A new grant program to help local entrepreneurs and small businesses in downtown Wilmington has started taking applications, according to an announcement Monday.
Wilmington Downtown Inc. (WDI) and the Longleaf Foundation revealed Re-3, a program that will award grants of up to $3,000 to help businesses add inventory, stay open and recover from the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a news release stated.
Re-3 stands for restock, reopen and recover.
Like WDI’s OverFlo program in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in 2018, Re-3 grants will be funded completely by private donations, according to the release.
“In challenging times like this, every dollar counts,” said WDI Chair Dane Scalise in the release. “WDI wants to leverage Longleaf Foundation’s generous gift to spur more donations to help downtown businesses and entrepreneurs. My company, Griffin-Estep Benefit Group, will be donating to this noble cause and I hope many others will join us.”
WDI president Ed Wolverton said that as of Monday afternoon, the program had raised $22,500 and officials hoped to raise more.
Downtown Wilmington has more than 875 businesses and 10,900 employees, the release stated. The Re-3 program is open to any business downtown and in the downtown sectors of Castle Street, the Soda Pop District, the Cargo District and the South Front District.
Funds can be used for a variety of business purposes. Program details and an application are available online
WDI will accept applications until 4 p.m. April 17, the release stated.
"This program is intended to be nimble and fast given the financial strain currently facing many small business owners. Therefore, award decisions will be made quickly, and grant funds will be released to recipients immediately," the release stated. "All awards are subject to available funding."
Businesses or individuals interested in supporting the Re-3 program should visit WDI's website
or call 763-7349 for more information.
“WDI is excited to be part of this collaboration to help lead recovery efforts in downtown and across the community,” Wolverton said in the release. “Many people are hurting, and this will provide another meaningful way for our community to move forward.”