Jun 27, 2019
Almost immediately after the waters receded, a team consisting of the Sebastopol, Russian River, and Santa Rosa Chambers of Commerce, along withSupervisor Lynda Hopkins, and the Economic Development Board came together to help small businesses get back up and running. The team created the Small Business Flood Relief Fund and with the help of donors and local organizations were able to raise $129,000.
Fifty-three grants have been given out with businesses and two nonprofit organizations receiving between $500 and $5,000.
Key fundraising partners have included Rodger's Playhaus and the Lazy Bear Fund bringing in more than $30,000 over four days of Flood Aid events. Events hosted by Kendall Jackson Winery, the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, and the Horse and Plow tasting room also drew in significant donations.
“Many businesses throughout the region have taken on significant economic losses due to physical damage and lack of visitors coming up post-flood. We appreciate the support from so many generous donors to help local businesses, the backbone of our economy, get back on their feet,” said Lynda Hopkins, Supervisor, Sonoma County. " And just in time for a beautiful summer season."
Top donors include: West County Community Services, Sonoma Clean Power, Katherine Jackson, Kendall Jackson Winery, Sonoma County Vintners Foundation, and many others. A more complete list is here from our ad in the Press Democrat.
Grant recipients were able to pay their lease, get new inventory, remodel and get basic needs met due to the grants.
"I wish extend my deepest gratitude to all who have come forward with donations to help us small business owners here in the Lower Russian River after our flood event on 2/27/19. Your love, support and generosity is very much appreciated. This helped me pay my PGE, my phone, my water, and helped me to purchase some paper supplies to reopen Guerneville Graphics and Printing. I Thank YOU!! " said DeeDee Rydberg.
Village Bakery in Sebastopol, another grant recipient, told the team at the Small Business Flood Relief Fund "Pat and I are so touched and grateful to you, the Chamber and all kind-hearted donors that contributed to the grant relief fund We are truly touched and our gift will certainly help to lift us up.”
“The Lower Russian River and the Barlow in Sebastopol are open for business,” said Elise Van Dyne, Executive Director of the Russian River Chamber of Commerce. “Our committee has been creating awareness that the River is open across social media with the #bettertogether campaign, working with journalists that are writing stories about how quickly we’ve bounced back, and are now running a public TV campaign with nonprofit NorCal Media. With so much to see and do here in West County, we are encouraging visitors and locals alike to come back and enjoy the arts, activities, food, wine, and natural beauty of our rejuvenated communities."
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