The Lansing Economic Area Partnership awarded Lansing-area nonprofits and small businesses grants to offset financial hardships they have experienced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Origins of the funds include the state and federal government and the Michigan Strategic Fund, which created a small-business restart program with $100 million obtained from the federal coronavirus relief bill. LEAP was given $5.5 million and used it to assist nonprofits and small businesses in Clinton, Ingham and Eaton counties.
LEAP President and CEO Bob Trezise said this was “a moment in time where we must act deliberately and differently within the scope of economic development. One step in the right direction is to make sure these funds are distributed equitably and support underserved business owners in the Lansing region. I’m hopeful the partnerships established through this effort will also result in new and important voices where economic development conversations occur and decisions are made.”
LEAP called selecting the awardees “a transparent, rigorous, and equitable application and review process.” That process involved individuals from LEAP working with representatives from the Capital Region Small Business Development Center, Capital Area Michigan Works! and the NAACP of Greater Lansing. Other community partners included Cristo Rey, the Islamic Center of Greater Lansing, Michigan Women Forward and the Refugee Development Center. Grant recipients included 100 Acre Wood Daycare, Paper Image Printing, Maple Leaf Inn, Blue Owl Coffee and REACH Studio Art Center.