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News from Vital Communities
Eat, Celebrate, and Sleep Online Business Forum
Wednesday, June 17, 2–3:30 pm, online — “Eat, Celebrate, and Sleep.” Vital Communities continues its series of online forums on businesses re-opening during COVID-19 with this session focused on the event industry, including dining, tourism, lodging, entertainment, and more. Learn more and register  here

Feel free to send your pre-forum questions to denise@vitalcommunities.org

Join the forum June 17 at 2:30 pm:
Password: 697685
Meeting ID: 893 4616 6994
One tap mobile+19294362866,,89346166994# US (New York)
Say Yes to the Quest
Have you been spending too much time in front of a screen? We have a solution: the  Quest to Refresh ! Complete five or more Valley Quests (with proper social distancing, of course) by November 1 and receive a Quest to Refresh patch plus an entry into our grand prize drawing at the end of the year. Choose from among the more than 160 Quests on our  website , sorted by location, features, difficulty, and terrain. Pack a picnic, grab your binoculars and maybe a swimsuit and have fun learning about the local culture and natural history of this amazing place we call the Upper Valley!
A New Crop of Changemakers
Here they come: 3 1  new  Leadership Upper Valley  graduates! Hailing from social services, national parks, banking, health care, faith communities, and more, they completed a 10-month program looking at our region through a wide range of social, cultural, and civic lenses. What better way to cap that graduation than with a gathering at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, including ascending the treetop-high Canopy Walk.  Read about  this graduating class. (Photo by Rob Strong.)
Pandemic Small Business Navigator
Do you or your business need help navigating these extraordinary times? Pandemic Small Business Navigator services have been added at Vital Communities and the Grafton Regional Development Corporation. Navigators are available to listen, discuss decisions and identify resources necessary to meet the challenges facing the current economy. This free service is available through the end of June and all small businesses in the greater Upper Valley area are eligible ( this includes Claremont! ).

At Vital Communities Denise Anderson brings 31 years of experience in business law and advising as well as expertise in assisting restaurants, childcare centers and non-profit organizations. At Grafton RDC services are provided in partnership with the Upper Valley Business Alliance. If you have questions or would like to set up a consultation, contact Denise Anderson at denise@vitalcommunities.org , 917-683-8823, or Tracy Hutchins at tracy@uppervalleybusinessalliance.com , 603-448-1203.  
Hero & Leader: Shirley Jefferson
COVID-19 disrupted plans for Vital Communities ninth annual "Heroes and Leaders" celebration, so we're taking this opportunity to recognize some of the past recipients.  Shirley Jefferson , Vermont Law School’s Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity and a 2016 "hero," is beloved at for her leadership in racial and social justice at VLS and beyond. A native of Selma, Ala., who went on to become VLS's first Black woman graduate, she is a powerful voice for racial equity, as demonstrated in this  video  and  Valley News article  about a June 6 Rally for Black Lives in South Royalton at which she spoke. 
Resources!
Action and Equity: An On-Ramp towards Equity , by Vermont Racial Equity Advisory Panel, is a comprehensive nine-page guide to learning about and acting on issues of social justice and racial equity.

Seeking childcare? Early Care and Education Association maintains  lists of licensed centers in Vermont and New Hampshire  that have indicated that they have child care slots available, with links for payment assistance. These openings are available to everyone even though the web page says "for essential workers."

Are you an employer or supervisor? Check out  Supporting Commuters Returning To Worksites During Covid-19  by the Association for Commuter Transportation or Vital Communities’  Telecommuting Resources page .

Farmers 2 Families Food Box distributions continue throughout Vermont; New Hampshire residents welcome, too. For a schedule of confirmed dates and locations, visit  here

Do you know of a New Hampshire nonprofit that’s struggling to stay afloat due to the pandemic? Help is available through the new  NH Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund grant program . Applications opened online on June 11, and the deadline for applications is June 25 at 4 pm.
NH Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund Application Now Open
The application is now open for the NH Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund of the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery.
 
The application will remain open through the deadline of June 25 at 4:00 PM EST. Access to application materials and the online application portal is available through the  GOFERR website .
The NH Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund grant program is being administered through a partnership of the  New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits , the  New Hampshire Charitable Foundation  and the  New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority .

The New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits will host an informational webinar and series of question-and-answer sessions throughout the application window:
  • NH Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund Q&A Sessions

Register here for any of the dates below:  https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/8962444041419237902   
  • June 17, 9:00 to 10:00 AM
  • June 18, 4:00 to 5:00 PM
  • June 23, 9:00 to 10:00 AM
  • June 23, 4:00 to 5:00 PM
Come On In Verizon is Open!
153 Washington St. Claremont, NH
(603) 542-9811
Monday – Saturday: 9:00am-7:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am-5:00pm
The Greater Sullivan County Community Relief Fund Continues to Accept Requests
The Funding Steering Committee is still accepting requests for non-profits to access community relief funds. As the current state continues to evolve, the Committee wants to ensure that any non-profit organization in need assistance due to COVID-19 is able to apply for these funds.

We are asking partners to begin to anticipate their needs during the recovery phase of COVID-19.  Click here  to access the request form if your agencies has unmet needs of any kind, current or anticipated. Please reach out to  GSCPHN@hitchcock.org  with questions. 

More about the Community Relief Fund 

Click here  for a list of agencies who have been funded.  

Our most recent press release can he found   here .
   
A huge thank you to Sullivan County government, Region 1 IDN and our new partner Sullivan County United Way for their work on this project! 
The Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be a survey partner on the  NH SBDC Business Resiliency Survey   that NH Small Business Development Center (SBDC) developed with the UNH Survey Center.
The survey will help us understand the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses throughout New Hampshire. By leveraging the results, NH’s economic development partners can more effectively assist in the recovery and reopening of NH businesses. Our goal is to distribute the survey statewide across a diverse range of industries and communities. This initiative is made possible with funds from the CARES Act. 

The survey will be live through June 24 and should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Click here to take the   NH SBDC Business Resiliency Survey.
Many business organizations throughout the state are partnering to share the survey to their constituents, so if you have already taken it, thank you for participating!

Together - with your input - we can help NH businesses better manage recovery, reopening and future resiliency.
Main Street Lending Program
As a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Federal Reserve has created the   Main Street Lending Program   to provide a total of $600 billion in financing for small and medium-sized businesses. 
  • 5-year loans, from $250,000 to $300M, with floating rates. Principal payments are deferred for two years; interest payments deferred during the first year.
  • Lending is conducted through Eligible Lenders.
The Local Crowd (TLC) 4WARD Launch
All local businesses are essential! Our small businesses make the Upper Valley unique, and many are struggling. TLC 4WARD is a local way to pay it forward and give them financial support so they can make it through this emergency. Visit the newly launched  TLC 4WARD  Upper Valley pages and give to the businesses and organizations you love with one easy and secure checkout. Businesses are joining every day, so bookmark  TLC 4WARD  and give what you can to keep your favorite businesses in business. Local businesses interested in joining can learn more  here .
Sullivan County Transportation Survey
Sullivan County Transportation is conducting a survey on where you'd like to see bus stops in Lebanon, what times of day should runs take place and if you'd be more likely to depart from Newport or Claremont. Share your thoughts online here.
News from the U.S. Small Business Administration
SBA and Treasury Announce New and Revised Guidance Regarding the Paycheck Protection Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, issued new and revised guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This guidance implements the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA), signed into law by President Trump on June 5, 2020, and expands eligibility for businesses with owners who have past felony convictions.

Get Your Business Ready for Severe Weather- How to Prepare, Respond and Recover (Archived Webinar)
A natural disaster will strike no matter where you live in the United States. It’s not a question of if, but when. But if you’re prepared, the damaging impact of a tornado, flood, earthquake or hurricane can be managed.
A recent webinar conducted jointly by the SBA, the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety offered business owners valuable advice on how to plan to withstand a disaster.

FAST Forward: Advancing Small Business in these Unprecedented Times (Virtual Event)
GSA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization and the Federal Acquisition Service are partnering to host a FAST Forward virtual event on June 22 to assist and answer questions on how small businesses can sell products and services to the federal government. 
The training sessions will give you an overview of what you need to know to pursue a federal or GSA contract; from market research, registering your business in SAM.gov (System for Award Management), supply chain resilience and contract compliance, to adapting to some of the emerging needs we are experiencing in response to the global pandemic. Links to additional small business resources will also be provided after the event.

Beware of Scams and Fraud Schemes
The Office of Inspector General recognizes that we are facing unprecedented times and is alerting the public about potential fraud schemes related to economic stimulus programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration in response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest financial assistance bill to date, includes provisions to help small businesses. Fraudsters have already begun targeting small business owners during these economically difficult times.  Be on the lookout for grant fraud, loan fraud, and phishing.

SBA and Treasury Announce New and Revised Guidance Regarding the Paycheck Protection Program
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, issued new and revised guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This guidance implements the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA), signed into law by President Trump on June 5, 2020, and expands eligibility for businesses with owners who have past felony convictions.
To implement the PPPFA, SBA revised its first PPP interim final rule, which was posted on April 2, 2020. As described in detail in  our announcement on June 8, 2020,  the new rule updates provisions relating to loan maturity, deferral of loan payments, and forgiveness provisions. 
In addition, as an exercise of SBA’s policy discretion in furtherance of President Trump’s leadership and bipartisan support on criminal justice reform, the eligibility threshold for those with felony criminal histories has been changed. The look-back period has been reduced from 5 years to 1 year to determine eligibility for applicants, or owners of applicants, who, for non-financial felonies, have (1) been convicted, (2) pleaded guilty, (3) pleaded nolo contendere, or (4) been placed on any form of parole or probation (including probation before judgment). The period remains 5 years for felonies involving fraud, bribery, embezzlement, or a false statement in a loan application or an application for federal financial assistance. The application also eliminates pretrial diversion status as a criterion affecting eligibility.
SBA issued revised PPP application forms to conform to these changes. The guidance and revised application forms are available on SBA’s and Treasury’s websites. SBA will issue additional guidance regarding loan forgiveness and a revised forgiveness application to implement the PPPFA in the near future.

6/23 Join us for a Resource Partner Chat
Learn about the NH Center for Women and Enterprise and how they support small businesses. Chandra Reber, NH CWE Director, will discuss how
they support women and others looking to start and grow their business and how to access the programs and support available.
We will also talk with a client of the CWE, Molly McGregor - owner of 'Beadorable Designs,' and hear how she worked with the CWE and was able to apply for the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program to help keep her business operating during the pandemic.

In Case you Missed it!
Main Street Lending Program for Midsize Companies and PPP Update
The US Department of Commerce, The Small Business Administration, The US Department of Treasury and Federal Reserve provided an update on the new Main Street Lending Program that will provide liquidity to eligible USA businesses with up to 15,000 employees and revenues of $5 billion or less. The Program will support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Using eligible lenders, this CARES Act program offers several types of 4 year term loans ranging in size from $250,000 to $200 million. The SBA gave updated information on the PPP.
Click here for the link to the recording and the slides on the Main Street Program:
For questions on the Main Street Program, please e-mail:  mslp@bos.frb.org

PPP Funds still Available
The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds for payroll costs and other eligible non- payroll costs.
More than $100 Billion in PPP funds are still available. The recent passage of the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act allows small businesses to use funds up to 24-weeks and have the option of extending the life of the loan from two years to five. SBA will forgive loans if funds are used as intended.
Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
For more information,  visit here .

Daily Webinars End on Friday 19th to Make Way for Weekly WEBINAR Wednesday!
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the SBA New Hampshire is hosting a free webinar from 9 to 10 a.m. until Friday June 19th to discuss the Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance, and any pertinent updates. Join  Skype Meeting
Starting June 24th - We will continue with a Webinar on Wednesdays (once a week) to discuss SBA Programs and Resources, Resource Partner Happenings, and Upcoming Events. 
SBA Reopens Disaster Loan Program to all Businesses
WASHINGTON – To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the  Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal  to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 today.

“The SBA is strongly committed to working around the clock, providing dedicated emergency assistance to the small businesses and non-profits that are facing economic disruption due to the COVID-19 impact. With the reopening of the EIDL assistance and EIDL Advance application portal to all new applicants, additional small businesses and non-profits will be able to receive these long-term, low interest loans and emergency grants – reducing the economic impacts for their businesses, employees and communities they support,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. “Since EIDL assistance due to the pandemic first became available to small businesses located in every state and territory, SBA has worked to provide the greatest amount of emergency economic relief possible. To meet the unprecedented need, the SBA has made numerous improvements to the application and loan closing process, including deploying new technology and automated tools.”

 SBA’s EIDL program offers long-term, low interest assistance for a small business or non-profit. These loans can provide vital economic support to help alleviate temporary loss of revenue. EIDL assistance can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses. Additionally, the EIDL Advance will provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties, and these emergency grants do not have to be repaid.

SBA’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance
  • The SBA is offering low interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories.
  • These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • To keep payments affordable for small businesses, SBA offers loans with long repayment terms, up to a maximum of 30 years. Plus, the first payment is deferred for one year.
  • In addition, small businesses and non-profits may request, as part of their loan application, an EIDL Advance of up to $10,000. The EIDL Advance is designed to provide emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This advance will not have to be repaid, and small businesses may receive an advance even if they are not approved for a loan.
  • SBA’s EIDL and EIDL Advance are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response.
  • The SBA is also assisting small businesses and non-profits with access to the federal forgivable loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program, which is currently accepting applications until June 30, 2020.

For additional information, please visit the SBA disaster assistance website at  SBA.gov/Disaster . Local small businesses with questions about EIDL or any other SBA program should email  NewHampshire_DO@sba.gov

Mental Health Tips from West Central Behavioral Health
Isolation and quarantine can lead to fear. Fear of the unknown coupled with financial stresses, child and family care pressures, being alone, or trying to find time for yourself can lead to anxiety and depression. In times of fear, breathe deeply, and know there is help just a phone call away. Our region's community mental health center is West Central Behavioral Health with clinics in Claremont, Lebanon, and Newport. Through teletherapy (phone and video) and in-person, West Central clinicians continue to help people of all ages during this pandemic. You can visit its website at:  https://www.wcbh.org/  and call to schedule an appointment if necessary. If you are in immediate crisis, or know someone who is, which includes suicide, self-harm, or severe depressive symptoms, please call West Central's 24/7 Emergency Services crisis line at: 1-800-564-2578. West Central, through it's collaboration with other NH behavioral health centers offers these mental health wellness tips during quarantine .
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