A GoFundMe “crowdfunding” campaign will provide some much-needed relief for small neighborhood businesses now struggling in the face of COVID-19.
The idea was hatched a couple of weeks ago when longtime resident Diana Coldren reached out to Ali Ringenburg, co-president of the Beacon Hill Business Association, and pitched the idea of creating a document that would compile and list current information on neighborhood businesses, such their websites, as well as which restaurants are now offering takeout and delivery.
“I was talking to other residents and thinking of ways to support local businesses, which contribute so much to the unique character of the neighborhood,” Coldren said. “The people who work in theses store and restaurants really are an extension of the community.”
The conversation quickly turned to other ways to help out the neighborhood’s businesses, and the two women settled on launching a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to cover the electric bills for the month of March for small businesses that operate within the Historic Beacon Hill District. (A “small business” is defined as one with less than 35 employees, and only neighborhood businesses that were open as of March 1, 2020, and plan to reopen are eligible.) The online campaign, which can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/ep67vh-supporting-beacon-hill-small-businesses?sharetype=teams&member=4202714&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&rcid=124caccdb3bc4ee898f3d5f529e77aec, aims to raise $30,000 to achieve this goal, and proceeds will be distributed evenly among eligible businesses, with each expected to receive around $150.
“Paying their electric bills is an easy way to help,” Coldren said. “It’s a small amount, but it’s a gesture of good will.”
Donors can also opt to send a check payable to the Beacon Hill Business Association to Cambridge Trust, Attn: Stacy, 65 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108 by May 1, and any funds remaining after businesses receive their allotment would be used to help support a volunteer clean-up of Charles Street, Coldren said.
“What is going on with retail businesses and restaurants is pretty bleak, and it’s very uncertain how much money they will receive in loans and what profit they can take in in the next couple of months,” Ringenburg said.
But despite this grim outlook, she is encouraged to see the profound outpouring of support the Beacon Hill residential community has shown for the neighborhood’s business community.
“It’s just a great example how interconnected and involved the neighborhood has been,” Ringenburg said of the GoFundMe effort, “and it’s really inspiring to see how supportive, caring and industrious so many neighbors are when it comes to helping out these businesses.”