Kenosha nonprofit to deploy $250,000 for damaged businesses

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Downtown Kenosha Inc. will deploy $250,000 in grants to help Kenosha businesses recover from damage caused by rioting during violent protests in late August.

The grant program will focus on covering immediate needs from gaps in insurance coverage and short-term rental assistance to clean up costs associated with the damages, Downtown Kenosha Inc. recently announced.

“This is one step in helping people who have lost their very livelihood,” Kenosha Downtown Inc. executive director Alexandria Binanti said in a statement. “More than repairing buildings, we’re helping families who have committed to building their lives in Kenosha’s small business community. We owe all our Kenosha business families a chance to rebuild stronger.”

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A grant committee will begin meeting this week to finalize program guidelines and application standards, according to a press release. The organization will announce when they will start accepting applications the week of Oct. 5.

Once applications open, businesses will have one week to apply. The awards will be announced up to two weeks after that application period, the release says.

Although Downtown Kenosha Inc.’s support programs typically target downtown businesses, the organization is making grants available to all Kenosha businesses impacted by the civil unrest.

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“We know that this grant fund differs from other funding initiatives DKI has traditionally deployed,” Binanti said. “Business Improvement District boundaries do not affect this grant’s process or merit in any way. Our focus is specifically directed to those businesses that suffered physical damages and loss from Kenosha riots.”

The new program comes days after the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation added $3 million to a microloan program that is also designed to help Kenosha’s business community rebuild.

The additional funds increased the maximum WEDC-backed loans available to each business from $20,000 to $50,000, Evers and the WEDC recently announced. These zero-interest loans will be administered through the Kenosha Area Business Alliance.

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