The Town of Nantucket has given a $153,500 grant to the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce to assist the island’s business community address the economic challenges of the global pandemic. Local businesses can apply for grants from the Chamber’s Rock Solid Fund to help cover the operational changes required to comply with local, state, and CDC safety guidelines for the 2021 season.
This new grant from the Town supplements the $50,000 sponsorship of the Fund by ReMain Ventures in addition to $17,325 contributed directly from the Chamber. The Chamber has received approval from 91 registrants for this year’s canceled Daffodil Antique Car Parade to sponsor the Fund with their registration fees in lieu of receiving refunds. All totaled, more than $220,000 is now available to help struggling Nantucket business owners this year.
“While the Chamber and Town had to cancel beloved community events in the interest of safety, we can instead repurpose those dollars in a way that still directly benefits our entire community – residents and businesses” said Melissa Murphy, interim President and CEO of the Chamber. “With the combined support of the Town, ReMain Ventures, and our Daffodil Parade sponsors, we can help so many small businesses adapt to and ultimately thrive following the pandemic.”
The Chamber’s Rock Solid Fund was established in late 2020 with the purpose of providing micro-grants to help local established businesses accelerate their recovery from economic challenges such as the pandemic. In December, the Chamber announced that the first grants totaling $20,000 had been distributed to four local businesses selected following a rigorous review process: The Chicken Box, The Beet, Current Vintage, and Fogged In Bookkeeping.
With the Town’s contribution, the Rock Solid Fund will now offer two grant programs, one for Chamber members and one open to any established island business that has been in operation for at least two years. Both programs will be administered by the Chamber through its Nantucket Island Center for Entrepreneurship (NICE).
“The purpose of the Town’s grant is to ensure our local businesses can continue to operate for the benefit of the Town of Nantucket and its residents” said C. Elizabeth Gibson, Town Manager. “Town Administration believes this assistance serves an essential public purpose of supporting our business owners, the economy of Nantucket, and the overall health of the community.”
Applications for the Rock Solid Fund grant programs open this Monday, March 1, with the goal of distributing funds to those selected to receive a grant by the end of April. Applications and eligibility criteria can be found on NantucketChamber.org/Rock-Solid-Fund.
The Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce is the primary business advocacy organization on Nantucket representing more than 750 island businesses. Partnering with the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, the Chamber also implements domestic and international tourism initiatives to promote the island’s economic development to its vital tourism entities.
ReMain Nantucket and ReMain Ventures are funded by Wendy Schmidt and her husband Eric to support the economic, social and environmental vitality of the island of Nantucket. In addition to providing grants and sponsorships to support sustainable and cultural initiatives across the island, ReMain Nantucket has worked in conjunction with ReMain Ventures to revitalize the downtown district year-round through the preservation of historic buildings that are home to a mix of nonprofit and commercial businesses.