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City of Boulder and Local Philanthropists Announce $250,000 Seed Funding for the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund Established by the Boulder Chamber and Community Foundation Boulder County

The City of Boulder has established a $200,000 challenge grant to support qualifying Boulder small businesses in their continued safe operation during the immediate pandemic health crisis (COVID-19) and near-term response.

Local philanthropists, Dan and Cindy Caruso and the Zayo group added another $50,000 to the fund which was envisioned by the Boulder Chamber and will be administered by Community Foundation Boulder County.

“Keeping the community safe is our first priority,” said Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam, “closely followed by our awareness of the pandemic’s impacts on our local economy, small businesses and workers. We appreciate the partnership of the Boulder Chamber and Community Foundation Boulder County in aiding this response and are thankful for the generosity and leadership of the Caruso Foundation and their Zayo colleagues.”

“As one of Boulder’s largest employers, our business and our employees depend on Boulder’s local businesses every day,” said Dan Caruso, co-founder and CEO of the Zayo Group and co-founder and president of the Caruso Foundation. “Many of these small local businesses are suffering due to the COVID-19 outbreak and necessary shelter-in-place orders. The Small Business Relief Fund will help small businesses sustain their operations through these tough times. Please consider joining us in contributing to this fund and by shopping our local businesses online whenever you can. They need our support now more than ever.”

Donations to the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund are tax deductible and will support qualifying distressed small businesses in covering the non-recurring necessary business expenses (ex. supplies, equipment) that afford continued and safe operation through the crisis. Community Foundation Boulder County and Boulder Chamber will publish more information on the online application process, qualifications to receive a one-time grant of up to $2,500, and allowable funding uses later this week with plans to open the application window next week. In the interim, interested donors to the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund, or to Community Foundation Boulder County’s COVID-19 Response Fund supporting “frontlines” nonprofits, are encouraged to contact the Community Foundation Boulder County to learn more. 

Other City of Boulder COVID-19 related small business support already exceeds $300,000 including support for outreach, research, small business technical assistance and federal funding application navigation, support for the Colorado Enterprise Fund’s Microloan Grant Program, and delayed lease payments for commercial space tenants in city-owned facilities. The city has also extended the deadline for compliance with Building Performance Ordinances’ Rating and Reporting requirement for buildings sized 20,000 square feet and larger, and the Universal Zero Waste Ordinance reporting requirement for restaurants and supermarkets.

These resources supplement received federal, state and county community support, primarily Health and Human Services focused, to address the immediate needs of individuals, families and the unhoused. The City of Boulder is pleased that this includes more than $485,000 in federal CARES Act funding recently allocated to support existing programs aiding the underserved and low- and moderate-income families.

“Our small businesses contribute valuable goods and services to our community,” said Boulder Chamber President and CEO John Tayer. “Just as important, their innovative spirit and unique character are critical elements to the soul of our community. Our support for them during this time will pay long-term dividends to revitalizing the community we cherish.”

Community Foundation Boulder County, Boulder Chamber, and the city acknowledge that our community is facing many challenges related to the COVID-19 global health crisis. The COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund is only one example of how collaboration will be needed to address short and long-term impacts and reinforce the ability for the entire community to band together in making a difference.

The City of Boulder is pleased to participate in the Boulder Business Response and Recovery Alliance, a collaboration of organizations responding to the COVID-19 health crisis committed to ensuring the resilience of Boulder’s local economy, its businesses, workers and the community’s quality of life.

Published: April 7, 2020

Media contacts:

Jeff Hirota, CEO, Community Foundation Boulder County, 303-327-4896
John Tayer, Boulder Chamber president and CEO, 303-919-2248
Pat Nichols, Zayo Group Communications, [email protected]
Patrick von Keyserling, City of Boulder communication director, 720-607-2791