Fremont Area Community Foundation Leverages $3.5M to Support Small Businesses in Newaygo County

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Fremont Area Community Foundation recently announced a partnership with MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) to create the Small Business Recovery Loan Program. Up to $3.4 million is being leveraged by the Community Foundation with MSUFCU to support businesses in Newaygo County. An additional $100,000 was invested in Northern Initiatives to provide small business loans. Northern Initiatives is a community development financial institution (CDFI) that provides loans and business expertise for start-up and existing businesses that might not otherwise qualify for loans from traditional financial instituations.

The loan program at MSUFCU is designed to assist small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent state shutdown. During the stay at home order, many businesses were temporarily closed, resulting in lost income, staff layoffs, and ongoing fixed costs that created financial drain. The loans are meant to serve as short-term funding to help local businesses get back on their feet.

“We know that many local businesses applied for federal aid in the past several months. While most received a small amount of recovery funding, many were denied or not even allowed to apply,” said Carla Roberts, President and CEO. “The Community Foundation wants to preserve the existing businesses in our community and give them the tools to not only survive but to thrive as our state slowly reopens and businesses once again generate income.”

Loans from $5,000 to $50,000 are available for Newaygo County businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees. The terms of the loans are favorable with a low interest rate and up to a five-year term. The first principal and interest payments may not be due until 90 days after closing, depending on the needs of the business. Both nonprofit and for-profit entities are eligible to apply, including service, retail, agriculture, commercial, and industrial businesses.

“In essence, we are standing behind the small business community and using the Community Foundation’s assets as a kind of collective bargaining chip to leverage the support we believe local businesses will need during this recovery,” said Roberts.

In reviewing the program for compliance, Jeff Hert, CPA, principal at Rehmann Robson said, “This is a terrific program for businesses in the community and shows excellent collaboration with a partner. This is a great example of impact investment in a crisis situation for small businesses.”

Both the Community Foundation and MSUFCU believe their partnership is a natural fit and demonstrates the organizations’ shared missions to serve and improve life in the community.

“MSUFCU is pleased to partner with Fremont Area Community Foundation to provide local businesses with a newly-created loan program,” said April Clobes, President and CEO of MSUFCU. “It is all of our responsibility to lift up our businesses and communities in times of need so that everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”

Businesses interested in applying for a loan from the Small Business Recovery Loan Program can visit facommunityfoundation.org/loans for more information. Program contacts Don Farmer and Dan Wheat can also be reached directly at [email protected].

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