Local bank donates $50,000 to create grant program for small businesses

Published: Mar. 27, 2020 at 4:21 PM EDT
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Less than two weeks ago, local agencies and organizations from around Harrisonburg and Rockingham County


The task force is designed to coordinate support and resources for businesses in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County area that have struggled in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Now, they say F&M Bank generously donated $50,000 to the task force to help them create grants to help small businesses affected by the ongoing pandemic.

“We understand current economic conditions are creating financial challenges for our community, and we want to do everything in our power to help”, said Mark Hanna, F&M Bank President and CEO. “F&M Bank has been part of this community since 1908. We would not be where we are today without the support of local business. It is time for us all to rally behind the small, local business owners who make this community a great place to live and work.”

Leaders of the task force (which includes representatives from the City of Harrisonburg Economic Development; Rockingham Department of Economic Development and Tourism; the Shenandoah Valley Partnership; the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center (SVSBDC); Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance; and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce) said they determined the best use of the $50,000 would be to put it directly into the hands of small businesses that need immediate help to ensure ongoing operations, keep paying employees, and keep the local economic sector moving.

Using the donation, the task force will give grants of up to $5,000 to individual businesses, balancing their needs with the anticipated demand for assistance, according to task force members.

“We know the need for assistance is out there, as the City awarded all $100,000 of its small business loan program within one week”, said Brian Shull, director of Harrisonburg’s economic development program.

Companies eligible for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Small Business Resilience Grants are small businesses located in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County.

Here are the requirements for businesses:

  • Had 25 employees or fewer on March 1, 2020 (note: businesses with multiple regional locations are eligible).
  • Must be in good standing with regard to state and local taxes and licenses.
  • Must have been established and operational in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County for at least the previous 12 months. Businesses that have expanded to a storefront from another business are eligible (e.g., an established caterer who opened a restaurant or an online retailer who opened a boutique).
  • Eligible uses of funds: payroll (exclusive of owner compensation), utilities, rent, mortgage payments, insurance, or similar expenses, and products directly used in production of a product for sale.

Businesses are invited to submit an application to the Chamber of Commerce, and a grant selection committee will begin awarding grants of up to $5,000 until the funds run out.

Applications and other information can be found


, and

. Completed applications can be sent to Frank Tamberrino at frank@hrchamber.org. You may also drop the grant application off in person at 800 Country Club Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22802.

Other ways to support local businesses

Individual citizens and businesses are encouraged to support local small businesses trying to weather the economic storm of coronavirus.

They recommend ordering delivery and pickup from local restaurants, buying gift cards, and shopping online to keep cash flowing to local businesses so their doors can be open in the future.

You can find a list of restaurants still operating throughout our area


Other support for local busineses

Governor Ralph Northam previously

that Virginia submitted an application to the Small Business Administration to authorize Virginia businesses to receive loans through the SBA’s Disaster Loan program.

The SBA’s Disaster Loan program is designed to help small businesses and nonprofits meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot otherwise be met as a direct result of COVID-19.

To learn more about the program, the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center has

. You can also find more directly through the SBA at


The task force says their members "are all working tirelessly on keeping up with fast developing and changing developments, particularly at the federal and state level. Elected officials are keenly aware of the economic impacts of COVID-19 and the measures implemented to stop its spread. The hope is that the actions taken at the federal, state and local levels will result in a faster end to the virus’ impact and a return to a normal business climate.

Task force members include the following:

City of Harrisonburg Economic Development

Brian Shull, Peirce Macgill



(540) 432-7701

Rockingham Department of Economic Development and Tourism

Casey Armstrong, Josh Gooden


(540) 437-9868

Shenandoah Valley Partnership

Jay Langston


(540) 568-3100

Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center

Joyce Krech, Allison Dugan



(540) 568-3227

Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance

Andrea Dono


(540) 432-8922

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce

Frank Tamberrino