FERGUSON, Mo. – Secretary of State Jason Kander announced yesterday a partnership with his office, the Regional Business Council, North County Incorporated with the Reinvest North County Fund to create #FergusonRebuild. The initiative seeks to provide the area with non-governmental grants for businesses in Ferguson and surrounding areas.
“Small businesses located in Ferguson, Dellwood and Jennings that have been destroyed, damaged or burglarized since August 2014 will be able to apply for a grant to pay for business expenses including construction, rent, utilities, payroll and inventory,” read a statement from the Secretary of State’s office yesterday. “To receive a grant, a business must agree to rebuild in its current location or in its current city if it was destroyed, or remain in its current location if it sustained damage or was burglarized.”
Between online and offline contributions, the initiative has raised over $63,000. From the GoFundMe, over $8,000 has been raised, while $55,000 came from the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis offline.
“I am excited by the response I have received from the St. Louis business community already. Business leaders throughout the region and the state are committed to helping this community rebuild,” Kander said. “There are thousands of people across the country who have been asking what they can do to help in the area, so I hope they pitch in too.”
“When I talked to small business owners in Ferguson, Dellwood and the surrounding area, many of them told me they didn’t know how they were going to re-open their businesses. They have poured their heart, and their life savings, into their businesses, and many can’t afford to take on additional debt to re-open or remain open, even with help from no-interest loans,” Kander said. “We have a lot of work to do in the region, but one of the first things we need to focus on is helping businesses that were damaged, destroyed or looted since August return to serving their community. I wanted to do my part to help these small business owners so the area doesn’t lose them forever, so I’m thrilled to partner with the Regional Business Council and North County Incorporated to start #FergusonRebuild to provide grants to area businesses.”
Yesterday’s announcement shared that affected businesses will be able to apply for grants from Reinvest North County.
“I want to thank Secretary Kander for his commitment to step up to help NCI and the RBC businesses move forward,” said Rebecca Zoll, president and CEO of North County Incorporated. “By bringing together corporate and community leaders to raise funds, we will be able to help small businesses in North County re-open and continue serving their communities.”
The initiative has a goal to raise $150,000 in private funds. No taxpayer dollars – state of federal – will be used in the effort.
Update (5:00pm): The St. Louis Rams have donated $50,000, raising the total to over $113,000.
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.