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Community raises over $50,000 to grant to businesses in the Gordon Square Arts District

Community raises over $50,000 to grant to businesses in the Gordon Square Arts District 

(Plain Press, October 2020)                 Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO) applauds our community for raising $55,474 through the organization’s Fast Forward Fund to provide relief to small businesses and non-profits in the Gordon Square Arts District. Local anonymous donors have matched $27,737 in contributions, and 19 businesses received grants to cover expenses and adaptations due to COVID-19. 

     “This rallying of support by nearly 140 donors has kept many of our beloved businesses operational,” said Jessica Trivisonno, DSCDO’s Director of Economic Development. “But we have nearly depleted our available funds and will need to keep raising if we want to support additional businesses in need.”  

     “I am beyond grateful,” said Hillary Gent, owner of HEDGE Gallery at 78th Street Studios and recipient of a $3,000 grant. “As an art- and event-related business, this has been the strangest time to attempt to run a business. Some days are full of positive energy and new ideas, but others can be very depressing. The fact that, in the midst of total uncertainty, there are donors who have been moved to give so generously truly restores hope for the future of our communities and local entrepreneurs.” 

     Anyone in the Greater Cleveland community can donate to the Fast Forward Fund online at dscdo.org/fastforwardfund. The anonymous donors will double each donation until the total amount raised exceeds $100,000. These donors, longtime advocates for Cleveland neighborhoods and residents of the area, seek to continue the community’s two decades of investment in economic vitality around the arts district. In addition to community members, other donors have included PNC Bank, Platform Beer Co., and Ohio CDC Association. 

     The Fast Forward Fund continues to provide grants of $500 to $5,000 based on need and as funding becomes available, prioritizing minority- and women-owned businesses. Many recipients have used the grant funds to make purchases necessitated by the pandemic; both Toast and Ninja City plan to purchase heaters to extend their patio seasons. Others have found innovative ways to adapt their work; Maelstrom Collaborative Arts produced eight weekends of performances and art shows by a diverse cohort of local artists right in its storefront windows. Love Threading Bar, an Egyptian- and woman-owned salon, received $2,000 to rehire and protect employees. 

     Ten percent of all funds raised are reserved as start-up capital for new minority-owned businesses looking to open in vacant storefronts in Gordon Square, to continuing growing the number of businesses owned by women and people of color. Interested business owners should contact Jessica Trivisonno at jtrivisonno@dscdo.org or (216) 961-4242 x302.  

     Existing and independently owned storefront, retail, and non-profit establishments in Gordon Square with 30 or fewer employees can apply for grants at dscdo.org/fastforwardfund. As part of its economic development and business assistance work, DSCDO administers the Fast Forward Fund with a grant committee, with grants issued on a rolling basis. Businesses can layer the Fast Forward Fund with other existing forms of support offered by the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and other sources.  

     In order to receive funding, applicants must explain how COVID-19 has impacted their revenue and how grant funds will enable them to pay operational expenses or adjust their business model. Each applicant may only receive a grant once. Businesses who do not receive grants in an initial round will be automatically reconsidered in subsequent rounds.  

     The Gordon Square Arts District is a world-class arts destination with unique shopping, and fantastic dining options in the heart of Detroit Shoreway. It was first revitalized in the early 2000s through a collaboration between DSCDO, Cleveland Public Theatre, and Near West Theatre. See dscdo.org/gordonsquare for more about the district’s partners, attractions, and history.  

     For updates on the Fast Forward Fund, follow DSCDO (@detroitshoreway) on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For arts and other happenings in the district, follow Gordon Square Arts District (@gordonsquare) on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 

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