CROZET, Va. (WVIR) - When over a dozen Charlottesville-area small businesses and childcare centers needed help during this challenging time, they got it from the help of a new fund and United Way.
Now, there are more resources to go around.
“We knew we needed to invest a lot of money, but we didn’t know if we were going to bring in any money,” said Christi Gillette, who runs Little Explorers Discovery School in Crozet.
The school was planning an expansion when it found out it received funds from the United Way and the Virginia 30 Day Fund’s partnership.
Gillette then used the funds for renovations and staff, which helped - especially as the school operated in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Just being able to hire extra staff members - that’s been crucial during this time to keep these classes separate," Gillette said.
Right now, the school hosts K-5 students doing their virtual learning, plus preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade classrooms.
“It’s been interesting," Gillette said with a laugh. "We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into, but we just really wanted to be helpful.”
Pete Snyder organized the Virginia 30 Day Fund with a focus on small businesses and child care.
“Our daycare centers and our child care centers - they’re first responders for the education crisis that we have right now,” Snyder said.
His partnership with United Way announced it will be helping an additional 16 business in the Charlottesville area: all either minority-owned or childcare centers.
Snyder said those are “two areas that were really devastated by this pandemic.”
Gillette is thankful for the help she received.
“We’re all in this together and it’s a tough time, and it’s really great to have people out there that are just so quick and willing to help each other get through this," she said.
The partnership between the United Way and Virginia 30 Day Fund is disbursing $50,000 in funding for 16 grants. This includes 10 for minority-owned businesses and six for childcare centers.
To be eligible, businesses need to be a for-profit minority-owned business that employs 3-30 people, is based in Virginia, has been operating for at least one year, and is owned and operated by a Virginia resident.
To apply for a grant, or donate to their COVID Recovery and Resiliency Fund, you can click here.