Public-private program co-sponsored by West Virginia native Brad Smith
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (July 25, 2016) – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today unveiled a new public-private initiative, “RISE West Virginia,” aimed at strengthening flood-impacted communities by providing grants to affected small businesses. The program is being co-sponsored by West Virginia native Brad Smith, Chairman and CEO of Intuit, one of the world’s leading financial software companies. Smith and his wife, Alys, have committed a family donation of $500,000 to the program.
“As we have seen in the month following these devastating floods, it will take all of us from the local, state and federal levels, the private sector and generous individuals to rebuild homes, businesses and entire communities,” Gov. Tomblin said. “That’s what the RISE program represents – an all-hands-on-deck approach to getting people back in business and back to work, and ensuring our communities rise beyond this disaster and become stronger than ever before. I thank West Virginia son Brad Smith and his wife, Alys, for their exceptional support of this program and devotion to the Mountain State.”
In addition to Smith’s personal support of RISE West Virginia, his company has committed to providing flood-impacted small businesses free products – such as QuickBooks accounting, point-of-sale devices, and merchant payment services – along with free training to help them get back up and running.
“West Virginia residents and small businesses inspire the world through their strength and resilience,” Smith shared. “So many have benefited from what our state, local communities and neighbors have invested in us over the years. This is our opportunity to show our appreciation and support by helping rebuild and strengthen these communities, being there for those who have always stood by us, and setting the foundation for an even brighter future. I hope that all West Virginia natives across the globe are inspired to participate in RISE West Virginia.”
Gov. Tomblin said the goal is for the program to reach a minimum of $2 million from a combination of private donations and state dollars that otherwise could have been part of the Racetrack Modernization Fund. Interested donors will be asked to contact the West Virginia Development Office, and small businesses will apply through the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, which is partnering with the state to make the program possible.
Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to eligible small businesses based on need and recommendations from a review committee, which may designate larger awards as special circumstances warrant. To be considered, small businesses must be located in one of the 12 counties included in the federal disaster declaration, have had a verifiable and operational business at the time of the June 2016 flooding, and be in good standing with the state. The review committee will look at each business’s commitment to retaining or creating jobs, among other considerations.
Additional information, including a link to the grant application, will be available online through West Virginia’s official flood recovery website, www.wvflood.com, beginning Tuesday, July 26.