Chamber News

April 08, 2020 Likes Comments

We're here for you

The rising death toll and infection rates -- locally, nationally and globally -- is heartbreaking and frightening.

The courage and dedication of our health care workers, first responders, grocery and pharmacy clerks, kitchen crews, delivery drivers, government employees and everyone else working on our collective behalf is remarkable and inspiring.
 
Here at the chamber, we’re settling into our more modest role, sharing information and advocating on behalf of our businesses and nonprofits. We're fighting to preserve as many businesses, jobs and a way of life for the day when we can all open our doors again.
 
It’s humbling to serve in this small way; even while the real heroes are on the front lines; risking their lives and the lives of their loved ones, to heal, console, feed and protect the rest us.
 
It’s also humbling to hear from many of you who’ve said they find our daily emails and webinars useful. We’ve even gained new members and donations this month from businesses whose circumstances allow, that lifted our spirits (and bank balance) as we navigate the chamber’s own budget shortfall. (Did you know that chambers aren't eligible to apply for the PPP?)
 
Even if you can’t afford to join the chamber right now (or for those who’ve asked for more time to renew their dues), we’re here for you. We’ve opened our virtual doors to any business or nonprofit that has questions or needs assistance, with the hopes that -- even if you’re not a member now -- you’ll choose to join once we get through this together.
 
Donating to the charities and supporting the workers on the front lines of this pandemic is essential work right now. We're grateful to anyone who can also help underwrite our advocacy. Thanks for reading and for your participation.
 
Be well.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
 
Newton COVID-19 Care Fund has raised $300K
 
The Newton COVID-19 Care Fund has already raised more than $300,000 from Newton businesses and residents to provide financial assistance to workers, residents and families financially burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The charity was established last month by Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and has tapped Family Access of Newton to administer with United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley overseeing the contributions.
 
The fund is designed to provide financial assistance to Newton residents; people who work in Newton; and families with children receiving childcare services in Newton or enrolled in Newton Public Schools who have been financially burdened by the pandemic. First responders who incur new childcare expenses or other expenses will also be eligible. The funds will pay for rent, utilities, internet connectivity for families with school-aged children, childcare, medications and other basic needs.
 
A case manager from Family Access will accept and review grant requests on a rolling basis and will interview applicants to determine whether they qualify for assistance. An application for financial assistance is available on United Way’s Newton COVID-19 Care Fund website.
 
“The effects of the pandemic on people in Newton are deep and immediate. With a lack of customers, every organization in our city is cutting costs, an imperative that is inevitably borne on the backs of hourly workers and those most vulnerable,” said Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller.
 
All proceeds net of credit card fees will go directly to individuals seeking assistance. Go here for more information or to donate to the Newton COVID-19 Care Fund.
 
Black business relief fund
 
The Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA) in partnership with the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Berkshire Bank has established The Futures Fund to help stabilize existing Black-owned businesses across the Commonwealth. This resource can be used in conjunction with SBA products. Details here.
 
CARES Act increases charitable giving limits
 
While most of the CARES Act focus has been on the PPP, unemployment and other relief, the law also includes provisions designed to encourage charitable giving.
 
The limitation on charitable contributions for those who itemize has been increased from 60 to 100 percent of a adjusted gross income. And corporations can deduct charitable contributions from 10 to 25 percent of taxable income. Even taxpayers who do not itemize deductions can deduct up to $300 in cash contributions.
 
These provisions only apply to 2020 contributions to qualified public charities. Giving to private foundations, supporting organizations and donor-advised funds aren’t eligible.
 
SBA resources
 
If you have questions about SBA loans or a loan application, contact SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov .
 
You may also direct inquiries and questions to the SBA District Office email at:
MassachusettsDO@sba.gov Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339
 
If you need help finding a banker here’s a list of the chamber’s member banks.

 

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