Dominion Energy project to help small businesses manage recovery, address social justice issues
Dominion Energy is committing $600,000 toward the newly established We Care Rebuild Project, a community-led initiative providing support to small businesses in Richmond and Hampton Roads as they manage coronavirus impacts and engage in community rebuilding.
The We Care RVA Rebuild Project in Richmond will be led by the Metropolitan Business League (MBL) and include Venture Richmond, Local Initiatives Support Corporation Virginia (LISC), Virginia Community Capital (VCC), and Chamber RVA as partners. The We Care Hampton Roads Rebuild Project will be led by the Urban League and supported by Black BRAND, LISC Hampton Roads, and VCC.
Small businesses dealing with financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic or disruptions in business continuity will be eligible to apply for grants, ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. Funds will support a range of emergency needs and crisis resources, including clean-up, such as graffiti removal and other beautification efforts, bill support, business coaching, and professional counseling, among other services.
“The We Care Rebuild Project is truly a community effort toward helping small and women- and minority-owned businesses,” said Floyd Miller, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Business League. “With the unique challenges facing business owners today, we want to ensure they have the resources for success. Our goal is for funds to give a boost to more than 100 businesses in the Richmond and Hampton Roads areas this year.”
Eligibility requirements can be found on the MBL’s website for the Richmond area program, with an application period running from Sept. 21 to Oct. 5. A second application period is expected later this year. Following review, applicants will receive notice of the funding determination by Oct. 15, with disbursements immediately following. The Hampton Roads area application period will open on Oct. 1 and more information will be available soon at www.ulhr.org.
“In Hampton Roads, we’ve unfortunately seen a recent wave of businesses close permanently due to the coronavirus,” said Gilbert Bland, President and CEO of the Urban League. “By establishing the We Care program to provide grants to businesses, we’re hopeful that funds will bridge the financial gap so owners can weather this rocky period and continue on for years to come.”
Sponsorship of the We Care Rebuild Project is part of Dominion Energy’s $5 million commitment in June toward social justice and broad-based community reconciliation across the states where Dominion Energy operates. Other We Care Rebuild sponsors include Altria, CapitalOne, Community Foundation and the Robins Foundation. Dominion Energy plans additional support for small business initiatives in Ohio and South Carolina, with an announcement forthcoming.
“Dominion Energy is committed to providing support where we can, during what has been a very difficult year for our communities,” said Ed Baine, Senior Vice-President of Power Delivery for Dominion Energy. “We’re grateful to the Metropolitan Business League, the Urban League of Hampton Roads and all of the other partners for their dedicated efforts to reach small businesses during these unprecedented times and provide both the temporary and ongoing assistance needed to help our communities thrive.”
Existing Small Business Assistance
This initiative bolsters the existing small business support Dominion Energy offers, including onsite energy efficiency assessments, rebates for energy efficiency measures and other incentives for business improvements: www.dominionenergy.com/virginia/save-energy/small-business-improvement.
In response to the coronavirus, the company is waiving late fees and has suspended disconnects for nonpayment through mid-October, subject to regulatory approval. On Aug. 13, the company announced the expansion of its industry-leading EnergyShare program to reach small businesses, nonprofits and houses of worship with $500,000 in assistance toward their energy bills.
Customers also can access long-term payment plans, allowing up to 12 months to pay past due amounts with no minimum down payment. To learn more about Dominion Energy’s coronavirus relief efforts, visit www.dominionenergy.com/company/coronavirus.