Monday, April 20, 2020, Providence — Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island announced the introduction of a new grant program aimed at small businesses in Rhode Island that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The Citizens Bank – LISC Small Business Recovery Grant Program will help provide grants to hard-hit businesses and help them to weather the immediate financial impact of closures and social distancing measures currently underway in our state.
The grants for amounts up to $7,500 will help businesses limit layoffs and continue to provide employee benefits, including health insurance, and mitigate the economic instability currently faced by so many of our Main Street businesses. The fund will start accepting applications as early as Monday.
“For Citizens Bank, being active in the community goes to the heart of their DNA,” says Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island. “They have strong roots in our neighborhoods and are a part of the fabric and long history of our state. They have been a strong and committed partner with LISC for the past 30 years, and this is yet another initiative that shows how committed they are to the people they serve.”
In the past two weeks, several additional small grant or loan programs have been offered to the small business community in Rhode Island, and each time the funds are depleted very quickly, underscoring the acute needs of that segment of the economy. According to the Small Business Association, in Rhode Island nearly 53% of all private sector employees work in a small business setting.
“This is an important initiative for Citizens to support,” said Barbra Cottam, Rhode Island Market Executive, Citizens Bank. “This Recovery Grant Program with LISC provides small businesses with a critical lifeline in these uncertain times. It also offers business leaders in our state the opportunity to support the immediate needs of small businesses and helps set the stage for a sustainable and equitable recovery. We encourage other business leaders to join us in this effort to provide much needed resources to strengthen the foundation of our economy.”
Small businesses represent an important economic engine in Rhode Island, and is particularly critical as a way to provide economic stability for many minority- and immigrant families. With the closing of many non-essential businesses, much of that economic activity has come to a grinding halt, while the bills still pile up. The CARES Act will provide Small Business Administration loans, a Paycheck Protection Program and other economic relief, many of our smaller and more vulnerable businesses will not be able to access federal programs, or will be unable to qualify for or support the repayment of loans. Grants, as well as robust technical assistance, will be critical to the survival of these businesses.
Applications will be accepted online starting on Monday, April 20, through the application process here , and will continue until the fund is depleted. To be eligible for funding, you must be a Rhode Island small business with a Rhode Island address and location, be a registered business for at least 2 years, be in good standing and verifiable with the RI Secretary of State, have no outstanding liens or judgements, and have not exceeded $1.5 million in 2019 revenue. To apply, there is a short application process where you will need to provide a Federal ID/Tax Identification Number or Individual Tax Identification number. You also will need to provide the most recent federal tax return signed and submitted on behalf of your business. This highly targeted program is intended to support small businesses with retail establishments rather than sole practitioners or professional services consultants.
About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $176.7 billion in assets as of March 31, 2020. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 2,800 ATMs and approximately 1,000 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers a broad complement of financial products and solutions, including lending and leasing, deposit and treasury management services, foreign exchange, interest rate and commodity risk management solutions, as well as loan syndication, corporate finance, merger and acquisition, and debt and equity capital markets capabilities. More information is available at www.citizensbank.com or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
About the Local Initiatives Support Corporation
LISC Rhode Island is part of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit that equips communities with the capital, program strategy and know-how to become places where people can thrive. Since 1991, LISC Rhode Island has invested more than $396 million in Rhode Island and an additional $1.4 billion from public and private sources resulting in more than 8,330 affordable homes and apartments and more than 2 million square feet of retail and community space. For more information, visit www.rilisc.org.