Montpelier Alive and the Montpelier Foundation announced a campaign goal of $2 million for the Montpelier Strong Recovery Fund. The fund was created by the two organizations to invest in business recovery following the July 11 flooding in Montpelier.
“We are still early in recovery,” said Sarah Jarvis, Chair of the Montpelier Foundation, “but together we have raised nearly $1 million in gifts and pledges to support desolated businesses in this crisis.”
Nearly 150 businesses applied for $4,000 disbursements to give them a boost in the immediate crisis, and initial checks were distributed on Tuesday, July 25. Fund leaders expect to hold another round of funding in the near future.
The Scott administration has estimated that 700 businesses were seriously damaged by statewide flooding. Based on applications to the fund, more than 20 percent of hard-hit businesses are located in Montpelier. FEMA dollars will not provide grants to businesses struggling with their recovery needs.
Katie Trautz, Executive Director of Montpelier Alive, has been on the front-line helping to coordinate volunteers and assessing business needs. “Each day we can see more deeply into the devastation and the tragedy faced by so many small business owners. They are heart and soul to the future of our downtown and they desperately need our help and support today!”
According to former Mayor John Hollar, “You don’t need to look very long to see that Montpelier was a major epicenter of this disaster, but the city has also demonstrated an amazing response with thousands of volunteers helping businesses and homeowners, and over 1,400 people making contributions toward recovery. All these people are partners in Montpelier Strong.” Gifts have ranged from online donations of $25 to cash and stock gifts of more than $100,000.
The Montpelier Foundation has the ability to process gifts of stock. It has recently received a pledge of $50,000 to match gifts from the community, and is more than halfway towards meeting that goal, so small gifts can double their impact.
The $2 million fund goal is based on progress to date and a rough estimate of Montpelier business losses of $20 million. According to Ben Doyle of Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Montpelier Foundation Board, “This figure of damages and lost inventory will probably grow, and $2 million likely won’t be enough and will be hard to reach, but if the community can invest to cover 10% of business losses it makes a statement that ‘we are with you, that Montpelier has your back,’ and it will be a critically important first seed to recovery. We need to show the love.”
All gifts are tax deductible and can be made through the Montpelier Foundation (www.montpelierfoundation.org) or Montpelier Alive (www.montpelieralive.com).