A local fundraising campaign aims to help small downtown Missoula businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Missoula Downtown Foundation (MDF) has established a Downtown Missoula Business Support Fund and will use its annual spring campaign to raise funds that can support businesses and organizations.
The MDF is looking for individuals, grantors, businesses not impacted by the crisis, partner organizations, and government agencies to raise and distribute a minimum of $100,000 in 2020.
The Foundation will roll out an online fundraising campaign in conjunction with the Missoula Gives annual fundraising campaign next week.
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Organizers say that instead of raising funds for downtown Missoula holiday décor and wayfinding, the spring campaign will offer an opportunity to support businesses and organizations through the Missoula Downtown Business Support Fund.
“A vibrant and healthy city is built upon the tenacity and dedication of business owners who give their time, talent and treasure to many different projects and programs that make Missoula such a special space,” said Jared Kuehn, President of the MDF Board of Directors and commercial lender at First Security Bank.
“The COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on the health of the Downtown business community, and the Foundation believes this is the time for us to do all we can to support those businesses that could use a lift.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced small businesses to close and layoff employees.
The Downtown Foundation has allocated $25,000 to the effort and the Downtown Business Improvement District contributed $10,000. Clearwater Credit Union, First Interstate Bank, First Interstate Bank and TrailWest Bank have each contributed to the fund, which is now at $65,000 in just three days, according to a news release.
Individuals and businesses interested in contributing to the fund can send a check, payable to the Missoula Downtown Foundation, to 218 East Main Street, Missoula, MT 59802. Donors can also contribute through the Missoula Gives Campaign or through the Foundation’s GoFundMe Campaign .
“As neighbors and friends, Missoulians will come together to support our local businesses and organizations, lessen the economic impacts of this crisis, and help build resiliency among our business community,” Kuehn said. “The Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support Downtown recovery during this time of need.
Applicants must have a City of Missoula Business License or an IRS Determination Letter, be located in the Downtown Business Improvement District, or service the community in Downtown Missoula.
Downtown businesses and organizations in need of support should complete a simple online application located here and be scheduled to open on Monday, May 4. Applications will be reviewed by committee, and disbursement of funds shall be one-time checks distributed by the Downtown Missoula Partnership.