As you know, late last week the U.S. Congress approved and President Trump signed into law a $310 billion infusion in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as well as additional funding for other emergency loan programs, hospitals, and COVID-19 testing.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has resumed accepting applications for the PPP TODAY. If you have not yet applied for a PPP loan, please contact your lender right away to see how these loans can help and to start the application process. The future of Maine’s and the nation’s economies depend on employers accessing this aid.

The Paycheck Protection Program provides loan amounts up to 250 percent of an employer’s monthly payroll expenses. These loans are forgivable if at least 75% of the loan is spent on payroll. The intent is to help employers stay afloat and keep their employees paid and employed through this crisis.

Before the initial round of funding for the PP was exhausted, nearly 17,000 businesses across Maine were approved for more than $2.2 billion in loans. They literally are a lifeline for employers across Maine and the country.

PPP loans are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is important to contact your lender right away. A list of approved Maine lenders can be found here.

SBA also will resume processing EIDL Loan and Advance applications that are already in the queue. Those will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, as well.

We will provide further information on the availability of the EIDL portal to receive new applications (including those from agricultural enterprises) as soon as possible.

To learn more about the relief options available for your business, click here.

 

Meals on Wheels available through Spectrum Generations

Under new guidelines, more people now qualify for the home-delivered meal program

With the emergence of COVID-19 some of the federal and state rules regarding who qualifies for Meals on Wheels have been temporarily changed, and now, anyone over the age of 60 who is practicing social distancing can receive meals throughout Spectrum Generations’ service territory. Disabled adults living with someone receiving meals are also eligible temporarily.

Meals typically would go to older adults who struggle physically to obtain and prepare their own food, people who have chronic conditions, those recovering from medical procedures, and some who don’t have their own transportation. Prior to COVID-19, Spectrum Generations was serving 800 people on the program, including those receiving food through two subcontractors. Prior to the pandemic, the organization had seen such a high need that there was also a wait list nearing 300 people.

Through the generous increased funding from federal and state governments, as well as support from individual donors, grants from Harvard Pilgrim, United Way of Kennebec Valley, Maine Community Foundation, and Central Maine Power, the waitlist has been cleared and Spectrum Generations can now serve even more people. Persons over the age of 60, living in Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Somerset, and Waldo counties, or the towns of Brunswick and Harpswell, who wish to receive Meals on Wheels, should call 1-800-639-1553, weekdays, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to speak with a staff member.

The Spectrum Generations’ Meals on Wheels program is deemed an essential service, and staff who usually have duties in other departments now closed have been redeployed to help support the nutrition program.

Volunteers are essential as well – with a current roster of about 100 people, that need will also increase as demand for Meals on Wheels increases and delivery routes are added. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Jessica Bucklin at 207-620-1684. All volunteers will be screened and begin a background check process, but will be provided with appropriate PPE for their role, whether it be preparing, packing, or delivering Meals on Wheels.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Launches Fund with Vistaprint to Support Small Business Recovery in Economically Vulnerable Communities

The Save Small Business Fund is a business-led program to provide supplemental grants to the small business community suffering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
April 15, 2020
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, with founding partner Vistaprint, has launched the Save Small Business Fund, a grant program to provide assistance to small businesses owners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Funded by contributions from corporate and philanthropic partners, the Foundation will distribute $5,000 grants to small employers in economically vulnerable communities in the United States and its territories.

“Small business owners are facing unprecedented challenges. The needs are urgent and every dollar counts,” said Carolyn Cawley, president of the U.S. Chamber Foundation. “While the demand is great, we’re proud to be able to contribute to the many efforts underway to help small employers get through the next days and weeks and on the road to recovery for their communities.”

The Save Small Business Fund is part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Save Small Business Initiative — a nationwide program to address small businesses’ immediate needs, mitigate closures and job losses, and mobilize support for long-term recovery. The Foundation is launching the fund with support from founding partner, Vistaprint, and additional donations from supporting partners, Merck, S&P Global Foundation, and Travelers.

“Small businesses are the soul of every community, and right now our communities are facing hardship,” says Vistaprint CEO Robert Keane. “I started Vistaprint out of my apartment 25 years ago and I know firsthand how hard it is for small business owners. I have been – and continue to be – amazed by their passion, resilience and ability to persevere through change. As a champion and marketing partner for small businesses, Vistaprint is there when the challenges hit, and we are doing all we can to help them stay in business. We are proud to be partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to provide a lifeline during this time.”

Grant applications open on April 20, 2020. To qualify, applicants must employ between three and 20 people, be located in an economically vulnerable community, and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will be awarded weekly on a rapid and rolling basis until all funds have been disbursed.

To learn more about the Save Small Business Fund or apply for a grant, visit www.savesmallbusiness.com.

 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is committed to helping American businesses respond to the coronavirus so they can support their employees, customers, and communities. Our members and the state and local chambers, who are on the front lines of this pandemic, need us now more than ever to help them through this significant disruption. We will continue working every day to help our country’s people, businesses, and economy weather this storm and emerge stronger—just as we have at other challenging times in our nation’s history. Visit uschamber.com/Coronavirus for more information.