To provide recovery and relief assistance to small businesses and nonprofit organizations, Otter Tail County Community Development Agency awarded over $2 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds to 177 applicants in the first round of their Small Business and Nonprofit Relief and Recovery Grant Programs, a news release from Otter Tail County said.

The programs were created to support small businesses and nonprofits that have been directly and adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the goal of the programs is to assist and stabilize those organizations to get back to businesses serving Otter Tail County communities. Other state and local CARES Act funded programs were created with a similar goal in mind. These state and local programs provided more than $500,000 in additional assistance to the County’s CARES program applicants.

The programs will be open for a second round starting on Thursday, Nov. 5, through 10 a.m. on Nov. 12, in an effort to reach businesses and nonprofits that did not receive funding in the first round. All applications will be reviewed on a first-come-first-serve basis to help distribute the remaining CARES Act funds the County allocated for small business and nonprofit relief and recovery.

Of the 177 that received funding from the CDA, 30 are nonprofit organizations and 147 are small businesses representing the foodservice and accommodation,41%, retail and trade,28%, and professional services industries,13%. Program recipients strongly represented communities throughout Otter Tail County, with 18 of the 21 zip codes in the County represented.

Otter Tail County’s Community Development Director and Executive Director of the CDA, Amy Baldwin said, “The County and the CDA consider themselves lucky to be in a position to provide this assistance.” She was reminded during the grant process, not only of the major impact that these businesses and nonprofits have endured during the pandemic but also the impact that they continue to make in their communities. “I have been struck by the dedication and resilience of the business owners and community members I’ve spoken to. They are appreciative of the funding as it will help them to continue serving the community in their own unique and important ways,” she said.

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CDA Board Chairman and Arvig's Director of Business Development and Sales David Schornack said, “The CDA Board’s commitment to investing in and supporting the recovery of businesses and nonprofits in Otter Tail County through the challenges of the pandemic was the driver behind these grant programs.” He is optimistic that the grants awarded will help stabilize businesses and nonprofits and help them with continued investment and success in their communities.

The Small Business and Nonprofit Relief and Recovery Grant Programs are two components of Otter Tail County’s broader efforts to support the County’s residents, businesses, and organizations as they navigate the road ahead. For more on the County’s COVID-19 relief efforts, including details about the second round of grant funding that opens on Nov. 5, visit ottertailcountymn.us/cares.

The CDA is a local government agency that is governed by a 9-member board of commissioners. The purpose of the Community Development Agency is to strengthen the communities of Otter Tail County by expanding housing opportunities, promoting business development, and fostering the coordination of public and private resources. The work of the CDA is intended to be complementary, additive and supportive to existing efforts throughout Otter Tail County.