Fairfax County RISE Program Awards Over $52 Million to Small Businesses

Fairfax County’s relief fund for small businesses and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic has come to an end, the county announced on Dec. 11.

Established by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in May, the Fairfax Relief Initiative to Support Employers (RISE) assisted 4,809 local businesses and nonprofits by awarding $52.57 million in grants.

According to the county, RISE received 6,280 total requests for aid during the application period from June 8 through June 15. 95% of the grants went to local businesses, while the remaining 5% supported nonprofits.

More than 72% of the grant recipients identified as organizations owned by women, minorities, and/or veterans. That surpasses the county’s goal of allocating at least one-third of the available funds to businesses owned by those historically disadvantaged groups, which account for a third of the jobs in Fairfax County.

The Board of Supervisors praised the county staff and employees of the nonprofit Community Business Partnership who ran the program during an Economic Initiatives Committee meeting on Nov. 10.

“I think each of us have heard from recipients what a difference this has made,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “We’ll be paying close attention to what we hope will be future federal stimulus that will help us do even more going forward. 4,800-plus businesses is not insignificant.”

Fairfax County created RISE using money that it had been allocated by the federal CARES Act. As of November, the county had received $340.5 million in federal aid, including $200.2 million from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund, whose eligibility period ends on Dec. 30.

RISE grant funds were intended to assist with wages, rent, employee health insurance, and other fixed operating costs critical to keeping businesses alive.

Recipients needed to have a principal place of business located in Fairfax County, including the Towns of Vienna, Herndon, and Clifton, and no more than 50 full-time employees in order to be eligible for the program.

Almost 40% of the grants went to businesses in the accommodation and food services, healthcare and social assistance, and professional services sectors. 8% of recipients were in retail trade, which joins food services and hospitality as industries hit especially hard by job losses and the pandemic’s other economic impacts.

More information about RISE and the grant recipients can be found on Fairfax County’s website and its RISE dashboard.

Image via Fairfax County government

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