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Blair’s 30 Day Fund raises $102K to aid firms

19 local businesses each receive $3,000 as a forgivable loan

The Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund is drawing rave reviews from local businesses.

The nonprofit Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund, a volunteer-powered nonprofit and statewide initiative, was launched by Jeff Bartos, Richard Phillips and Roger Braunfeld.

Working with other business leaders throughout the commonwealth, the fund’s goal is to help save as many Pennsylvania jobs as possible while small businesses await recently approved federal funding.

Blair County formed its own oversight board to review applications. All money raised in Blair County goes to Blair County businesses, said Jim Foreman, partner at ProCare and facilitator of the fund for Blair County.

“As of Friday, we had raised about $102,000 and funded 19 businesses,” Foreman said. “Each got a $3,000 forgivable loan. Most applications are processed within two to three days. We meet several days a week to review applications. We have had about 40 donors. Individual donors have been incredibly generous.”

Foreman also said Leonard S. Fiore Inc. made a generous contribution and has agreed to match the next round of contributions.

Local businesses are excited about the program.

“I think it is wonderful; it will be like a booster shot for us,” said Gary Warner, owner of Warner’s Florist Gifts Greenhouses, Hollidaysburg.

“Our March sales were down 31 percent, and April was down 49 percent. May was good because of Mothers Day, Memorial Day and bedding plant sales. This was a nice booster shot to give us money to use for repairs,” Warner said.

Both Ann Bennett, owner of Building II Rec Center, Altoona, and Heather Saleme, co-owner of Allegheny Crepes and Creamery, Hollidaysburg, call it a “great program.”

“It was easy and fast, what we needed,” Bennett said. “It helped us. We were shut down, and there was no income, but we still had expenses. It helped us catch up on bills and get us started up again. It helped all around.”

“It was a very generous program to help local small businesses. We are using it to help bring back our employees,” Saleme said. “It is great that people are donating to it and supporting small businesses to help them in this time of need.”

To be eligible for a loan, businesses must employ three to 30 people. They must be based in Pennsylvania, have been operating for at least a year and be owned and operated by a Pennsylvania resident.

“The purpose was to raise the money quickly and disperse it quickly,” Foreman said. “The goal was to do it for 30 days. We will raise as much as we can so we can continue to help businesses in need, it may go into July. It has exceeded our expectations. People are identifying with the purpose, both in money and in spirit, it has been so uplifting.”

Loan applications must be submitted online through www.pa30dayfund.com.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.

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