Burton D. Morgan Foundation Adds $200,000 to Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program in Summit County

Burton D. Morgan Foundation Trustees approved a grant of $200,000 for the Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program administered by the Greater Akron Chamber.

The relief fund was created with a $750,000 leading contribution by Summit County on March 30, and also funded by the City of Akron, the JumpStart/KeyBank Boost and Build Program and ten other communities including Barberton, Copley Township, Coventry, Cuyahoga Falls, Fairlawn, Green, Mogadore, Norton, Tallmadge and Bath Township.  The fund will provide grants of up to $5,000 to small for-profit businesses in Summit County that have been impacted by the pandemic.  The Greater Akron Chamber was selected to manage and coordinate the funds and the application, selection, and grant disbursement process.  With the commitment of Burton D. Morgan Foundation, contributions to the fund exceed $1.5 million. Applications were accepted through April 13 from more than 1,000 small businesses yielding almost 700 eligible businesses, far exceeding the fund’s available dollars.  The Greater Akron Chamber plans to announce the grant recipients by April 20 and begin distributing funds that week.

Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro introduced, and Summit County Council passed, emergency legislation establishing the COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program.  Executive Ilene Shapiro commented, “The generosity of our philanthropic partners continues to be a beacon of light in this uncertain economic time.  On behalf of the small businesses that will benefit from this investment, thank you Morgan Foundation for standing shoulder to shoulder with Summit County in assisting owners, employees and their families.  Together, we will overcome the obstacles presented by this unprecedented time”.

Partial funding ($100,000) of Morgan Foundation’s grant will come from funds awarded to Burton D. Morgan Foundation from the Richard J. Fasenmyer Foundation to establish the Fasenmyer Fund, which focuses on supporting efforts that advance scaleup companies. 

 “The demand for these resources has been overwhelming.  While we know a $5,000 grant is a small piece of what can help these companies, the support comes at a critical time and can help with immediate needs like rent, payroll, utilities or other expenses for businesses being challenged with lost revenue and shuttered operations,” said Steve Millard, President and CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber.  “The response from Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the other funders for this relief program is a testament to the way in which our community and its leaders are pulling together to Elevate Greater Akron in a very difficult time.”

Burton D. Morgan Foundation President and CEO Deborah Hoover commented, “Burton D. Morgan Foundation applauds the initiative of Summit County in creating the program and appreciates the quick action of Greater Akron Chamber in devising a well-conceived plan to deploy resources to businesses threatened by the pandemic.   We are proud to be among the contributors committed to supporting the viability of small businesses that represent the lifeblood of our community and neighborhoods. Our contribution in this time of disaster helps struggling businesses retain employees, lessening the burdens of government.  Morgan Foundation, with the support of Fasenmyer Fund, believes it is our community responsibility to sustain the fabric of our community by helping entrepreneurs navigate this crisis and find a path forward to reopening and rebuilding.”

This grant is the latest contribution awarded by Morgan Foundation in response to the COVID-19 crisis.  Last week, the Foundation announced a round of emergency grants totaling $222,500 for initiatives that will provide support to Northeast Ohio; recipients include United Way of Summit County ($120,000), Hebrew Free Loan Association ($50,000), Akron Community Foundation ($20,000), Kent State University ($10,000), Akron Makerspace ($10,000), Wayne County Community Foundation ($10,000), and Hudson Community Foundation ($2,500.) 

Morgan Foundation Trustees also approved a request from MAGNET to reallocate $30,000 of previously awarded grant dollars to cover the costs of materials and contractors needed for its work helping manufacturing companies respond to COVID-19 equipment needs.