gap relief to help support rent, employee salaries, and operating costs, pending the release and distribution of anticipated federal and state aid.

The RVA Small Business Relief Fund aims to provide immediate financial assistance to Richmond Region’shardest hit small businesses, and those suffering especially from social distancing and stay home, stay healthy directives. A committee of impartial evaluators will review applications and make awards based on their assessment of impact and need.

Under current tax laws, payments to for-profit businesses are generally considered taxable income, and ChamberRVA will be required to report these payments via Form 1099 to all recipients as well as tax authorities at the end of 2020. It is the responsibility of grant recipients to record business transactions and file tax documents.

Please know that ChamberRVA and other business advocacy organizations are urging lawmakers to amend certain taxation rules in light of the current extraordinary economic conditions.

You can call 804.783.9362 and leave a voicemail with your question. Questions will be answered in the order they are received.

Donate to the RVA Small Business Relief Fund

The RVA Small Business Relief Fund is designed to support the critical needs of our small business community when they need it most – right now. Small business owners are the leaders, job creators, community builders, and the engines of our economy. Please join us in helping them.

The Relief Fund intends to release multiple rounds of funding — but this goal is dependent on contributions. Can you help us raise the next round of funds?

All contributions are charitable and tax-deductible. Thank you for helping us to respond quickly to this crisis with funds to support the relief effort.

Online donations are easy and secure. You may also donate by mailing a check. Please indicate in the memo section “Designated for RVA Small Business Relief Fund” and send to:

Chamber Foundation
ATTN: Rob Anderson
919 E. Main Street, Suite 1700
Richmond, VA 23219

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