Program Will Strengthen Lending for Appalachia’s Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Crisis

Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced a $3.75 million grant to Appalachian Community Capital (ACC) for the ARC-ACC Emergency Business Response Assistance Program to strengthen and stabilize the Region’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and other mission-driven development finance lenders serving small businesses impacted by COVID-19 related losses. Through this partnership, the ARC-ACC Emergency Business Response Assistance Program will help designated community-based lenders cover operational costs and offset some of the income they are losing by suspending or reducing payments from their borrowers during the COVID-19 crisis. Lenders will be able to use the funds for operational support and for direct technical assistance to Appalachian small business and non-profit borrowers.

ARC anticipates 400 businesses will be served; $15 million in leveraged private investment will be attracted; and 200 jobs will be retained across the 13-state Appalachian Region. ACC will administer the program, supervise progress, and monitor implementation.

“Timely access to operating capital is critical for small businesses during this current state of economic crisis,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “Community development lending entities throughout the Appalachian Region have been working hard to ensure the availability of this capital, and this program will help them to continue to do so.”

Working together we are developing creative solutions to support our small businesses throughout the 13 Appalachian states. This program is another resource for businesses to access the capital they need to navigate this crisis,” said Mike DeWine, Ohio Governor and ARC States’ Co-Chair.

To participate, CDFIs or other mission-driven development finance lenders serving the Appalachian Region must either be a member of Appalachian Community Capital or previously funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission. ACC expects to deploy the initial funding later this month.

“ARC is a stalwart supporter of Appalachian Community Capital and community impact CDFIs across the Region,” said Donna Gambrell, President and CEO. “I couldn’t be more pleased about our partnership with ARC to support these organizations and their small business clients during the COVID-19 emergency. The investments will be used to help stabilize businesses and ensure that community development finance organizations are still serving these businesses many years from now.”

This investment is part of ARC’s effort to repurpose existing resources to rapidly respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on Appalachian communities and businesses.

As of May 11, 11:30 a.m. (ET), there were 39,870 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 405 Appalachian counties. The Appalachian Regional Commission is working closely with many regional and national partners assisting Appalachian communities as they address the economic impacts of the current crisis. More information and resources are available at arc.gov/coronavirus