Princeton University to award (at least) $250K in grants to small businesses in Princeton area

The Princeton University Relief Fund is setting aside $250,000 to create the Princeton Small Business Resiliency Fund, which will provide grants up to $5,000 for area businesses, it announced this week.

The better news: That total could jump by $200,000.

First, the grants.

The PSBRF said it intends to provide up to $5,000 per applicant to support needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to qualify, the business must:

  • Be for-profit and have a storefront in the municipality of Princeton that is open to the general public;
  • Have been in business since September 2019, with 25 or fewer employees and less than $2 million in gross annual revenue, or, if a restaurant, up to $5 million.

PSBRF officials said small businesses may use the grants for a range of recovery activities including: renovations to facilitate social distancing, adaptations to their website to promote business activity, cashless payment system expenses, deep cleaning supplies, PPE, emergency employee assistance with child care expenses and to defray marketing costs.

Now, the additional funding.

In addition to the university’s initial contribution to PSBRF of $250,000, the school’s relief fund has pledged to provide a dollar-for-dollar match of up to the next $100,000 in additional contributions to the fund.

Individuals interested in supporting local businesses in Princeton may contribute to PSBRF by mailing a contribution to the fund c/o Princeton Mercer Regional Foundation, 600 Alexander Road, Suite 3-2, Princeton, NJ 08540.

The PSBRF was formally launched June 25. It was devised through the leadership of Princeton Mayor Liz Lampert and Council Member Michelle Pirone Lambros, in coordination with the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

A committee of chamber foundation members and community leaders will facilitate the grant application process. The foundation has engaged Union County Economic Development Corp. to assist the committee in the evaluation and review of grant applications.

Additional information about the PSBRF and the application are available online.

The Princeton University Relief Fund was established in April with a $1 million commitment to provide direct support to community organizations in the greater Princeton area that are working to alleviate economic distress related to COVID-19.

The fund was designed to roll out in phases, as needs are identified. The first phase of disbursements, a $500,000 commitment, focused on support for community organizations actively engaged in addressing food and housing insecurity, reduced and lost income, child care, and behavioral and mental health needs.

Princeton University has been providing relief efforts to the local community in numerous ways since the beginning of the pandemic. These include:

  • Addressing food insecurity;
  • Donation of personal protective equipment;
  • Volunteering in the community;
  • Blood drives.

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