MOUNT DESERT — The town’s Summer Residents Association (SRA) is aiming to raise $500,000 to help local businesses survive the loss of revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A survey of local business owners that the SRA conducted recently in partnership with the Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce found that many retail, restaurant and tourist-driven businesses are struggling to stay afloat. The SRA, in a posting on its website, described those business as “the backbone of our community.”
“We are accepting donations from anyone and everyone who appreciates our local businesses and wants to prop them up during this challenging time,” SRA board member John Boynton told the Islander. “We are in conversation with local companies and families that we hope will make leadership-level donations to the fund.”
As of late Tuesday, $292,575 had been donated to the COVID-19 business relief fund, including $50,000 from the SRA, according to Boynton. Grant applications had been received from 62 businesses, but Boynton said several of those are ineligible for funding because the businesses are not located in Mount Desert.
The deadline for businesses to apply for grants is this Friday, May 8. The grant request form can be found at SRATMD.org.
SRA leaders said they hope to be able to start disbursing funds as early as the middle of this month.
“We aim to grant the most we can to the businesses that need it most,” the SRA said in announcing the relief fund. “The total amount to be granted will not be known until our fundraising efforts are complete.”
The SRA has 220 members. The organization’s board will determine the size of grants to businesses based on its assessment of each applicant’s need.